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Laminting/Digital Print Question

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by Ghost Prophet, Jul 18, 2011.

  1. Ghost Prophet

    Ghost Prophet Member

    May 26, 2010
    I'm under the impression after reading a lot of 101 threads that laminating printed vinyl is always required unless it's for temporary use, is that correct?

    ...and if it's for temporary use without laminate, outside, about how long would you guess that it would last?

    And what kind of things could the weather do to it? We're in the California valley with extreme heat in the summer (up to 112 fahrenheit) and a pretty mild winter (around 20 fahrenheit is the low) with no snow.

    Thanks for any responses ahead of time. ^_^
  2. SignaramaFL

    SignaramaFL Member

    Feb 7, 2011
    Our finished products (for print) are ALWAYS laminated, temporary or not.

    As far as weather - it will fade the colors, and I'm not sure of any other side effects. Sorry, not much help!
  3. Ghost Prophet

    Ghost Prophet Member

    May 26, 2010
    That's a lot of help actually, just trying to further my somewhat limited knowledge in lamination. :p
  4. JimCC

    JimCC New Member

    Jun 8, 2010
    I don't laminate my printed banners but I do like to laminate decals printed on self adhesive vinyl, they last and look better longer.
  5. sfr table hockey

    sfr table hockey Very Active Member

    Jan 24, 2009
    Had done a test with a sign on a door. It was printed ecosol inks and not laminated. Door faced to the south so here that would get the sun the most of the day. The area that people pushed on to open the door wore off in about 8-10 months. You could see the rub area but the rest of the sign looked fine. Did not look like it faded much. Replaced it with a laminated one and all is still well after the same period of time.

    So if the sign will have contact you may not get a year unlaminated.

    If the sign will not be touched you should get more. Some temp signs just are not worth the extra laminate if you know they are only up for 6 months or less from my findings so far.
  6. Aklaim

    Aklaim Member

    Sep 8, 2010
    San Jose, Ca
    Lam all my prints except banners. I'd rather spend an extra couple bucks on the lam, knowing the print is protected. Last thing I want is a customer bringing me back a sign in a couple months because it got scratched or it faded or even worse, they tried to clean it and ink got wiped off.
  7. njshorts

    njshorts Active Member

    Mar 15, 2011
    Meadville, PA
    Unless it's a wholesale client specifying that they don't want laminate, we lam every print... especially since we're in FL. that sun is ridiculous.
  8. MikePro

    MikePro Major Contributor

    Feb 3, 2010
    Racine, WI
    i laminate nearly everything. Unlaminated stuff can last a year or so before fading away, and even less if the client tries washing it!

    ..for banners i use clearshield liquid lam. takes only a minute to roll on, and triples the value of your banner. upsell it.
    if they decline an additional charge, then at least they're informed what to expect....and might just take better care of it themselves anyways.
  9. Custom_Grafx

    Custom_Grafx Very Active Member

    Nov 23, 2008
    Also keep in mind if you give your print to an installer, or if the customer wants to install themself (eg, small window graphic) - you tell them to clean the surface with alcohol right?

    After they finish putting the sign on and are so happy they managed to get it on without (too) many bubbles, they want to wipe off the fingerprints around the graphic... what's the closest cloth/cleaning solution to them? Alcohol. Couple of squirts of IPA or whatever, and a good rub, will have your customer back at your door either asking you for a new sign (for free - and most likely laminated this time), and/or telling you off for not telling them that alcohol will take the print off.

    IOW, not worth it, unless the person using it knows exactly what is involved.
  10. SightLine

    SightLine Very Active Member

    Longevity will also depend on your inks as well. Eco or lite solvent inks will not last nearly as long as full solvent inks. Of course exposure and cleaning will also affect the life. We never laminate banners and have some that have been out for nearly 3 years with full daily sun exposure and while faded some overall they still look pretty good. As far as any other prints go - depends on the expected longevity and use. Signage, vehicle graphics that are expected to last under 6 months - generally no lam unless the customer specifically requests it for protection from agressive cleaning or something. We are careful to stress to the customer what they should expect and make sure they undertstand that unlaminated prints will begin to fade some rather quickly and with aggressive cleaning they could damage the print.
  11. Ghost Prophet

    Ghost Prophet Member

    May 26, 2010
    Thanks all. This is extremely helpful info to me and I'm gonna look into trying some of the "clearshield liquid lam" out on different things. ^_^

    Currently just using a dry laminator, and although I do like to lam most of our prints, sometimes the customer needs them cheap and I'd like to be able to tell them more about the difference in longevity.
  12. petepaz

    petepaz Major Contributor

    Feb 14, 2007
    i have an american flag decal i printed ecosol max inks sept of 09 on the back window of my car unlaminated and it still looks fine (been through 2 winters and multiple carwashes) but always better to lam. you don't know what a customer is going to use to clean where ever the decal is going and the chemicals could damage the print

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