Make Your Window Graphics Last: Avoid These 4 Installation Mistakes

gold vinyl lettering on restaurant window that says proper hamburgers

Make Your Window Graphics Last: Avoid These 4 Installation Mistakes

Window graphics are an eye-catching way to draw attention to your business, convey messages, and enhance your brand’s visibility. However, the lifespan of window graphics heavily depends on the installation process. A poorly executed installation can lead to issues like peeling and bubbling. But if you can avoid the most common installation mistakes, they can last a long time—here’s how to install window graphics properly. 

Four Window Graphics Installation Mistakes to Avoid

One of the most crucial steps in window graphics installation is preparing the surface. If you skip this step or do not prepare the surface correctly, you could be dealing with adhesion problems that shorten the lifespan of your graphics

Before installation, you need to ensure that the window surface is clean, dry, and free of dust, dirt, and grease. However, it’s important to avoid using ammonia-based cleaners, which are harsh on decals and can break down their adhesives. All you need is a clean lint-free microfiber cloth and rubbing alcohol or a mild detergent. 

Temperature and weather conditions play a significant role in the success of window graphics installation. Extreme hot or cold temperatures can affect the adhesive properties of the graphics. Install window graphics in moderate temperatures when it’s dry and not windy. In Arizona, it’s best to avoid the midday heat and install window graphics in the early morning or late in the afternoon. It’s also important to avoid installations when there are extreme temperature differences on either side of the window. 

Installing window decals requires patience and precision. Rushing the process can result in misalignment, air bubbles, and uneven adhesion. Take your time measuring and positioning the graphics accurately to ensure a smooth and professional appearance. A hasty installation can result in costly mistakes that impact the way your window graphics look and how long they last. 

Using the right tools and techniques is crucial for a successful window graphics installation. Invest in high quality squeegees, razor blades, and application fluids to ensure a smooth and bubble-free application. The best installation technique, generally, is the wet method, especially for large graphics. This method involves spraying application fluid onto the surface to allow for easier positioning. However, some graphics can only be installed using the dry method, so make sure to check with your printer before beginning the installation. 

How to Install Window Graphics Like a Pro

Before you begin the installation, make sure that you have all the necessary tools and materials. To install window graphics, you will need:

  • Squeegee
  • Razor blade
  • Application fluid or soapy water
  • Measuring tape
  • Clean, lint-free cloth
  • Rubbing alcohol

Follow these steps to ensure a smooth and effective installation process:

  1. Measure the window accurately to determine the precise placement for your graphics.
  2. Clean the glass using a lint-free cloth and rubbing alcohol. 
  3. For larger graphics, create a hinge using painter’s tape along the top edge of the graphic. This allows you to lift the graphic, apply the adhesive side to the window, then smooth it down without the entire graphic sticking immediately.
  4. Spray a light mist of application fluid or soapy water onto the cleaned window surface. Some graphics are printed on air-release vinyl, which has to be installed dry. Always check with your printer to see if wet or dry installation is appropriate.
  5. Before removing the backing, carefully position the graphic against the window to ensure that it is aligned correctly. 
  6. Starting from the top, remove the backing and slowly lower the graphic onto the window, smoothing it down with your hands as you go. 
  7. Using the squeegee, start from the center of the graphic and work your way outward in all directions. Apply firm and even pressure to remove air bubbles. 
  8. Carefully trim any excess material using a sharp razor blade at a slight angle. 
  9. Allow the graphic to dry completely—do not touch or try to manipulate the decal.
  10. Periodically inspect and clean your window graphics using mild detergent and a soft, lint-free cloth. 

Get Eye-Catching Window Graphics Printed in Tempe, Arizona

Now that you know how to install window graphics properly, it’s time to bring your designs to life. At Mousegraphics, we offer a wide range of window graphics options, including see-through perforated vinyl, semi-transparent vinyl, “etched glass” decals, and more. Give us a call at 480-470-7438 today to request a quote. 

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (1/2/2024). Cover photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Pexels