Welcome To Signs101.com: Largest Forum for Signmaking Professionals

Signs101.com: Largest Forum for Signmaking Professionals is the LARGEST online community & discussion forum for professional sign-makers and graphic designers.


  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Thermal vs Screen printing

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by L Town Graphics, Sep 27, 2012.

  1. L Town Graphics

    L Town Graphics Member

    Sep 16, 2011
    Hi guys, did a search and came up with nothing. I had a potential customer ask me in terms of durability and longevity which will last longer from making decals thermal or screen printed? I do not know much about screen printing so I was hoping you guys who have experience with these could chime in with some info.
  2. SightLine

    SightLine Very Active Member

    Screen is generally considered to last longer but the current generation of polyurethane heat transfer material will realistically last just as long in that you will wear the shirt out before either type of print wears out.
  3. weaselboogie

    weaselboogie Very Active Member

    Apr 23, 2006
    And screening willl age better than heat transfer. Screenprint ink will crack and "weather" nicely, transfer cracks and peels off the shirt. Also has a tendency to curl.
  4. L Town Graphics

    L Town Graphics Member

    Sep 16, 2011
    I'm asking regarding sticker/decal making.... Is it the same for tee shirts and stickers?
  5. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

    Sep 11, 2003
    Olympia, WA
    No, textile printing is much different than printing on PSA films.

    Screen printed decals using well chosen vinyl inks are typically going to outlast the vinyl you print on. Thermal resins, OTOH, will typically have a three to five year life which can be extended with clear UV/Abrasion overprints or by overlaminating. Much depends on the sun and weather exposure if used outdoors with either method.

    Other issues that IMHO should be considered ...

    Thermal is generally sharper and higher in resolution.
    Thermal costs less with short runs and adapts easily to producing different sizes as well as contour cuts. Screen printing only becomes cost effective with longer runs.
  6. Bill Modzel

    Bill Modzel Active Member

    I do both. Been screen printing them since 1980 and Edge since 89. I'd give the screen printed image the edge in durability but not that much. If you do a UV overcoat on the thermal prints it will get them pretty close.
    My decision on what to use is based on qty and number of colors, not the expected durability as I consider them pretty much equivalent.
  7. L Town Graphics

    L Town Graphics Member

    Sep 16, 2011
    Thanks guys

Share This Page