Vinyl 101

View All Installation Vinyl Removals Did You Know? Care Information Schneider Helpful Tips


When it comes to establishing standards in professional vinyl installations, the United Application Standard Group is the United States first such organization in existence.
Established in 1999 by leaders in the installation community, the UASG distinguished itself as being the first organization of its kind to require companies to meet a varied criteria to become members. The criteria include a high level of professionalism, a proven track record, and a high level of hands-on installation skill.  The screening process, by which companies are evaluated, was developed to give a fair and accurate assessment and eliminate any personal bias that might exist.

When the organization was founded, the installation community lacked representation on a national level. There were few resources for a business owner to turn to when they had a problem or needed a source of information for problems specific to their line of work. The UASG has filled these voids.  We have successfully worked to raise the "bar" for decal installers so that the true professionals can identify themselves to the rest of the industry.

Installers with the UASG's mark of approval have invested years of experience and countless hours of practice to prove that they have a "high level of professionalism, a proven track record and a high level of installation skill".  
Paints low in Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are the most common paints available for wall surfaces today.
The paints vary so much that vinyl graphics may be successful on one wall but, adhere poorly on another.
Surface prepping and film adhesion testing before applying a vinyl graphic is crucial for a successful outcome.
Using a higher tac, more aggressive vinyl adhesive may be needed. Producers and Installers must test film adhesion on every job.

We can install graphics year round in climate controlled facilities, but when it comes to installing outside, there are elements to take into consideration.

Most vinyls have an application range between 60 degrees Fahrenheit minimum and 90 degrees Fahrenheit maximum.

If the temperature is too cold, then the vinyl becomes stiff and will not adhere properly.  If it is too hot, the vinyl softens up and becomes difficult to handle.  We can't provide a warranty if a customer requests to install in these conditions.  

The temperature of the substrate is a factor. If the surface is hot to the touch, then it is probably over 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Putting vinyl on substrates that are too hot or too cold will result in the adhesive getting either gummy or brittle.

Humidity, Dew, Condensation and Rain
There are also challenges associated with applying to surfaces in humid environments or where dew or condensation has set in.   Ideal environmental conditions are a relative humidity level between 50 percent and 60 percent.

Experienced installers will also tell you to avoid the morning dew.  As the temperature warms up in the morning, the heat of the air in the ground creates condensation. If you have condensation on your adhesive, then it’s not going to stick very well.  If you lay vinyl down in the morning dew you will trap moisture under the graphics.



Sometimes customers will ask if we can wrap certain plastic areas on vehicles.  Plastics are challenging because some are friendly for wrapping and some are not.  When we encounter a plastic substrate, it's helpful to know its chemical composition and even be able to perform a test application.  If we receive a request to apply to plastic, sometimes we aren't able to provide the usual warranty, because we know the vinyl will not adhere throughout the duration of the rest of the wrap. 

Polycarbonates, for example, which are frequently used for equipment housings, exterior automotive components, outdoor lighting fixtures, and non-automotive vehicle windows, contain just enough water to yield bubbles in the film.

Poly (methyl methacrylate), commonly called PMMA, is a clear plastic typically used as shatterproof replacement for glass. Most standard adhesives will adhere readily to PMMA, but, again, you may wind up with bubbles if you try to apply vinyl using the dry installation method, so at times we'll use a wet application

Polyethylene is the most popular plastic in the world.  Plastic bags, shampoo bottles and tarps are made of this material. But applying vinyl to this substrate is not a popular option. Installing vinyl on this type of plastic requires special adhesives, high temperatures and a dry application method to ensure a solid bond.

Polystyrene is a hard plastic. The housing of computers is typically made from this material. Styrofoam is also made from this material. This is a tricky substrate because it can change adhesive properties and result in the film actually shrinking away from the surface.

Polyvinylchloride (PVC) is adhesion friendly — maybe a little too much so.  Applying to rigid PVC could result in vinyl that is difficult if not impossible to remove. Softer PVCs have an almost opposite problem of vinyl shrinking away from the substrate unless special adhesives are used.

Wrap film is very thin and flexible to allow it to conform to the contours of your vehicle, but that means it also conforms to any imperfection such as a scratch or dent, and that will show through.
Rust is another matter. Vinyl will stick to the solid surface and finish of an undamaged vehicle, if there is rust present, the film will stick to the rust instead. This will cause the film to fall off when and where the rust does. Before spending the time and money to wrap a damaged or rusted vehicle, we recommend repairing it with auto repair filler and finish with an epoxy primer/sealer, OEM vehicle paint and/or clear coat. The finish on the repairs must be allowed to cure for the period of time specified by the manufacturer before applying film.
Does the wrap film stick to body filler? 
No, the film will not adhere to auto repair fillers. An epoxy primer/sealer, OEM vehicle paint and/or clear coat must be applied over the auto repair filler and the finish must be allowed to cure for the period of time specified by the manufacturer before applying film.


Vinyl Removals

If vinyl is not removed properly and adhesive is left behind, it will attract dirt. 
If glue is left on the surface, it will dry out and become more difficult to remove later.
It is easier for Schneider Graphics, Inc. to remove the vinyl and adhesive at the same time.
Sometimes the cost to remove glue is more expensive than Schneider Graphics, Inc. removing the vinyl in the first place.
Des Moines facility has four radiant heat bays. Three of the four bays are deep enough for 53ft trailers.  We have a shag tractor to bring trailers in and out on our property only.
St. Louis facility has one large oversized bay that can hold a 53ft trailer.  We also have a shag tractor to bring trailers in and out on our property only.
Removal of vinyl graphics is one of the most often overlooked areas by customers during the initial quoting process of a project. While vinyl will provide years of attractive fade free graphics and allow removability far superior to painted graphics, ALL vinyl is NOT the same. Utilizing 3M premium vinyl saves you time and money at the end of a promotion.
It is our advice that you consider the advantages of planning ahead with your project to include removability issues up front.We strongly recommend 3M premium graphics films. Over the years they have consistently proven to be reliable and dependable for years of enjoyment and for removability. 
It's important to use a high quality 3M vinyl from the start instead of a "cheaper" vinyl. Removing lesser quality vinyls are tedious therefore, expensive in labor removal hours. 
Our installation staff is experienced in the removal of vinyl graphics when the time comes to sell or turn your vehicle in when off lease. 
Our goal is to have all installations conform to the manufacturer's specifications to provide the full warranty. Taking short cuts to help out the budget at the at the start of a project hurts you in the end.

Did You Know?

The benefits of wrapping a vehicle compared to painting:

- Removability

- Increase resale value

- Protection/Durability: Vinyl wraps can actually protect against minor scrapes and scratches.  Also, protects your paint from prolonged sun exposure.

- Lots of design options and stock colors

- Gloss & matte finishes

- Cost effective

- Police Fleet: Add white vinyl to a black car OR black vinyl to a white car.

- Less down time on repairs

- 3M Warranty when installed by a 3M Certified Installer

Billboard ads cost more than 5 times our wraps, per impression
Radio ads cost more than 10 times our wraps, per impression
Newspaper ads cost more than 15 times our wraps, per impression
Magazine ads cost more than 30 times our wraps, per impression
Television ads cost more than 40 times our wraps, per impression

In our industry this is one of the most asked questions because we are working with custom pieces, logistics of vehicles and varying quantities. The answer does vary from client to client and project to project.

But, typically if a client is requesting design work from us, design is turned around in two days.

We also will accept your own designers artwork. Dropbox is available to upload artwork to.

Once artwork is completed, supplied or on file:

Cut vinyl orders turned around in two days. Depending on quantities and vinyl in stock.

Digital prints four days. Depending on quantity and overall print size.

Installation schedule varies but normally we can get you on our schedule within a week. In the meantime, we'll work on the design and production of your graphics!

Shipping also is available.

We produce banners of all shapes and sizes for advertising on the go!

Available with grommets for zip tie hanging or pole pockets for pole hanging, pocket size made to your request.

Wind slits are not necessary, they will compromise the strength of the banner. Mesh banners are ideal for windy areas.

Matte or glossy laminate finishes help to protect a digital print.

If calling in on the phone, the first thing we probably would request is to see the vehicle or project. Whether to see the existing graphics, to confirm measurements and obstacles or to see what type of condition the surface is in.  The client can bring their project to our shops or we can do an on-site survey.

If removal of existing graphics is requested, we would need to do a test removal of a small area first to see how well the existing vinyl removes. All vinyls are different and remove different, especially if on the surface for a number of years.

We would need to know the amount of coverage we will be producing for the project.

Customer supplied artwork would need to be reviewed or ideas for our own staffed Designers to create, would need to be discussed.

The various options of vinyl would need to be confirmed; Reflective vinyl, digital printed, stock, short-term, metallic, back-lit, etc.

Do you have specific Pantone/PMS colors we need to hit? If, so we can produce a 1/10th scale color proof for approval prior to printing the entire project.

Installation would need to be confirmed; client to install, installation at one of our shops or on-site across the U.S.

One of the most important questions we would ask is the quantity. Pricing for one versus many can affect the quote tremendously. We give multiple quantity discounts if ordered and produced at the same time.
- Oxidation is white rust.
- To check for it, simply run the palm of your hand along the surface. If a white powdery substance is left on your hand, your surface is oxidized.
- Vinyl does not adhere to oxidized surfaces. Vinyl graphics need a clean, smooth surface to adhere properly for years of a warranted installation.
- To remove the oxidation the surface requires a good acid wash. Sometimes, two to three washes are needed prior to vinyl installation.
- Many large truck stops offer the acid wash service for a very minimal charge.
- A manufacturer warranty may be voided when oxidation is present on a surface to be installed with vinyl graphics.

Schneider Graphics in Des Moines offers installation services for 3M commercial and residential window films.

Here are just a few reasons why you should give us a call for your Iowa window tint projects:

  • Helps keep you warm during cold winter months.
  • Good heat rejection provides additional comfort and energy savings in the summer months.
  • Film offers high visible light transmission with a neutral appearance to help maintain a home or business' existing appearance.
  • Significantly blocks the amount of harmful UV rays that cause fading, helping to extend the life of furnishings.


Care Information

Power washing or pressure washing may be used. However, aggressive washing can damage the graphic.

Automatic brush washing may be used, but keep these points in mind:

- some high-pressure touchless car washes spray at undesired angles causing graphics and window film to release.

- brushes can catch an edge of the graphic and cause damage.

- brushes can dull the finish of the graphic.

Hand washing: flush the graphic with clean water to remove loose dirt particles. A trigger type hose nozzle is convenient for this purpose. Use a mild liquid detergent and water solution and wash the graphic with a soft brush, rag or sponge.

Applying any material to a painted metallic surface without following all instructions for the use and
care may result in damage to that surface. Schneider Graphics, Inc. takes pride in keeping its product
users apprised of information that helps prevent such consequences. By following the instructions
below, a product user can ensure top performance.

Preparing Magnetic Receptive Surfaces:
- Before affixing magnetic sheets to a metal surface, be sure all surface paints, clear coats and
waxes are cured. (Approximate curing times: paint: 90 days, clear coat: 60 days, wax: 2 days).
- Clean the metallic surface and the magnet with mild detergent.
- Wipe with a soft cloth or allow to dry.

Applying Flexible Magnets:
- If possible, affix to smooth, flat or gently curved metallic surface.
- Make certain the entire magnet is flat against the metal surface (i.e. no air pockets).
- If you place the magnet in the wrong position, completely remove the magnet from the surface
and reaffix. Do not pull the magnet across the surface or it may stretch due to the resistance
caused by the high magnetic strength.
- Avoid use on horizontal metal surfaces exposed to direct sunlight (such as automobile hoods)
or temperatures exceeding 150 degrees.
- Be aware that long-term use on surfaces frequently exposed to sunlight (such as vehicles) can
result in uneven fading of the surface since the magnet-covered area is shielded from ultraviolet
- Avoid use on non-metallic body fillers, simulated wood grain siding and repainted surfaces.

Cleaning Flexible Magnets:
- To guard against moisture and dirt buildup between the magnet and the metal surface
(particularly on outdoor applications), remove the magnet at regular intervals. Clean both the
magnet and metal surface with mild detergent; wipe with a soft cloth or allow to air-dry. For
vehicle-mounted signs, remove and clean daily.

Storing Flexible Magnets:
- When not using, keep the flexible magnetic sheets in a clean, dry place.
- Stack flat magnet on a level surface. Avoid placing objects (such as cartons) on top that could
damage the face; do not stack with magnetic sides facing each other.

WARNING! Failure to follow the foregoing instructions and tips may cause damage to the magnetic
material and/or surface to which applied. Schneider Graphics, Inc. will not be held liable for any
damage caused by abuse, misuse, or failure to follow the foregoing tips and instructions.


We're smack dab in the middle of winter and customers wonder how the freezing temperatures and harsh conditions can effect their vehicle graphics.  Vehicle wraps can withstand the ice, snow and sleet without damage this time of year, but there are a couple things to keep in mind as a precaution. If your vehicle has snow or ice on it, be sure to use a soft brush or cloth to remove so you don't scratch the vinyl.  

With snowy and icy conditions, there will be salt and other chemicals on the roads.  A vehicle wrap can begin to deteriorate if those chemicals and salt are left on the vinyl for an extended amount of time.  It is important to properly clean your vehicle after each winter weather event to ensure the longevity of your wrap!

Customers often ask us if a wrap will damage the paint on a vehicle.  If using a quality 3M vinyl, there will be no damage to the paint (well conditioned paint at the time of installation) and in turn, the vinyl essentially protects the original finish from the elements of winter.

Schneider Helpful Tips

Be short and to the point: Customers are in a hurry; respect that.

Use fonts that are easy to read: If customers can't quickly read it, they'll move on.

Clearly identify what your product or service is: Don't leave customers wondering what you do.

Use the words you or yours: Customers buy when they start visualizing themselves using your products.

Less can be more: Edit your copy until the meaning remains but the fluff is gone.

Survey your signage surroundings: Make sure it won't get lost among the background.

Have fun with your sign: Your goal is to grab a casual browser's attention with something catchy. They might even take a picture and share it.

Keep It Clean: You made the commitment to your business with custom graphics, so don't diminish the value by driving a dirty vehicle.
Park Strategically: If you can't get the highly coveted front row spot, then consider parking a little further away like near the street or main entrance to a shopping area.
Create Buzz: Integrate your wrap into your company social media, website or other ways you advertise.
Make A Statement at Events: Drive your wrapped vehicle in a parade or set up with it at local fairs, carnivals or festivals.
24/7: Allow your wrap to keep working even when you aren't. Rather than always parking your vehicle in the shop/garage at night, parking it near a main thoroughfare to gain more exposure.
- There is a vinyl for practically every surface. It is important that we confirm all information of the project to get the correct vinyl to bond to the surface and that our quotes are accurate to the work needing completed.

- Stainless steel surfaces require a different vinyl then painted surfaces, to adhere and last for years of the promotion.
- Drywall must be painted with a satin or semi-gloss paint finish. Vinyl will not adhere or remove easily from a flat painted finish surface. 

- Allow at least ten days for paint to cure before applying vinyl graphics. 
If paint is not allowed to cure in the recommended time, out gassing may occur therefore, large bubbles in your vinyl may appear.
- For wall murals, we have several different vinyls depending on the surface texture, environment and length of promotion.  

- Temperatures need to be a constant 60 degrees for outside installation requests. The vinyl needs this to adhere properly and meet warranty requirements.

- There are vinyls that work well on flat surfaces only and should not be used on curved surfaces. It is important you know what you are requesting or having a company quote for you.

- Do you want seams in your project or seamless? Seamless may require more material use. Therefore, cost would be more. Getting ballpark quotes from graphic companies will vary if not comparing all the same specs.