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We don’t laminate our signs. Thoughts?

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by Jo Hill, Dec 11, 2019.

  1. Jo Hill

    Jo Hill Member

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    So I work for a small sign shop. We mostly do banners and vinyl signs. You see, we never laminate any of our products. Even on important jobs such as store front aluminum signs or vehicle graphics. I think laminating is important. The prints are very easy to get scratched up if something like a finger nail were to rub against it. I really hope our shop can start laminating soon..

    what are your thoughts on sign shops that don’t use laminate at all?
     
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  2. 2B

    2B Very Active Member

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    BAD IDEA!!!

    "MOST" signs/graphics need to get lamination
    , especially since you are running machines with easy scratching inks
    Just like vinyl, there are different grades, make sure you use CAL or CAST as dictated by the project, and that matches the print vinyl

    Yes, there are certain times that lamination is not needed / overkill.
    *political signs, *extremely short term, Etc.
     
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  3. eahicks

    eahicks Magna Cum Laude - School of Hard Knocks

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    I LOVE sign shops that make bad products. The customers that use them come to us eventually.
     
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  4. Solventinkjet

    Solventinkjet DIY Printer Fixing Guide

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    That unlaminated aluminum sign is going to need to be replaced in 2-3 years. Throw some lam on it and you'll easily get 5.
     
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  5. Reveal1

    Reveal1 Active Member

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    Is this real? We laminate everything other than banners or coro that's going outside.
     
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  6. Billct2

    Billct2 Major Contributor

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    Nope
     
  7. BIG EASY DOES IT

    BIG EASY DOES IT Very Active Member

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    I have a sticker on my car in an area that doesn't get much sun. Printed on briteline IM2203, printed with latex L25500. Unlaminated It's about 7 years old and still has very good color on it.

    That being said nothing leaves our shop without laminate on it.
     
  8. bannertime

    bannertime Very Active Member

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    No
    We used to feel that lamination wasn't important on some jobs. Now, everything(except banners and coro) gets laminate if it's to be used any longer than a few days. I will say that I don't always laminate window perf for store fronts. On jobs that are only going to be short term like event signage, we'll still laminate with a cheaper non-UV laminate for scratch protection and to make sure all the items have matching finish.
     
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  9. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    I'd be more interested in hearing why your boss doesn't laminate. Granted there are things which don't need it, but that's just an odd statement.
     
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  10. GAC05

    GAC05 Major Contributor

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    This is good. Admitting you have a problem is the first step.
     
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  11. Jo Hill

    Jo Hill Member

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    My boss has been in business since 94. He got his first large format printer ( HP L26500) in 2011. Before that, anything that required printing was farmed out to another company (they laminate). So for 17 the company was farming out print work. Now we have the ability to do it, but we still aren’t laminating..

    I’m a young buck. I recently got into the trade myself. I don’t know how things were done back before 94 but my guess is the sign shop my boss started at didn’t do very much laminating either.
     
  12. Jo Hill

    Jo Hill Member

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    So for 17 years **
     
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  13. MikePro

    MikePro Major Contributor

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    doesn't take much for a client to stop calling you.... and a product that looks worn-out/faded/scratched/smeared within months of install, is a sure fire bet to achieve that.

    Unlaminated product might not be a big deal, currently, because issues won't arise until after the "check has cleared" but if you're in the business to save $<1psf in materials that would add 3-7+years of longevity.... then you better at least be up-front with clients that their colors will be completely washed-out within a year or two without any form of UV inhibitor.
     
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  14. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    Back in '94, there wasn't much to laminate then. Most everything was done on small thermal printers and nothing really large enough for wraps, so it wasn't necessary for the most part. However, getting aboard the digital print game in 2011, he should've been guided/taught to use one. Sounds more like someone being cheap.

    You'd do well to only suggest to him to use it, but don't tell him you were here, or he'll tell you to stop coming on here. Some people would rather live life with their head(s) in the sand, instead of coming to grips with reality.
     
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  15. eahicks

    eahicks Magna Cum Laude - School of Hard Knocks

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    Ok I will admit, back before the advent of aqueous and latex printing (solvent being pretty much it), lamination wasn't THAT necessary. Most laminated products were car wraps and permanent exterior signage (I'm speaking of my experience from about 1995 - 2010, where I ran Mimakis and old HP 8000/9000.) That being said, he did say they are on a Latex machine, so lamination -should- be the norm, and not the exception.
     
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  16. OADesign

    OADesign Active Member

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    My thoughts on shop that don't laminate...

    That's unfortunate...
     
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  17. unclebun

    unclebun Very Active Member

    I don't laminate business identification signs ....when I use HP cut vinyl lettering.
     
  18. ams

    ams Very Active Member

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    It's ok for yard signs and temp signage where the unlaminated vinyl will last the material. Also you don't laminate plotter vinyl. However it also depends on your ink and machine. Being eco-solvent they say 2 - 3 years unlaminated, but there are major factors that can make that shorter or longer.

    For aluminum signs and vehicles I would never put anything on unlaminated. That is just not smart.
     
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  19. TimToad

    TimToad Very Active Member

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    After years of losing nearly every vehicle graphics or wrap job that we knew was being quoted by us and our closest competitor, we finally asked his former employees who we're friendly with as well as started getting requests from disgruntled customers of theirs about quickly fading jobs. Our community is also full of burnt and failing laminated jobs done by another nearby competitor who must use the cheapest material and third party inks available. I can't tell which is worse, no laminate or bad quality laminate.

    We would literally get angry phone calls from those receiving the sans laminate quotes accusing us of trying to gouge them.

    Even though the lamination is only $1.00 or so per square foot and the process of laminating it isn't that much labor time, we would usually be underbid by nearly 50%. Ironically, unlaminated vinyl actually takes longer to apply and is harder to handle so I'm not sure where the big savings is.

    The feeling one gets when one of those customers must eat crow and comes in and seeks to have us fix their job is a bittersweet gratification. The waste of people's time, energy, hard earned money and materials to do something shoddily is no great satisfaction to us, but adding new regular clients to our business is pretty nice.
     
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  20. Andy_warp

    Andy_warp Member

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    SO SO happy to be in dye sub to fabric now!

    I was a whiz on the Seal...but don't miss mounting and laminating!
    We laminated our inkjets off the good old vegetable dye HP designjets...I always told the customers they were temporary even with laminate...some of the salespeople would try to sell them as "outdoor" graphics. SMDH
     
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