Best Practices for Wall Graphic Applications

By Jeremy Heil – 3M Account Representative

First, it should be noted that 3M and most other vinyl manufacturers do not warranty wall graphic applications.  This is due to the thousands of different paints on the market that we cannot study.  So we provide our best practices to minimize the failure rates.

1)      Always let the paint dry/off-gas per the paint manufacturers recommendation.  Usually with the new Low VOC paints it is 30-45 days with temperatures above 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

2)      Prep and clean the wall with a 70/30 isopropyl alcohol to water solution.  It should be noted that this will effect the paint appearance.  So clean in an inconspicuous area and only where you will test.

3)      Perform an adhesion test before selecting your vinyl for the job (see links below).  All paints react differently because of pigments so it is smart practice to test each wall paint color.

4)      Select the vinyl that best fits your customer’s needs.

5)      Clean the entire area where the graphics will be installed with the 70/30 mixture, TWICE before install. Again, remember the paint will be effected so tape off and clean only the area where you will install.

6)      Install the vinyl.

Most Popular Vinyls/Laminates For Walls

IJ3690 – most aggressive adhesive we make paired with our 2mil cast vinyl.  Sticks to Low Surface Energy plastics and well to Low VOC wall paints.  NOT FUN TO REMOVE.

IJ180Cv3 – most popular because most everyone has this on their floor.

IJ170Cv3 – less expensive cast vinyl than IJ180Cv3, but still with air egress technology for faster, bubble-free install

40C – Calendared film with removable adhesive, short-term and least likely to damage paint when removed

IJ39 – Low cost, high-tack calendared vinyl (highest tack adhesive we make for calendared films)

8548G,8549L – Non-PVC overlam that helps prevent film stretching during liner removal of installation process.  Makes aligning panels for full wall wraps easier.  Also, shows less squeegee scratches.

8518,8519,8520 – 2mil cast, PVC overlaminates.  Help prevent edge curl on full bleed prints.

8508,8509 – low cost laminates for use with 40C or IJ39.  Although, the above laminates can be used for better performance.

**Print disclaimer.  If you print full bleed allow AT LEAST 24 hours before laminating and use a cast vinyl to cut down on edge curl.  Also, restrict ink limits as this can increase edge curl and adhesive failures.

Additional Resources:

Instruction Bulletin 5.37 – A complete breakdown of how to test, prepare, select and install vinyl on all kinds of walls.

Wall Adhesion Test Video

If Walls Could Talk (informational article on the struggles of Low VOC wall paints)


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