Q&A: Which digital printing media and laminate combination?

By signcraft

Posted on Sunday, August 14th, 2022

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1 year ago

i don’t have a laminator so I use a spray uv clear 2 coats and it holds up well

Charles Higgins
Charles Higgins
1 year ago

I have found 3M™ Scotchcal™ Gloss Overlaminate 8528 to be the most durable laminate we have used. It has a 2 year warranty on horizontal surfaces. I have had it last for 4 years on the hood of a Tahoe.
The only downside is the cost.

Brad Getter
Brad Getter
1 year ago

All of the major film suppliers have support documents to help you make the right use determination for their products. Here are a few:




While 3M’s is well laid out, you may have to dig a bit to find the info on the other sites. They all have technical bulletins that spell out what each film is for, how it should be processed, and what life to expect.

Cast films will always be better than calendered films for long-term use and should be your go-to for Australia’s harsher climate. Cast reflective street sign films are some of the longest-lasting due to national government standards imposed on them, and oftentimes people subconsciously compare commercial sign life to that of street signs.

In general, the cost of the film should only be 7-10% of the price of a rigid sign, or 20% of the price of a decal/sticker. The difference between cast and calendered is typically $5 USD per sq ft at retail and it’s better to just use the good stuff and not worry about it.

Be upfront with your client – no sign lasts forever (except for some cave paintings and carved stone). If they want a lower budget calendered film, explain the price difference and tell them you’ll revisit them when the cheaper sign ages out. Luckily more and more buyers are adjusting to this reality and it makes for a future sale opportuntiy.

In any sale, even though manufacturers state lifespans, never offer any reference to a lifespan. This suggests a “warranty” to your customer. Most vinyl manufacturers’ warranties just replace the vinyl that fails. If you imply a warranty by offering a lifespan, your client will expect the sign to last that lifespan.

The sign trade has never really offered a warranty to our buyers as we make bespoke things, but we owe it to our customers to guide them into the right media for their use and expectations.

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