Martin Kugler, Corporate Communications Manager at HEXIS S.A., says, “Our films are suitable for bricks, concrete or chipboard. "Rough" means with surface grain and uneven with cracks and crevices not exceeding a depth of 0.2in. To maintain the good contact surface the substrate should also be free from dust, sand, loose paint. If it is painted, the paint must have completely dried and be free from any contaminants such as wax, silicone, oil etc.”
Application can be an art in itself. Walton says, “To get an amazing look that can fool viewers into believing they are looking at a painted imaged, rough surfaces do require special films and application techniques.” Walton also states that 3M offers a video in its website to help installers benefit from their vast experience and to offer various techniques.
Halford offers some advice on preparation: “It’s important to ensure that the application area is in good repair and free of “growing” cracks or crumbling sections. Also, take into consideration if the application area is free from drainage or dedicated run-off and not prone to standing water.
For Surface Preparation:
- The surface must be completely dry. Check all cracks, pits, and crevices for any remaining moisture.
- It is required to use a push broom on the potential application area. Using short brush strokes, brush the substrate from three different directions to ensure the area is dust free. A push broom in concert with a leaf blower will aid in the substrate preparation time.
- Be sure that the application substrate is in good repair and free of “growing” cracks or crumbling sections.
- Also identify that the decal location is free from drainage or dedicated run-off and not prone to standing water.
Naturally, specialty products tend to cost more and also affect the way a PSP may change its price structure to accommodate this change. Another factor to take into account is the difficulty of installation.
Walton says, “Installation costs are generally determined by square footage, but also take into consideration the difficulty of the installation. As a general rule, when you use the right films and tools, there should be little if any difference in cost whether the installer is applying the film to low textured surfaces, like poured concrete, or more textured surfaces such as brick. Each of these surfaces does require the use of special tools, including a heat gun and one or more special rollers. The installation procedure is a bit more involved as well, including planning the installation to avoid beginning or ending on a grout line, setting the edges, and then using some unique application techniques. If the grout lines are too deep to conform the film into them, the film must be cut out of the grout line, creating a very eye-catching mosaic effect. This is a labor intensive step so a brand owner should expect a higher cost for such an installation.”
Technology, products and processes are constantly changing. The experts offer their opinions on current and future trends.
Yard says, “Interior wall décor is an expanding market, both for printed murals and plotter cut designs. Interior designers and architects are driving this surge and they are looking for unique finishes and textures like those provided by MACtac’s PERMACOLOR DecoLam.”
Walton agrees that faux wall textures will continue to be on trend. “Graphics on textured walls have a strong following among those who have seen them somewhere and have even used them. Before the films and techniques were available for such an application, most textured walls remained blank, or painted, or had banners or framed images hung from them—nothing that could create the visual impact that a printed graphic can.”
Halford also address promotional uses. “Promotional graphics are being installed anywhere they will catch a consumer’s attention – on floors inside and outside, around pillars in parking garages and subway or train stations, on elevator doors and floors. Campaigns for movie premiers, mall promotions, sporting events and conventions are utilizing street graphics more and more to gain awareness.”