Protecting surfaces with antibacterial and antimicrobial technology

Drytac Antimicrobial Film

Drytac explains how new products imbued with antimicrobial technology can help protect surfaces from bacteria, fungi and mould in between cleaning.

Authored by Shaun Holdom, Global Product Manager, Drytac.

Keeping surfaces clean has never been more important. Doors, keypads, counters, tables – anywhere that people touch ­– must be cleaned regularly. Now there are some new products available that provide additional protection from within.

Microorganism-Fighting Technology

These products are imbued with microorganism-fighting technology during the manufacturing process, so it becomes part of the material’s physical structure and will not wash off or wear away. When bacteria contaminate the surface of the film – from human contact, environmental conditions or simply lack of cleaning – this technology helps inhibit bacterial growth. While not a replacement for regular cleaning, the treatment boosts the cleanliness of the surface in between cleanings.

Antibacterial vs Antimicrobial

There are two types of product to choose from: antibacterial and antimicrobial. Antibacterial films will protect only against bacteria, while antimicrobial films are effective against bacteria, plus fungi including mould, algae and mildew. The different effects depend on the chemistry – typically copper, silver or zinc.

Copper, Silver or Zinc Additives

The ions in copper prevent cell respiration and damage the bacterial cell membrane or viral coat to destroy it. Positively charged silver ions target and kill bacteria, fungi and certain viruses through several different means. Zinc-based additives, are broad spectrum antimicrobials, making them effective against many microorganisms including bacteria and fungi. The broader spectrum performance of antimicrobial substances makes them suitable for use in all environments.

Silver based technology can migrate out of the film and may become ineffective over 3-5 years.  Zinc based technology is designed to lock into the film and to protect the surface typically up to 15 years.

15 Years of Protection with Drytac Protac AMP Surface Protection Film

PRINTING United 2020 Product of the Year winner, Drytac Protac AMP Film is a 150μ (6 mil) textured polyester film incorporating Microban® technology, that provides antimicrobial surface protection. When microbes meet the Microban reservoirs in the film, the cell wall of the microbes is disrupted – resulting in 24/7 protection for up to 15 years, even if the film is cut. Protac AMP uses an organic zinc technology, providing the wide spectrum of protection most beneficial to sensitive environments. Every batch of Protac AMP is tested for antimicrobial performance providing the utmost confidence and peace of mind for any application. It also achieves up to 15 years’ adhesive durability indoors and 5 years’ outdoors and has so far been used on drinks machines, tray tables on aircraft, and in schools and healthcare facilities.

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One film does not fit all – Why specialist products can pay off

A multi-purpose graphics film could seem like a good deal, but you may end up spending more money and time than you bargained for. Jerry Hill from Drytac explains why.

Authored by Jerry Hill, Vice President of Sales, USA, Drytac

The term ‘multi-purpose’ sounds great. One product for different applications, helping your business keep costs low and stock keeping units (SKU) simple – what’s not to like? However, in reality, that smart multi-functional product will be better for some jobs than others, in terms of appearance, performance, cost efficiency and longevity. This might seem like an acceptable balance, but some products claiming to be effective across multiple applications might do well for some jobs but perform downright poorly for others.

This is especially important when choosing graphics media. The type of product, and particularly its adhesive element, should be dictated by the application’s environment and required longevity. A multi-use product might perform well for a few weeks but may cause problems if left in place for months, after which the adhesive will fail. In the case of floor graphics, curling edges would pose a safety risk aside from looking unsightly. Conversely, the product may be designed for long-term or permanent use when the application is short-term. If so, you will spend more time and money removing it than you expected.

Naturally, the cost to your business – in money and time – is the big factor. Nobody likes paying more or taking longer to get results. It’s therefore understandable to look at the price and ease of use of graphics media developed for indoor applications and hope it will work just as well for outdoor graphics, for example. However, in this case, the indoor product will lack the weatherproof adhesives specifically engineered for exterior use, meaning it may simply fail. A specialist outdoor product would cost more but will offer peace of mind that results will last. Again, the reverse can be true: one product could be priced correctly for floors and the specialist adhesive this application requires but overpriced for walls where this adhesive would be too aggressive.

Indeed, even for indoor applications, the product must be compatible with the intended surface. In addition to remaining safely in place, it should be cleanly and easily removed at the end of the project. Products that are designed for high-tack applications such as brick can also work on windows, but be aware: apply it to drywall or plasterboard and it may never come off without pulling the wall surface away with it.

Alongside its suitability to do a job, consider the aesthetics of the product. There is a fantastic variety of textures and finishes available for graphics – why restrict yourself to a matte finish when you could choose glossy, or even sand, linen, canvas or woodgrain effect?

If you’re still leaning towards a product marketed as multi-purpose, consider a loaf of sliced bread. Perfect for toast in the morning, but how about as a hot dog bun? You could use it, but why would you want to? It completely changes the experience. That sliced loaf might be ideal for the kids’ packed lunches, but would you serve it at a dinner party? What if you or your guests have a gluten intolerance, or you simply want to serve something more special with your soup? One product might seem to tick all the boxes, but in reality it needs more thought. For a graphics application, just like in a bakery, the best thing since sliced bread might be a lot more sophisticated.

Here at Drytac, we have solutions designed for specific applications. You can view our solutions here! Please reach out to a team member if you have any questions.

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Combat silvering to create gold-star work

Silvering can be a problem for photography and fine art, but one that can be solved. Drytac’s Gilbert Espinosa explains how to eliminate these silvery lines.

Authored by Gilbert Espinosa, Territory Manager for West Coast Region, Drytac

Silvering is a common issue that occurs when laminating a printed job. It’s caused by tiny bubbles of air getting trapped under the lamination, creating the appearance of hazy or silver reflective lines. It may go unseen on lighter media or light-colored printed areas, but can be far more obvious on darker colored or black images. In the photography and fine art sectors, silvering can be a problem – but one that can be solved.

First, it’s important to identify the cause of silvering. Not applying appropriate roller pressure, laminating too fast or using a media with an uneven surface – for instance paper with fibres or other media with a coarse or slightly coarse surface – may result in these silvery lines.

Silvering may also occur following wet out, the process of adhesives flowing out over the media and ink, which takes about twelve to 24 hours. Eco-solvent inks generally lay down smoothly on the surface of the media, so when the adhesive wets out it fills the area fairly evenly. UV inks, by comparison, lay down significantly less evenly, so when the adhesive flows out there are uneven areas or surfaces that are not covered with adhesive, potentially altering the graphic’s appearance.

If you are a user of UV inks, it is possible to avoid the issue of silvering by using an overlaminate product with a heavier than standard coat weight, as its adhesive can fill in the areas of uneven inks. This is especially true if the media is also uneven, such as a canvas or fibre-based product. Another factor can be the type of adhesive; softer adhesives flow out better and cover uneven areas better than harder adhesives.

Sometimes adhesion onto UV inks is an issue. Performing tests on UV inks for adhesion, peeling and silvering is recommended with a selection of different media and laminate products. It may well be possible to achieve an excellent finish by changing the combination of products rather than having to invest in another new type of ink chemistry.

If silvering is still an issue, one solution is using a matte overlaminate. The silvering is still there but is more difficult to see thanks to the matte finish; a glossy product would be more eye-catching. Drytac Protac Anti-Scratch Matte is a monomeric calendared PVC laminating film with an anti-scratch matte finish, which is coated on one side with a high-coat weight adhesive. It’s ideal for laminating over UV inks as well as eco-solvent and latex prints. Protac Anti-Scratch Matte is part of Drytac’s outstanding fine art and photography overlaminate range, which also includes Protac High Gloss and Protac High Gloss HD. In the UK and Europe, a line of high coat weight films are available, ideal for UV printed output. They include, Protac Glossy HCW UV, Protac Anti-Scratch Matte HCW UV and Protac Anti-Graffiti UV HCW. Drytac’s Interlam Pro Pressure Sensitive Overlaminating Films add depth and detail to a variety of flexible media substrates while simultaneously preventing the occurrence of silvering during lamination. There are many other options on the market that can add an incredible finish to graphics – take a look to see which is best for you.

Please reach out to one of our Drytac experts and we’d be happy to help you find the proper solution for your application.

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Why release liner quality is essential for great graphics

Drytac explains why high-quality release liners are crucial to easy printing and installation.

Authored by D’Arcy Lewis, Technical Sales Manager, at Drytac.

When installing self-adhesive graphics, the last thing you probably think about is the remnants you throw away. However, the quality of these remnants – better known as release liners – can make a significant difference to the printing and installation process of a graphic, and the end result.

Release liners are a critical feature of self-adhesive print media. They are a key component for the delivery of the product and the application performance, but as they are ultimately disposed of they are often perceived as being of low value. That couldn’t be further from the truth. By spending just a few more pence or cents on a graphics solution with a high-quality release liner you can save yourself a lot of hassle, time and – ultimately – money.

Typically paper-based (although they can be made of Polyester/Polypropylene), release liners are usually applied during the manufacturing process of print media, including films made from PVC, polyester, polypropylene and synthetic paper. Coated on one or both sides with a release agent, they are used to prevent the sticky surface of a substrate from adhering prematurely or to the wrong surface.

Reduce printer head strikes

There are a number of key aspects of release liners that can affect their compatibility for a job. For example, some printers use extreme heat which can shock cheaper liners, potentially causing cockling or head strikes. Using a higher-quality PE-coated liner will help the material lie flat during the printing cycle.

Stablise thin materials

A thicker release liner is also required to stabilise thin materials during printing. For instance, a 50-micron/2 mil polyester would normally be too delicate, but the correct release liner enables their use.

Help machines see optically clear materials

In addition, optically clear materials require an opaque or white liner so machines can see the materials and print on them.

Stability during cutting

A good liner will also add stability during cutting, especially on integrated printer/cutters where the material is gripped by pinch rollers. These machines truly whizz the material around, so the liner has to grip to give accurate cut lines.

Heavier release liners will help graphics lay flat and easier to install

The weight will also influence installation; a heavier release liner will help the graphics lay flat to ensure a much easier installation process. Air release liners have added technology to make materials easy to use: tiny channels which enable air to flow and not get trapped between the material and surface, which would otherwise create bubbles. Standard PVC is not porous so this release paper technology makes graphics materials, particularly those used in vehicle wrapping, more forgiving.

Moisture stable liners help media lay flat

Paper absorbs and disperses moisture from the air, always trying to achieve a balance. This constant change, due to the environment, can cause lay-flat challenges. Moisture stable release papers overcome this challenge. They are coated on both sides with polyethylene which inhibits the absorption of moisture and eliminates changes in the paper’s profile. The paper is then siliconized on the adhesive receptive side.

Eliminate tunnelling

All Drytac’s products with release liners are designed to tick every box for higher quality. Only dimensionally stable base papers are used, with two-sided PE coating for moisture stability. Silicone, adhesive and paper chemistries are specially formulated to eliminate tunnelling of the media and to work with Drytac’s adhesive solutions.

For something that is usually considered waste and is thrown away, a lot of technology goes into good-quality release liners. Spending a little more on a better product will prevent printer damage, reduce downtime and speed up the installation process, making the job easier and cheaper in the long run.

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Carpet graphics: getting installation right to get your point across

The attention-grabbing effect of floor graphics was demonstrated at the FESPA Global Print Expo in Munich in 2019, where around 70 directional floor graphics printed on Drytac media were in situ across the show floor. All were installed by Drytac staff before the halls opened on the first day.

Drytac offers advice on choosing floor graphics solutions for new carpets – a potentially tricky installation surface. 

Authored by Shaun Holdom, Global Product Manager; Drytac

Floor graphics are a great marketing medium and, increasingly, an essential communication tool thanks to their effectiveness in guiding people around a space. It’s crucial that floor decals or markers are installed correctly to avoid slips and trips and the graphics product itself is safe for its environment. Most materials and adhesives designed for floor graphics applications are compatible with all common flooring types, but carpets can present an issue.

Specifically, some users may find adhesion is difficult on new carpets – in fact the same type of graphic applied to an old carpet within the same location could suffer no adhesion issues while installation on a new carpet could prove almost impossible. The reason may be the material, the coating and even the design of the carpet.

Certain types of recycled, low-VOC or environmentally friendly carpets may be labelled as ‘stain resistant’ or ‘never stain’ and their properties also reduce adhesion. Often sold as carpet tiles, they are typically made from either durable and resilient nylon or polypropylene. Also known as olefin, polypropylene will not fade, will not absorb water and can contain anti-staining additives – which also repel adhesives.

In addition, polypropylene carpet will have a low surface energy (LSE) surface, which means it has a weak molecular attraction and is therefore more difficult to bond with other substances such as adhesive. Combine LSE with anti-staining additives and you get a surface that is very difficult to adhere to – very much like low-VOC latex/Teflon paint on walls. Normal removable adhesive will take 48 hours to properly wet out, but with this new type of carpet the adhesive does not wet into the surface.

Floor graphics products are generally rated for application to low-pile, industrial grade, smooth-surface carpet. Textured carpet – any design with ribbing, grooves or cut-outs – will not be compatible as the textured surface gives far less adhesion points for the glue to stick too.

To ensure a floor graphics product’s suitability for its intended location on any surface, an adhesion test is recommended before proceeding. No-one wants to spend time and money on a project that ends in failure and this is especially important with floor graphics; loss of adhesion can pose a serious safety hazard.

Drytac’s experts can provide more advice on floor graphics of all types; for more information, please contact us!

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Using short-term graphics for timely, impactful messages

Authored by Shaun Holdom, Global Product Manager, Drytac

Social distancing has become standard practice across the world in recent weeks. As businesses and public spaces reopen or prepare for a swell in customer numbers, it’s essential to provide guidance in the form of graphics. Whether they are floor graphics designating to stand apart, or wall or window decals informing shoppers of a new queuing system, printed displays are reliable form of direction.

Furthermore, during periods of social change or difficult trading conditions, every business needs to stay relevant. Retailers and other public-facing companies need to grab their customers’ attention – and not just once, but time and time again to retain an ongoing, loyal relationship. Installing temporary graphics is an effective, affordable way to regularly refresh a brand and promote up-to-the-minute messages.

Temporary graphics offer almost unlimited creative potential. It’s possible to wrap whole buildings, inside and out, with colourful designs and branded messages. Walls, windows, doors, ceilings, elevators, stairs, floors, shelf edges, counters – you can advertise in 360º. However, with so many options to choose from, it’s possible to overwhelm customers.

Instead, choose your graphics carefully for the biggest impact. Focus on one or two parts of your space – for instance the windows or the walls – and refresh them regularly to engage with your market more effectively, and more long-term, than a flood of permanent graphics. Short-term graphics need to be applied quickly and, just as importantly, replaced quickly too. Drytac has a large selection of short-term graphic solutions that can be applied by hand with no specialist equipment – and no need to hire a professional installer – and can be removed cleanly without leaving adhesive residue. These products can also be layered over existing graphics, speeding up installation further.

Graphics media also need to withstand the duration of the promotion without fading, ripping or curling at the edges. In short, they shouldn’t attract attention for the wrong reasons. To meet these requirements, it’s important to use the right graphics media for each job. Using a product just because its sticks to brick or glass can result in problems down the line.

There are a lot of self-adhesive films and mounting adhesives on the market that have been designed for specific applications, such as window graphics. They will have been developed as an ideal blank canvas for vibrant prints, to be easy to install, to offer durability against everyday wear and tear, and to be simple and clean to remove without residue. For example, Drytac SpotOn vinyl films feature adhesive arranged in a unique dot pattern that assists air egress, removing bubbles upon application and easing removal. Drytac SpotOn White and Drytac SpotOn Clear monomeric PVC films perform brilliantly on window glass, showcasing promotional messages at their best, and can be repositioned and removed easily without leaving smears.

Similarly, Drytac ReTac Smooth 150 polymeric PVC film is coated with ReTac ultra removable and repositionable adhesive which makes it easy to get the installation of wall and window graphics just right. Alternatively, Drytac WindowTac is a clear, double-sided mounting adhesive with a unique embossed release liner, that allows printed temporary graphics to be easily installed onto glass, acrylic and other non-porous surfaces.

Drytac has also recently launched Protac Antimicrobial in the UK, a new laminating film that contains antimicrobial additives to protect graphics and surfaces against bacteria and fungus. These growth inhibitors are added to the film during the manufacturing process to ensure even distribution and durability throughout the life of the graphic, even after repeated cleaning. Protac Antimicrobial is suitable for graphics installed in hospitals, schools, restaurants and retail environments where hygienic is crucial.

Many graphics products are designed for multiple applications but check their suitability for your specific project before use, to ensure compatibility with the surface, environment temperature, cleaning products and, importantly, required levels of safety. On flooring, only specialist floor graphics media should be used as these products have been rated for slip hazards, for example. In any public space it’s essential to use media that has a fire rating too. For outdoor applications in extreme temperatures, product ranges such as Drytac Polar may offer the extra durability you need. There may also be environmental guidelines to follow, so check how used graphics media can be recycled. For advice, get in touch with a Drytac expert.

Get your temporary graphics correct now to retain your customers into the future.

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Keeping people safe with floor graphics

Authored By David Morgan, Technical Assistance, Drytac Europe

Floor graphics are an effective tool in many scenarios and are increasingly used to guide the public around a space safely. By reminding people to keep their distance, often acting as a visual barrier, floor graphics can play a key role in maintaining a safe but efficient flow of shoppers and other groups. However, if the intention is to protect people the last thing anyone wants is to create an injury risk.

To ensure floor graphics are appropriate for their setting, invest in the right product. When public safety is a priority, it’s not enough to use any self-adhesive graphics media that sticks to the floor – only a product designed specifically for this application should be used. This, partly, is because it will have been tested and rated for its slip resistance.

The test standards used to measure slip resistance vary across different geographical regions and even within the same country. In the USA, ANSI/NFSI B101.3 is commonly referenced but you will also see ASTM E303 and ANSI A137.1 /A326.3. In Europe, look for EN 13036-4 or DIN 51130. AS HB198:2014 and AS/NZS 4586 are used in Australia and New Zealand. Comparison between the standards is difficult as each will either differ slightly in test method or by using completely different instruments, but all are essentially measuring the same thing: floor friction.

The tables below go into further detail and give some guidance on the recommended rating required for the intended environment. For example, with DIN 51130, slip resistance is measured with R ratings: an R9-rated product is only suitable for dry indoor areas such as offices; R10 would be suitable for areas that are kept mostly dry but have potential for spillages such as supermarket aisles, hospital corridors and warehouses; while R11 can be used in areas that can get wet like external walkways, bathrooms or serving areas. It is important to carefully consider all the conditions a floor graphic will be subjected to – and not just wet or dry situations. Contaminates like oil will affect floor friction more so than water, floors at a gradient are also different to level floors, and the amount or type of traffic endured by the graphic will impact the durability.

Fire ratings are also applicable to floor graphics. Ensure all products used in a public space have achieved a sufficient fire safety certification. The manufacturer or supplier of your selected floor graphics product will be able to tell you both the slip rating and fire rating – and to help you choose the right media for your specific environment.

Another reason for choosing a specialist floor graphics media is to avoid a trip hazard. These products will have been developed to adhere securely to most typical floor surfaces – but, again, check your intended setting – without tearing or curling at the edges. They may have been engineered to withstand heavy foot traffic, high-heeled shoes and machinery without being damaged.

It’s important to keep floor graphics clean, and crucial if they display safety or directional information. Even with a specifically designed product, special care should be taken to minimise the adhesive’s exposure to water and cleaning products as these can degrade the bond to the floor and create a tripping hazard. You can minimise the risk of lifting by edge-sealing the graphic upon application.

The print itself should withstand cleaning chemicals too – as well as potential fading from UV light – so check that the product is compatible with both your cleaning solutions and the ink technology used to print it. Most specialist floor graphics films are designed for vibrant, long-lasting results with all major digital printing technologies.

Safety is paramount. If you have any questions or concerns, contact your product manufacturer or supplier for expert advice.

Click here for a pdf of the above!

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Helping your graphics withstand deep cleaning

Authored By David Morgan, Technical Assistance, Drytac Europe

For anyone giving their site a deep clean, or simply sprucing things up during downtime, it’s important that disinfectant chemicals don’t cause damage to signage and displays. Museums, photo studios, retailers, schools and many more sites will have a range of graphics materials installed that will need to remain safely intact and in a good visual condition after cleaning.

Wall murals, decals, floor graphics, window displays and signage may all need cleaning, but how to approach this will depend on the graphics material, especially that of its overlaminate product. An overlaminate is used to enhance graphics but is also essential to protect an underlying image or surface from damage caused by UV exposure, scratches, graffiti and indeed cleaning chemicals.

Drytac’s range includes several types of overlaminating films, all of which will withstand cleaning with everyday commercially available cleaning agents and disinfectants, but for more intense cleaning it’s important to check the film’s chemical resistance. The majority of customers will be using a PVC, polyester or polypropylene film – all of which have different levels of chemical resistance.

PVC has good resistance to aliphatic alcohols such as isopropanol, a widely used disinfectant within pharmaceutics and hospitals and dilute acids/bases found in common cleaners like bleach. However, organic solvents such as ketones (for example acetone), aromatics like toluene, and esters should be avoided as they will damage the PVC material.

Polypropylene (PP) has a similar resistance to that of PVC and is also durable against esters. PET can withstand cleaning with all of the above, including organic solvents.

Regardless of your type of film, ensure that you wash your graphic with a soft non-abrasive wipe to avoid surface damage and scratches. Even the toughest overlaminate will suffer from attention with a rough brush. Be sure to take care with exposed edges; chemicals and liquids can detrimentally affect adhesives if given the opportunity to ingress. This is especially crucial on floor graphics, as reduced adhesion could result in a tripping hazard – and of course these are the graphics likely to be cleaned more often.

As always, Drytac can answer any questions you have about applying and maintaining your graphics for a safe and effective project – just get in touch.

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Why Drytac is the leading developer of custom coatings in the UK

Authored by Phil Webster, Technical Sales Manager, UK

In any industry, getting the right tool for the job is essential. Having a product custom-made might seem like an expensive or time-consuming option but, by working with a specialist, it will pay off in the long term. Drytac is an expert in producing custom coatings in the UK, building on over 40 years’ experience in adhesive science to create tailor-made coated products for customers across dozens of industries.

Working from a state-of-the-art R&D facility in Bristol, the Drytac team develops contract coatings for markets such as construction, packaging, medical, pharmaceutical, automotive, security, chemical, durable labelling, tapes, industrial, archival, marine and many more. As well as four decades’ worth of expertise in developing self-adhesive products, Drytac understands the importance of communicating and collaborating with every customer to understand their unique requirements. The client is part of each step in the process, from choosing the initial raw materials and compatible adhesives, to receiving prototypes to see and feel. Drytac has the ability to then carry out small-scale production trials, tests and evaluations. Once the final product formulation is agreed, Drytac can manufacture bespoke self-adhesive coated products in runs as short as 5,000 linear metres and as long as over a million.

Unlike other manufacturers, Drytac does not specialise in one type of chemistry, instead able to offer custom coatings with solvent-based adhesive, water-based adhesive and hot-melt adhesive, giving a much wider range of options. Drytac has also pioneered its own pattern-coating process for laminating breathable and permeable materials, with a dot adhesive coating.

There is no typical customer and no standard product; Drytac produces mounting adhesives, overlaminating films, printable media and practically any other adhesive-coated material – high coat weight double-sided tapes, cloth tapes, tissue tape, perm/peel tapes, medical transfer tapes, horticultural labels, BS5609-approved chemical drum labels, protection films for carpets and hard floors, spray booth liner and many more. For any business looking for custom contract coatings, in any market, personal service from an expert will yield the best results.

Learn more about our custom coating services here!

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Wall graphics: Fail to prepare or prepare to fail!

Authored By Dave Newbery, Regional Sales Manager at Drytac

It’s no surprise that over the past decade wall graphics have become more and more relevant. The explosion of higher quality and more affordable large format printers has enabled graphics companies to offer their customers more than just their standard signs, vehicle graphics and posters. Offices, schools, gyms and hospitals, to name but a few, are all benefiting from using formerly blank wall space to convey a mission statement or promotional message – or simply to brighten things up.

However, wall graphics can all too often go wrong, and sometimes very badly. This is due to the minefield that is different types of paint (particularly interior paints) and their compatibility with wall graphics products. Factors such as the incorrect face film and incorrect adhesive (including the wrong coat weight of adhesive) can have a disastrous effect.

A common cause of failure is lack of a proper site survey. This should include peel testing the products that will potentially be used, checking the paint in situ, finding out if there are any air conditioning units or heaters in the vicinity and what the local ambient atmosphere is, and, if possible, discovering what is under the paint and how long ago the paint was actually applied. There’s lots of detective work to do!

Printers and sign makers can easily fall into the trap of thinking any wall graphics media will work with any wall – only to then get a call the next day from their client complaining that their wall graphics have overnight become floor graphics. Explaining to the customer that they would like to visit the site to check the walls and do some testing in advance of producing the graphics can eliminate a world of pain – and embarrassment. The end user won’t always grant this request but most will understand that a day’s disruption is better than several extra days on site to correct any faults later. A survey will make everyone’s life far simpler in the long run.

Washable or wipeable paints that have become very popular over the past few years never make for an easy install when it comes to adhesive. Put simply, if a paint wants to chemically repel dirt, ink and fingerprints it will want to do the same to adhesive. If not prepped correctly, the highest strength adhesives can still fail when applied to these types of paints. Even if the bond is a ‘pass’ but the face film isn’t stable enough, a ‘pass’ can quickly become a ‘fail’ as the film is effectively pulling on the adhesive. And it is often the case where wall graphics need to be fitted when the wall was only painted a matter of days (sometimes hours!) ago.

Paint needs to have been applied a bare minimum of 72 hours in advance (ideally a lot longer) to give any adhesive a fighting chance of working. And if the printer has input into the type of paint to be used, a basic emulsion paint is a far better choice as this has no washable properties to it. However, if a washable or wipeable paint has been used, there are some fixes. Ideally, this type of paint needs sanding to remove the ‘washable’ surface. Sanding generates a whole new problem of dust – and lots of it – but this is the preferred work-around for this type of paint. If this is not possible, a good quality sealer or primer to lock in the washable properties of the paint is a viable alternative. All finishes also need to be clean; a seemingly obvious fact that can be overlooked.

Here at Drytac we have several products which offer excellent performance when these guidelines are followed. Drytac Polar Grip is an 80 micron polymeric PVC film coated with a high coat weight/high strength adhesive. The polymeric film with its lack of phthalates makes for a very stable face. This coupled with its 44gsm high peel/high sheer adhesive makes this an excellent solution for permanent wall graphics. Polar Grip is available in both matte and gloss white finishes and is even suitable for application to brickwork for exterior use.

The extensive range of Drytac ReTac products add a new dimension to wall graphics. Not only are there various finishes and thicknesses but the unique ReTac adhesive allows for wall graphics to easily be changed around if the image starts to look dated or is no longer suitable. There is even a glossy wipeable version, so dry-wipe boards can be moved around a building with the end user safe in the knowledge that there will be no adhesive residue left and no damage caused. The world of wall graphics can be a minefield. Fail to prepare or prepare to fail – or, do your homework and get great results.

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