How to Choose the Right Vinyl for Your Decals

Types of vinyl - vinyl lettering on window

How to Choose the Right Vinyl for Your Decals

The vinyl used for decals and graphics isn’t one size fits all. Some vinyl substrates are more durable than others, and some kinds only work on specific surfaces. If you want your printed project to last as long as possible, it’s essential that you choose the right vinyl for your needs. We put together this guide to help you understand the different types of vinyl and how to choose the best one for your project. 

What Are the Different Types of Vinyl?

When it comes to using vinyl graphics for floors, walls, cars, windows, doors, or any other surface, you need to choose the right type of adhesive vinyl. Heat transfer vinyl only works on fabrics like clothing, and will not work on other surfaces. Here are some of the most common types of adhesive vinyl substrates. 

Removable Vinyl

Removable vinyl is generally opaque and adheres best to smooth surfaces like metal, painted walls, glass doors and windows, or finished wood. This vinyl can be cut into lettering or graphics in any shape or size. Removable vinyl can be either calendared or cast, depending on your needs and budget.

While removable vinyl is very durable and water resistant, it’s not as wear and weather resistant as permanent vinyl. However, it can be removed easily, without leaving a sticky residue behind or harming the surface underneath. 

Permanent Vinyl

Sometimes called premium vinyl, permanent vinyl has a more aggressive adhesive and is longer lasting than other types of vinyl. It’s considered “permanent” despite being removable because it is more difficult to remove, and may leave residue or cause damage. Permanent vinyl can last for many years, even outdoors. It can also stand up to wear and tear on high-touch surfaces and areas that get a lot of foot traffic. 

Static Cling Vinyl

Although it has “static” in the name, static clings don’t actually use static electricity. They stick because the extremely smooth vinyl suctions to smooth surfaces like metal and glass. Static clings are thinner and more easily repositioned than regular vinyl. However, they don’t last very long (typically up to six months), so they are best for temporary displays. 

Perforated Vinyl

Also called one-way or see-through vinyl, perforated vinyl is designed for use on windows. It allows you to see an opaque design from outside the building, but see right through it from the inside. Perforated vinyl allows natural light to pass through, and allows your customers and employees to still enjoy the view outside the windows. 

Textured Surface Vinyl

Textured surface vinyl is designed for rough surfaces like brick, concrete, and tile. The vinyl easily conforms to the textured surface for secure adhesion. Other types of vinyl will not stick to rough surfaces, and will either fall off or deteriorate.

Vinyl Wraps

Covering an entire object in vinyl is called vinyl wrapping. It’s most commonly used on vehicles, but can also be applied to refrigerators, garage doors, and many other unique items. The type of vinyl used in object wrapping is more flexible than other vinyls.  

How to Choose the Right Type of Vinyl 

From surface and location to size and longevity, there are many factors to consider when you’re deciding which type of vinyl to use. Here are a few questions to ask that will help you make the right choice.

What Type of Surface Are You Working With?

Before printing your design, you need to think about the surface on which you plan to place your vinyl decals or graphics. But it’s not enough to know whether the surface will be a wall, window, floor, or something else. You’ll also need to consider the following:

  1. Is it indoors or outdoors? Removable vinyl is suitable for most smooth surfaces, while permanent vinyl is best used for long-term outdoor signage
  2. What kind of finish does it have? Plastics and powder coated metals will require a special adhesive. If the surface isn’t smooth, you’ll probably need a textured surface vinyl.
  3. How much of the area do you want to cover? Vinyl wraps cover the entire surface of a wall or object.
  4. Is it a high-touch or frequently trafficked surface? These types of surfaces might need permanent vinyl, even indoors. Sometimes a more durable laminate is also necessary.

How Long Do You Want the Vinyl to Last?

If you’re running a temporary marketing campaign, then static clings or removable vinyl are your best options. This vinyl can last a couple of years indoors, and can easily be removed at any time. And if there isn’t any extreme weather, then regular vinyl can last quite a while outdoors. 

But if you want your design to stay up for several years, premium vinyl is the way to go. It can last around six to eight years indoors and outdoors, even in extreme weather. 

Vinyl Printing in Tempe

Whether you need perforated, regular, permanent, or any other type of vinyl, Mousegraphics has you covered. We can print your designs on a wide variety of vinyl substrates, and we’ve been providing high-quality vinyl printing services in Tempe for over 30 years. Call us at 480-470-7438 today to discuss your next project. 

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (12/20/2022). Photo by the blowup on Unsplash