Tips & Tricks
Using an application fluid can aid the application of a vinyl films that have an aggressive adhesive system. The application fluid helps float the graphic onto the surface, to prevent pre-adhesion (the vinyl sticking before you want it to). Application fluid also allows an installer to easily reposition the graphics without distortion. Here are some things that you should not do with application fluid.
- Don’t use application fluid, if you can install the graphics dry.
- Don’t use too much application fluid. The rule of thumb is to use the least amount to accomplish the task. If the application tape gets too wet the adhesive can delaminate from the tape. Cleaning this residual adhesive can be annoying and time-consuming.
- Don’t use application fluid to apply vinyl to surfaces with rivets. Application fluid collects underneath rivet heads, creating a residue that later seeps out. This causes vinyl to tent and eventually crack. Fluid under trailer-panel seams can also cause edge lifting.
- Don’t use application fluid to install graphics with a metallization layer, such as reflective sheeting or Vinylefx® films. The application fluid can cause delamination of the face-stock's adhesive and accelerate galvanic corrosion.
- Don’t dilute a commercial application fluid with water. If you dilute your application fluid, you'll dilute the adhesion-promoting characteristics.
- Don’t use glass cleaner as an application fluid. Some glass cleaners contain silicone, ammonia and other additives that can impair adhesion (Windex isn't even recommended for preparing the application surface).
- Don't waste your time trying to duplicate a commercial application fluid. Commercial application fluids are worth the investment because the formulations' quality and consistency yield consistent results. Some popular products on the market today include Rapid Tac, Rapid Tac II, Splash, Actiontac, Window Juice, Quick Stick and Position Perfect. Dishwashing liquid and similar soaps contain additives such as surfactants, emulsifiers, moisturizers and perfumes, all of which are detrimental to an adhesive. Surfactants, for example, help cleaners break dirt's bond with the substrate. They have the same effect on adhesives, causing bonding failure and edge lifting.
- Do not perform a wet application when using an air-egress vinyl. These repositionable vinyl films have micro tunnels embossed in their adhesives. These tunnels will trap application fluid that will most likely result in adhesion failure. Air-egress vinyls are easy to reposition. There no reason to use an application fluid when installing these films.