We get asked this question often from prospective clients because they’ve seen wraps that have faded. They’ve noticed decals that have turned brown, wraps that are blotchy and discolored, and graphics that just look—washed out. There are several factors, including quality of the material, proper installation, color, and climate, but the number one reason for vehicle graphic discoloration is the lack of lamination.

Lamenting the Lack of Lamination

Over lamination of adhesive vinyl graphics protects the design from harmful UV rays, acid dew, and road debris. Laminating the material is recommended by manufacturers, such as 3M in this Graphics solutions post, “It also provides excellent gloss and clarity of reflection, giving a “wet paint” look. And it is warranted by 3M when used with recommended 3M graphic films, printers and inks – including its performance on horizontal surfaces, offering your customers peace of mind.”

Types of Lamination

Lamination is available in three basic finishes: gloss, luster, and matte. Each can be used to not only protect the finish, but enhance the graphic. Gloss intensifies the sheen and shine of any design; matte adds a smooth flat finish, and luster adds impact while reducing glare.

The quality of lamination varies. It’s recommended to use lamination that matches the adhesive vinyl. Using a lower quality laminate over high-quality vinyl can lead to problems.

Stop the Fade

Over lamination of vehicle graphics protects the decal whether it’s window film or vinyl wrap materials. It not only reduces fading caused by ultraviolet light, it shields the graphic from road debris and salt. Without lamination moisture and acid dew may damage vinyl graphics.

“Laminate on vehicle wraps provides protection against abrasion from road grime and rocks, as well as moisture. The UV protection laminate provides will help protect the printed graphics against fading and deterioration.” — Sign & Digital Design Magazine

Don’t Fade Away 

Although there may be several factors that contribute to vehicle graphics fading prematurely, one of the main causes is using low quality or no lamination to protect the graphic. Lamination also offers the added bonus of enhancing the graphic; whether the desired effect is a glossy or flat glare-reducing finish, lamination adds to the final product.

If you’d like to learn more about over lamination or visit us and see it in action, contact us. We won’t just “gloss” over it.  We might sugar “coat” it though.