Will Graphics Removal Damage My Walls?

Good question! It’s more about the wall, or substrate, than the adhesive vinyl graphic. Here are a few things you can do to help prevent damage to your walls.

Conduct a Snap Test

Take a small piece of the adhesive vinyl and apply it in an unseen area. Be sure it’s completely adhered to the surface and after allowing it to cure for an hour or so — snap it, or quickly pull it off. Although, the snap test, doesn’t guarantee it won’t cause damage five years from now upon removal, it does warn you if the surface is unsuitable.

Check the Condition of the Walls

Is there loose or peeling paint? Is the paint faded and worn, or drywall tape showing between the seams? All of these may indicate a wall not suitable for graphics coverage. A surface that is dented, water damaged, or has holes in it, will need repaired before applying graphics. Adhesive vinyl graphics will not hide damage.

Clean the Wall

Typically, the graphics installer will clean and prep and wall before installation. Vinyl manufacturer, 3M™, shares the basics in their Guide to Understanding and Applying Graphics.

  1. Clean stubborn grease and grime with your preferred method.
  2. Prepare a cleaning solution with 70% Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA) and 30% water in a spray bottle.
  3. Soak a clean, lint-free cloth with the cleaning solution until it is dripping wet.
  4. Clean the test (or application) area with overlapping strokes. You may notice some migrated paint particles on the cloth.
  5. Thoroughly soak another clean, lint-free cloth with the cleaning solution and wash the wall again.
  6. The alcohol in the cleaning solution will lower the surface temperature of the wall as much as 10 degrees F—a noticeable difference. When the alcohol has completely flashed off, which takes about 10 minutes, the wall will return to its normal temperature. You can use an IR gun to accurately measure the temperature before cleaning and immediately after cleaning, or simply touch the back of your hand to the cleaned area. When it no longer feels cool, it is dry and you can proceed with the film adhesion test, or if you are ready, with the film installation.

Use the Right Wall Graphics Material

Less expensive, temporary graphics, that are left on the wall may become glued to the surface and difficult to remove without damaging the wall. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s recommendations for usage before applying material to any wall. A great example of using the best material the correct way is explained more in our blog, A behind the scenes look at Central Nine’s wall graphics. 

Blake Lowe, TKO Graphix National Account Manager, explains the details of the material used, “It was printed on Premium 3M IJ8624 Vinyl, because when heated and applied, it conforms to moderately textured surfaces on both flat and curved substrates, including concrete block and brick (as shown) industrial stucco and tile similar to those surfaces commonly found in sports arenas, stadiums, restaurants, retail, and other public venues. Central Nine was ecstatic about the project.”

Central Nine Career Center Wall Graphic

Hire a Professional Installation Team

Hire a certified graphics installer that knows what they’re doing when it comes to wall graphics. So, how can you be sure you’re talking to a professional? First, look at their website, how long have they been in business, and are their installers 3M™ Certified?

Next, look at their Google and Facebook reviews. Ask for referrals. Tell the company you’d like to contact one of their wall graphics customers. Last, but not least, ask them questions like… How will they inspect the wall? Will they conduct a snap test? What kind of adhesive vinyl will they use and why? When the time comes will graphics removal damage my walls?

Will Graphics Removal Damage My Walls?

If you approach the installation of your wall graphics professionally and with a few precautions, you can vastly improve the chances of maintaining a pristine damage-free wall. If you’d like more advice from our professional team of 3M™ Certified installers, we are here to help.

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