09 Dec Brick Wall Application
Recently, Full Sail Graphics & Marketing designed the graphics for a parking garage in Downtown Los Angeles. We contracted with a quality installer and are pleased with the result of the job. The wall in the parking garage was white brick, so our installers definitely had a slow and tedious process in order for the job to be done right.
The technique for applying wall graphics to a textured surface, like a brick wall, is significantly different and more challenging than the technique for applying vinyl to a smooth surface. These advanced installations require the correct products, tools, and technique. Tim Boxeth, marketing manager at 3M advises, “working with an experienced and knowledgeable installer or watching an installation DVD” to accelerate the learning curve. He asserts that it is far superior to a trial and error type of approach.
One of the most important keys to successfully applying vinyl to a textured wall is using the correct amount of heat. If cast vinyl is not heated to the right temperature, the film will not mold to the wall. For applications to brick or stucco, 3M recommends heating the film to between 1000 and 1100 degrees Farenheit. This will melt the vinyl, but not damage the film. To reach this range of heat, installers require a heat gun to dial in the necessary temperature and an IR Temperature gun to measure the film temperature.
3M has developed multiple foam roller applicators that differ slightly based on the exact specifications of the job. The basic purpose of these rollers is to allow installers to expediently apply cast vinyl graphics to textured surfaces. 3M’s soft, bevel-edged roller is preferred for brick wall application because it is designed to conform to mortar joints and withstand high temperatures. Problematic joints outside the normal realm of measurements for which the roller is designed require cutting the film and weeding it to cover the joint.
Even with the proper tools, there is great pressure on the installer to be very knowledgeable. Installers should position the heat gun an inch from the film and ahead of the roller. The film should be heated for about a second and the roller should move at a rate of approximately two inches per second. Taking time and being patient is integral to the process.
Installers must also be careful to direct the heat at the vinyl rather than the roller because excessive heat could damage that very expensive piece of equipment. Protective gear should be worn so that the installer does not burn him/herself while working.
(This is just a brief overview on applying vinyl graphics to textured surfaces. It is not a comprehensive explanation.)