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I have received many phone calls and emails asking how to prevent scratching the film while installing vinyl graphics. The question primarily comes from installers using Avery Dennison® Conform Chrome films, but I have had the same question from people using our Supreme Wrapping Films and our MPI 1005 Supercast Easy Apply RS™ with the DOL 1360 or 1460 gloss overlaminates.
The fix is fairly simple and involves a good quality squeegee with a buffer and some soapy water. I’ve found the WetEdge™ microfiber squeegee works well. The Avery Dennison Blue Felt Edge squeegee also works well (especially the new ones with the softer felt). You can also apply your own buffer of choice; just do some testing to ensure it won’t scratch the film.
The trick to avoid the scratches is a “Modified Wet Application.” I like to call it a “Reverse Wet Application” because instead of putting the liquid behind the adhesive it is going on top of the film. The liquid acts as a lubricant and lets the squeegee slide smoothly across the chrome or other film and minimizes or even eliminates the scratches that often occur during install.
In the Avery Dennison Instructional Bulletin 4.00.2 “Application Instructions for Avery Dennison Conform Chrome,” we illustrate spraying the soapy water solution directly onto the soft side of the WetEdge squeegee then using this squeegee to apply the chrome film.
In this You Tube video, our customer has actually lightly sprayed the surface of the film before squeegeeing it into place. If you use this technique, be sure to take care and don’t get the liquid on the backside of the film, between the car and the film’s adhesive.
Once the graphic is applied, you simply dry off the panel and then inspect for scratches. Small scratches can then most likely be removed using some heat from a heat gun, or they will go away eventually once the vehicle is out into the sun.