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The Competitive Wrap Installer: Kristin Lanzarone

Installing Wraps? Know Your Materials

Why you should deepen your understanding of vinyl and substrates.




DO YOU KNOW THE difference between cast and calendared vinyl? How about the nuances of choosing between polymeric or monomeric material, or between pressure-sensitive or not-pressure-activated adhesives? As installers, we get only one shot to get it right. A deep understanding of the characteristics of different materials and substrates is essential.

With the vinyl technology landscape undergoing remarkable transformation during the past 25 years or so, every detail matters. Intermediate vinyl has paved the way to premium vinyl, and U.S. installers have enthusiastically embraced air-egress technology. However, calendared films are still popular among installers in other countries. We all develop our unique vinyl culture, but in the end, it’s all about finding what works best and ensures success.

What works for you is likely to be different than what works for other installers. Material research and development teams constantly strive for higher quality and improved installation efficiency. As a result, each vinly brand brings its own set of characteristics to the table. Recently, I had the privilege of testing some cutting-edge vinyl wrap from one of the industry’s leading brands. The experience was both exhilarating and exhausting, as I evaluated countless aspects and rated characteristics on a number scale. Amidst the challenges, staying true to myself and maintaining consistency proved paramount, especially when navigating the differences between installers’ jargon and the research and development team’s language.

With materials varying so widely, one brand’s installation techniques don’t necessarily apply to another’s product. While some vinyl hacks remain consistent, each material presents its own nuances. The post-heat techniques used on premium cast films differ significantly from those employed on premium calendered films. Knowing when to post-heat, whether during the installation or afterward, also can make all the difference in achieving flawless results. The case is the same for understanding the nuances of pressure-sensitive versus not pressure-activated adhesives.

Adhesion test kits like this one can help wrap installers perform essential testing before 
diving into a new job.

Adhesion test kits like this one can help wrap installers perform essential testing before
diving into a new job.

Understanding the properties of different substrates is also critical. Whether it’s low or high surface energy, painted with low-VOC paint, or coated in ceramic, each substrate poses its own challenges. Before diving into a job, thorough substrate testing is indispensable. At WrapStar Pro, we rely on a 3M adhesion test kit that, among other tools, comes with a scale for measuring initial adhesion capability in grams. Whatever your preferred approach, knowing how to work with the substrate is essential to building a foundation for a successful wrap.


Deep materials knowledge becomes critical long before the actual wrapping process begins. Clients will look to you for education about vinyl’s versatility, longevity, and proper care. Transparent communication about the wrap’s purpose – temporary or long-term – sets the stage for the ideal product selection. For temporary wraps, opting for a lesser permanent adhesive with clean removability can save costs. For horizontal surfaces exposed to daily sunlight, adding a non-PVC overlaminate can extend the wrap’s life. Textured walls present unique challenges, necessitating vinyl specially designed for such surfaces. Educating clients about proper care, potential weaknesses, and routine maintenance is essential to foster a lasting partnership.

Stay tuned for more invaluable insights in the upcoming November/December issue on the final tip in this competitive wrap installer series. Let’s elevate our vinyl wrap installations to new heights together!



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