Vinyl adhesive is probably the last thing on your mind when you are picking out vinyl colors for your project, but believe it or not, it’s a very important factor when deciding what vinyl is best for your job.

Are You Stuck on Vinyl Adhesives?

Manufacturers have designed a variety of adhesive types to fit the market demands. Spec sheets are available on each series of adhesive vinyl to help you decide which will best fit your needs. You may find specs sheets on the manufacture’s and most distributors’s websites.

So how do you decide between solvent or water based adhesive? What about permanent or removable adhesive?

Here are some highlighted points to reference when choosing the correct vinyl adhesive for the job:

Solvent-Based Adhesive

Solvent-based adhesive allows a vinyl to have a longer term application. The chemical makeup of this adhesive uses solvents that help the adhesive become strong and more durable during weather changes. Wet applications can be used to install these types of adhesives.

Water-Based Adhesive

Water-based adhesive is just what it states…water based. Avoid using any type of wet application method with these adhesives. Avoiding wet applications will help reduce risk of the adhesive not bonding properly. We mostly see these adhesives on vinyl that is lower in cost, used indoors and also for short-term applications.

Removable Adhesive

This adhesive is designed for an easier removal than permanent adhesive and has a lower tack which helps with a clean removal. Typically we see this vinyl adhesive used on interior walls or anything temporary such as car wraps. Car wrap vinyl has air channels in the adhesive allowing it to “breathe” so the installer can push the air bubbles out, making the wrap nice and smooth. Sign and craft vinyl is usually dishwasher safe, but use your own discretion. Manufacturers will not warranty defects caused by dishwasher.

Permanent Adhesive

Permanent adhesive has a higher tack than removable. This adhesive is used for permanent type signs and projects for outdoor or indoor, such as vehicles, store hours, outdoor and indoor crafts and will usually leave some residue when removed from any surface. Heating the vinyl with a heat gun, hair dryer or torch before removal will warm the vinyl and adhesive while helping it release from the attached surface. Additional adhesive removal cleaner or a degreaser may be needed to finish the removal process. You can always remove the remnants of the cleaner and degreaser with Isopropyl Alcohol to get a squeaky clean surface. Usually sign and craft vinyl adhesives are dishwasher safe, but use your own discretion. Manufacturers will not warranty defects caused by dishwasher.

*Currently there are no adhesive films/vinyl guaranteed to be submerged underwater for long periods of time. Marine/ Boat films are to be used above the water line and securely sealed around all edges, or sealed entirely to prevent water damage.

The right adhesive will make your job easier and prevent future failures. Always read the spec sheet if you are unsure and educate yourself. You’ll be happy you took the time.