Wrap vs Paint. What is the Ideal Wrap for my Car?
You want to give a new look to your car, and want to dig deeper into the dilemma, wrap vs. paint. So, you want to know what is the adequate wrap for your car. We heard your call, and will show you in-depth what car wrap is all about.
This article is the first of two that will guide you step by step to get an excellent wrapping job for your car. So, come with us and take a deep dive into the car wrapping business and solve that wrap vs paint dilemma once and for all.
A car wrap is a large vinyl graphic or decal that is applied directly over the vehicle. There are two types of wraps that you can use: Custom-made, and OEM-Printed.
*If you believe that the article is too long, please go directly to the shorter TLDR part at the end of each section*.
Wrap vs Paint. The Types of Wrap
The process involves conceptualization, designing, and printing the wraps mostly for commercial customers.
The Design and Print Technology
The job of designing vehicle wraps is a very specialized task because it requires access to the latest vehicle templates, including its seams, side moldings, curves, and contours. So, the final design fits the shape of a specific vehicle exactly.
Besides, every vinyl manufacturer creates a printing profile for every particular type of vinyl. When a large format printer impresses the designs on vinyl, it needs the printing profile of the specific kind of vinyl as an input. However, some printing shops use a single printing profile for printing on different types of media. As a result, the final print differs from the original design, creating a dull or oversaturated image.
Top-of-the-line wrap companies do high-quality 3-D design and printing because not only they have the latest car templates and vinyl profiles, but they also use OEM inks and high-quality vinyl.
They have customers who want to wrap their vehicles to stand out and last, and have the budget to pay the 3-D custom design and cast vinyl printing. Others are commercial clients who don’t want to spend that much because they need printed decals or large pieces for advertising and sign purposes, and know the technical requirements of the wrapping job they want, like inks and vinyl.
Must of these clients don’t need wrappings that last a long time because they intend to install them on large flat surfaces of commercial vehicles, like trucks and buses. So, they use mostly calendered vinyl.
Tip: In the wrap vs paint dilemma, if you want to advertise your business, don’t paint an ad on your car. You are better off with a custom made decal that you can take out when you want.
TLDR. Custom-made Wraps
Car wrapping shops can do exclusive designs and custom printing. However, they probably design on a 2-d template, and print with calendered vinyl and generic inks to give you a lower price. If you want to wrap your car at a low cost, it probably won’t fit correctly or last long. Ask for cast vinyl and OEM inks if you want your wrap to last longer.
Every major brand in the wrapping vinyl business produces two types of vinyl with printed finishes, Cast vinyl, and Calendared vinyl.
Calendered vinyl is thicker than cast vinyl, uses a very aggressive adhesive, and has the memory effect. Initially, it is a dough of various blended components that, to achieve even thickness, pass through several rollers and heaters. Somehow, the calendered vinyl tends to return to its flat shape as time goes by; that effect is called “memory.”
Accordingly, it doesn’t conform well to the irregular shapes and curves of a vehicle. The installer forces the adjustment by stretching it and applying heat. As a result, the vinyl tries to return to its original size, and the adhesive retains it. After a while, the vinyl shrinks, exposing the car’s surface at the edges. Calendered vinyl works well on the flat surfaces of trucks and buses, and decals. Finishes: solid colors and metallic. Life-span, 2-3 years.
It is the premium grade vinyl in the car wrap business. Cast vinyl differentiates from calendared vinyl in the fact that it doesn’t have memory. What is a significant problem for a human being is the top advantage of cast vinyl, but more on that later.
Cast vinyl originates as liquid components blended and then poured as a thin layer over a rolling casting sheet. The resulting film doesn’t have a memory of its original attributes. Therefore, it adopts the surface’s silhouette, especially the curves, shapes, and angles of any particular vehicle.
Cast vinyl is durable, flexible, does not shrink, and absorbs colors accurately. It comes in three finishes: gloss, matte, and metallic. Its life-span is 3 – 5 years, it may last longer with a regular hand waxing.
Dual Cast Vinyl.
It has two coats of liquid applied over a sheet. Thus, it is technologically more advanced than cast vinyl. It comes on a variety of finishes and textures: glossy, matte, metallic, matte metallic, textured, satin, carbon fiber, brushed metal, and chrome. Dual cast vinyl has a life-span of 7 -10 years.
Tip: The wrap vs paint dilemma. If you own a new car and want it to stand out with a custom paint job, you should consider wrapping it. There is a wide array of advanced designs and colors in wrap that can’t possibly be matched by custom painting.
If you have owned a vehicle for some time and want to refresh its look because it has some scratches and dents, don’t wrap it, paint it. Because a wrap will make any details on the surface of the car to stick out. A paint job will be cheaper and it will make it look better.
TLDR. OEM-Printed Wraps
Cast vinyl is the premium grade vinyl in the car wrap business. It is durable, flexible, does not shrink, and absorbs colors accurately. Cast vinyl comes in three finishes: gloss, matte, and metallic. Its life-span is 3 – 5 years. Dual Cast vinyl is technologically more advanced than cast vinyl and lasts longer. It comes on a variety of finishes and textures: gloss, matte, metallic, matte metallic, textured, satin, carbon fiber, brushed metal, and chrome. Dual cast vinyl has a life-span of 7 -10 years. Calendered vinyl is thicker than cast vinyl. Consequently, does not conform to irregular shapes and curves of vehicles, as cast vinyl does. Finishes: solid colors and metallic. Life-span, 2-3 years.
The Next Steps
You know the technology now, and understand the type of wrap that your car needs. As a result, you want to get a great wrap job at the right shop. You can find that top craftsman here.