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To Unwrap or Not Unwrap

Discussion in 'General Chit-Chat' started by Awesome Graphics, May 29, 2020.

  1. Awesome Graphics

    Awesome Graphics Member

    Sep 26, 2019
    A statewide bus company has reached out to pretty much every graphics company in Vermont, (the whole handful). They want us all to bid on unwrapping two busses and install graphics on eight.

    Big job that I would love to get, and with our vehicle experience, I think we'd have a good shot to win the bid. Problem is, the vinyl on the busses that are meant to be unwrapped is 10 & 12 years old respectively. I know the nightmares we have encountered on vans, trailers, box trucks and cars with vinyl that old. I think I would put a bullet in my head before tackling two potentially miserable removals of that size.

    We've tried different techniques and products to no great success. Sometimes that vinyl is just painted on after that length of time. The kicker is, that we cannot damage the underlying paint because it will serve as the base color of the new decals.

    Any thoughts aside from, 'RUN!!!!'

    Image 5-29-20 at 3.45 PM.jpg
  2. Notarealsignguy

    Notarealsignguy Very Active Member

    Feb 20, 2020
    Hot water pressure washer and lots of rapid remover?
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. signage

    signage Major Contributor

    Oct 5, 2005
    not just a pressure washer! Also know as a steam jenny. If held in one spot too long it will also remove paint.
  4. rjssigns

    rjssigns Major Contributor

    Jun 4, 2007
    Home Office
    Yup, steam oughta do it. Good rigs will run 250 degrees plus at the tip and make you think you're in a sauna. Otherwise run Forrest run!!!
  5. Jester1167

    Jester1167 Premium Subscriber


    Be the professional and let them know all the potential problem upfront. Show them the vinyl manufactures removal warranty - not exact words but clean removal up to 5 years on factory paint only. They are obviously way past the time frame and you don't know the quality of the paint or its condition prior to installation. in my mind, here is no way anyone can guarantee there won"t be some paint loss.

    High pressure STEAM sprayer would be your go to, not a hot water high pressure sprayer. You can't rent this a Lowes or Home Depot. I haven't seen it done, but have talked directly with a source that has one. They remove old liquid laminated trailers in hours not days. This is a purpose built unit that cost 10's of thousands of dollars. It might even be worth your while to talk to Ron Gizzo at Visual Marking System in Ohio. https://info.vmsinc.com/vehicle-wra...www.vmsinc.com/resources/remove-vehicle-wrap/

    In the end, the cheapest way out of this is to wrap over the existing graphics. The condition of the exiting graphics would be the determining factor on whether that is even feasible.

    I get the impression from your post that you realize that this could be a big windfall if your prepared, but you could just as easily lose big if your not.

    Good luck
    • Like Like x 1
  6. rydods

    rydods Member

    Feb 15, 2007
    On a bid this size and because removal is always an unknown factor (material used/how long it's been on), I would request to test removing a portion to see what you're getting into before quoting. I don't think it's that much to ask. I hate blindly bidding on something and regretting my decision later. It's almost like house flippers that buy a house site unseen and later find out it's full of termites or the foundation is in disrepair.
  7. Awesome Graphics

    Awesome Graphics Member

    Sep 26, 2019
    Excellent advice. Thank you. I did throw some disclaimers at the client and warned them that with vinyl this old, damage is almost inevitable. They responded by pointing out the addendum that stated that ‘no damage is to be done to the underlying paint’. They seem fairly rigid and uneducated in such things.
  8. Gene@mpls

    Gene@mpls Very Active Member

    Jun 17, 2003
    Blaine, Mn
    Hotsy is a good brand- if they do their own mechanical work they may have one.
  9. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

    Oct 21, 2016
    Frisco, TX
    That response is an early indicator on who you're dealing with. Red Flag
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Jester1167

    Jester1167 Premium Subscriber

    They created this predicament and if they can't accept and understand it, then "Run Forest Run! "
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. MikePro

    MikePro Major Contributor

    Feb 3, 2010
    Racine, WI

    doubt there's sinister intent, but literature is posturing to hang you on a new paint job if a lotta things don't go right.

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