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Reflective Vinyl Installation (Truck) BUBBLES! HELP!

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by EnergyDesign, Aug 1, 2011.

  1. EnergyDesign

    EnergyDesign Active Member

    Apr 19, 2007
    Hi Folks! It's been a good while since I last posted here, but I do know this is the best place to go for advice/solutions etc...

    We have a customer who owns a body shop here in town. They usually buy cut or printed reflective from us, and handle the install themselves. For one reason or another, they couldn't do this one and asked us to handle it for them. It's a combo of printed 3M reflective and cut 3M 5100 Reflective. The customer is complaining and witholding payment due to "bubbles" along the "stripes section" of the truck. These are 6" x 12' stripes all installed in one piece. I admit to there being a few bubbles, and Ive tried to pop them with a needle tool, but they will not completely come out. Any ideas as to why the bubbles appeared? what we can do to fix them?

    Thanks In Advance Guys (& Gals!) :thumb:
  2. petepaz

    petepaz Major Contributor

    Feb 14, 2007
    With out a pic hard to tell but some bubbles will come out after it is out in the sun for a couple of days, at least i have noticed that on some jobs i have done.
    Did you install wet or dry?
  3. Mike Paul

    Mike Paul Major Contributor

    Dec 30, 2003
    If they magically appeared it's out gassing from the paint not being cured.

    Reflective is aggressive,
    If you remove the stripe the paint will most likely have a semi gloss halo from the uncured paint and could pull up with removal of the vinyl.

    If you get the reflective off, the adhesive remover could damage the un-cured paint.

    Your best best may be to release the large bubbles and tell them if they don't go away in a month you will replace it.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2011
  4. Techman

    Techman Major Contributor

    Jun 24, 2003
    if its two part paint,, it does not gas off. < most likely used today
    Solvent paints gas off. <Not used much any more.
    Blisters??? almost 99% is caused by the installer technique.
  5. ProWraps

    ProWraps Very Active Member

    Sep 30, 2009
    San Francisco, CA
    installer error. common problem with reflective. when you go to pop the bubbles, insert the pin too at a sideways angle and just barely give a little up pressure. it will get the bubble out.
  6. EnergyDesign

    EnergyDesign Active Member

    Apr 19, 2007
    Sorry Im just now replying...It's the start of football season, and today was the first day of practice with my 11&12 year old team.

    The installers that worked on this project (i was asked to "clean up the mess"--bubbles) used rapid tac to clean the vehicle, but say they dried it completely before applying the reflective. They also say the removed the mask at a 180 degree angle, not 90. Im pretty sure it is 2 part paint, since this shop is pretty busy with municipal/public safety work. I did not try to hit the bubbles at an angle, so I will definitely try that tomorrow morning.

    I looked at the install and on a scale of 1-10, I would rate it a 9.0. Its basically flawless excluding the small bubbles in the stripes. I hope I can fix it...i sure dont want to pour any more money into this project:banghead: