Vehcile Wraps Buyer's Guide
Types of vinyl wraps for vehicles
Table of Contents
Vehicle wraps are printed on sheets of cast or calendered vinyl. The primary difference between the two vinyl wraps is durability. Cast vinyl is best for long-term use of 1 to 5 years; calendered vinyl is appropriate for short-term wraps lasting just 3 to 12 months.
Cast vinyl is a premium material that stretches easily to best conform to the vehicle's surface. When brushed over with a clear laminate, cast vinyl provides a paint-like finish on cars, buses, and even boats.
In addition to increased flexibility, vendors prefer cast vinyl because the sheets don't shrink much during manufacturing, and also because they maintain colors better during printing. However, cast vinyl wraps are considerably more expensive than calendered material and isn't recommended if you need a vehicle wrap for less than a year.
Calendered vinyl has strong "memory" - it snaps back to its original form after being stretched. This means it doesn't conform as well to vehicles. It's also difficult to match colors. But calendered vinyl is much cheaper than cast material, and it can be produced in greater quantities. This makes it an acceptable solution for vinyl wraps lasting only a few months - especially if used on flat surfaces such as the side of a box truck - but not for long-term advertising.
Vinyl wrap methods
Vendors offer different methods for wrapping your vehicle, depending on how much surface area you wish to cover.
- Complete wrap - Covers the entire surface of the vehicle. Includes perforated window film (known as "window perfs") that covers glass surfaces without impacting the driver's visibility.
- Half wrap - Covers half the sides of the vehicle and extends around the back. Half wraps may also include a logo for the hood.
- Window graphics only - Graphics printed on window perfs.
- Vinyl lettering/spot graphics only - A simple and inexpensive solution that may include 1 to 2 colors, a company logo, and/or a call to action on the side of the vehicle.
If you're unsure which wrap method works best for your vehicle, an experienced vendor can help. Complete a free request for quotes form to get matched with multiple vehicle wrap professionals.