General Use Vinyls
Economy – Arlon 510
Aggressive strong adhesive. 3 year vinyl. No air release channels. 3mil
Medium Term Permanent – 3M 35C
Strong adhesive, but slideable until pressure is applied. 5 year vinyl. Does have air release channels which allows a bubble to be pushed out.
3mil. Light gray blockout. Great for most smooth surfaces where it will not need to be removed.
Medium Term Removable – Oracal 3169RA
Medium strength adhesive. 5 year vinyl. Does have air release channels which allows a bubble to be pushed out.
3mil. Light gray blockout. Great for interior walls and windows. If mispositioned, you can slowly pull off and re-apply. Can be removed months later without leaving adhesive behind.
Premium – Avery 1105
Low intial tack makes this super easy to apply. Sets up when pressure is applied. Great for long term signage and vehicle wraps.
2mil. Extremely conformable. 7 year vinyl. We moved from 3M180C to this material for vehicle wraps because of the lower initial tack. With 180c we would occasionally let the adhesive touch adhesive – and game over. Avery 1105 allows you to separate the two and keep going.
High Tack Permanent – GF275
Some surfaces – recycled rubber, walls painted with low or no voc paints, polypropylene can be hard to bond to. We use high tack in these instances. No air release channels, so apply slowly with very small advances between squeegee strokes to avoid bubbles. You will have 20 seconds or so to pull back up and fix a problem, but after that the adhesive will set up. High tack has good opacity and so good covering ability if you wanted to cover an existing graphic. 5 year vinyl.
Removable 60/40. 60% material to 40% hole. Apply to outside of window only. See graphic from outside, and transparent tint from the inside. Does not work indoors. Vehicle glass often is made to shed water and is hard to bond to. That with rain, wind, driving etc. can cause the edges to peel back. Use an edge sealing pen on the edges to prevent this. We sell it on the same product page. For retail windows, edges are not as susceptible to peeling. Just be sure to trim the edge back from the rubber window edging .25 inches. If left on the window edging, eventual peeling can occur. The edge sealing pen helps in all applications.
We are not huge fans of static cling. The cling grab drops in color weather. It also catches bubbles really easily. It only sticks to glass. That being said, it is popular because it is so easy to apply, remove, then reapply. We put its life at 6 months max.
More transparent and more durable is clear vinyl. It is optically clear and has much longer life. It too shows bubbles easily. If you want perfect bubble free application, apply it wet. Pull the entire liner off, spray as much water as you can on the vinyl and the glass. Place the vinyl which will float. Get it into the right position, then with a squeegee push the water out. Bubble free. White ink can be used by itself or as a base for below colors.
Dry apply vs wet apply
Wet – Vinyl that does not have air release channels can be installed wet. Air release channels trap the water and so vinyl with air release should always be installed dry. Wet advantages is – while the vinyl is floating on water, you can move it, then push the water out with a squeegee. A mess, but after water cleanup, a bubble free clean installation that overall is easier than dry. Remove the entire liner, spray the vinyl and the glass with as much water as it will hold. Place the vinyl which floats on the water, move it into the right position, then squeegee the water out.
Dry – Vinyl without air release is the hardest to install. Catch a bubble and you cannot push it out. You will have to poke a hole with exacto knife to let air out. That being said no air release means perfectly smooth vinyl surface which gives you more surface area and the strongest hold long term. It can be installed bubble free with one important approach — low squeegee angle and small advance between strokes.