Posted By Vinyl Frog On July 02, 2024

Cast Vs Calendered Vinyl

Cast Vs Calendered Vinyl

With the increasing popularity of vinyl in the automotive industry for customizing vehicles, the decision between cast and calendered vinyl can be overwhelming. Cast Vinyl is thin and flexible and excellent for curves and contours. Calendered vinyl is comparatively thicker and best for flat and less complex surfaces. It is less costly as well.

Although both materials may seem similar, they undergo entirely different manufacturing processes. This blog is a complete guide to help you understand the differences between cast and calendered vinyl for car customization.

What Is Calendered Vinyl?

Calendered vinyl is a strong polyvinyl chloride film that is thick and medium stretchable. It is made by measuring and combining precise quantities of PVC and other ingredients in a vat. The mixture is then fed into a machine with heated rollers called a calendar.

Cast Vs Calendered Vinyl

The calender uses immense pressure and heat to squeeze and stretch the vinyl mixture into a thin, uniform sheet. This process aligns the molecules in one direction, affecting the final flexibility of the material. Once the desired thickness and width are achieved, the heated vinyl sheet is rapidly cooled. This is done to solidify it and prevent any warping.

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Then, it's neatly rolled up, ready to be used for various applications specifically giving a fresh, new look to cars. By adjusting the ingredients and settings, manufacturers can create a wide variety of plastic films, each with unique properties and applications.

What Is Cast Vinyl?

Cast vinyl is a thin and flexible film that is easier to wrap around curves and contours. To make it, raw materials are carefully measured and added to a mixing vat in a precise order. The mixture then undergoes a specific stirring process at a controlled speed and duration. This ensures uniform consistency throughout the material.

Cast Vs Calendered Vinyl

Once the concoction is ready, it's poured onto a casting sheet, which is exceptionally thin. This thinness is a key factor in the final product's flexibility. This sheet is then processed through a series of ovens which allows the solvents to evaporate. Upon evaporation, a solid film is left behind. This is the final product – the cast vinyl.

Difference Between Cast Vinyl And Calendered Vinyl

Both vinyl types share a common foundation: polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Plasticizers are added to PVC to enhance the vinyl's flexibility, giving it the ability to conform to different surfaces. The key difference between cast and calendered vinyl is based on two factors: 

Cast Vs Calendered Vinyl
  • The specific type of plasticizer used.
  • The manufacturing process.

Here are some of the important differences between cast and calendered vinyl.

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Paint Protection Film (PPF)

1. Vinyl Shrinking

  • Cast Vinyl experiences minimal shrinkage during production. This dimensional stability translates to a flawless application, especially on uneven or curved surfaces.
  • Calendered Vinyl can experience shrinking over time. This may result in less resistance to the elements.
Cast Vs Calendered Vinyl

2. The Difference In Durability

  • The precise manufacturing process and high-quality raw materials used in cast vinyl contribute to its exceptional durability. You can expect cast vinyl applied to your car to withstand harsh weather conditions, including extreme temperatures, rain, and UV rays, for extended periods.
  • Calendered vinyl is also durable but not as much comparatively. It may show signs of wear and tear sooner in harsh environments and tough weather conditions.
Cast Vs Calendered Vinyl

3. Resistance To Abrasion

  • Cast Vinyl offers resistance to scratches and resistance. If high-quality materials, including specific polymers and additives, are used, the resistance will be high.
  • Calendered Vinyl boasts superior resistance to abrasion. This makes it a suitable choice for applications where the film might experience scuffing or wear. Since it is sturdy and slightly thicker, it provides better protection as well.
Cast Vs Calendered Vinyl

4. Conformity Around Curves

  • Thanks to its thinness and inherent flexibility, Cast Vinyl effortlessly conforms to complex curves and intricate details. This makes it the perfect choice for applications like vehicle wraps, where a smooth, seamless finish is paramount.
  • Calendared vinyl is medium stretchable. It conforms to the curves of your vehicle fitting it perfectly but may require a little effort. It excels when applied to simple, flat surfaces or surfaces with gentle curves. Its rigidity allows for a smooth and consistent application process.
Cast Vs Calendered Vinyl

Cast vs. Calendered Vinyl Cost

  • Cast vinyl is an expensive film. It costs two to three times more than calendered vinyl. If you have budget constraints, this will be the deciding factor when choosing between the two vinyls.
  • Calendered vinyl is less costly and offers a more budget-friendly option compared to cast vinyl. If you cannot spend more, you can get your car fully or partially wrapped at a much lower cost.
Cast Vs Calendered Vinyl

Cast Vs. Calendered Vinyl: Which One To Choose?

Vinyl is a great solution for many projects, but choosing between cast and calendered vinyl can be tricky. Here's a breakdown to help you decide:

Pros Of Cast Vinyl

  • It is an expensive film and is not for those who have concerns about the cost factor.
  • Cast vinyl is perfect for outdoor applications because it resists fading from ultraviolet (UV) light.
  • It's incredibly flexible, making it ideal for wrapping complex curves and body shapes.
  • It's also the go-to choice for vehicle wraps and decorative items with intricate shapes, as it stretches well along with the contours.
Cast Vs Calendered Vinyl

Pros Of Calendered Vinyl

  • Calendered vinyl is a more economical and budget-friendly option.
  • It is widely used as a car wrap so one can change the appearance of their vehicle without opting for an expensive paint job.
  • It is available in an extensive range of colors and finishes giving you a lot of choice as far as car customization is concerned.
  • It is a sturdy film that does not get damaged easily. It endures scratches and abrasions bravely.
Cast Vs Calendered Vinyl

Frequently Asked Questions

A premium-quality calendered vinyl can last for two to three years. This depends on how the vinyl was applied and how well you have taken care of your wrapped vehicle. The weather in your area also plays a role in the longevity of the vinyl. You can change the look of your car after this period.

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Cast vs Calendered Vinyl Wraps For Cars

In conclusion, selecting between cast and calendered vinyl for your car depends on your specific needs and priorities. Cast vinyl is best due to its conformability, durability, and long-lasting vibrancy, making it ideal for intricate curves and applications demanding extended outdoor use. However, its higher cost might be a deterrent for budget-conscious projects.

Calendered vinyl shines with its affordability, ease of handling, resistance to abrasion, and sufficient performance on flat or gently curved surfaces. It's a great choice for vehicle wrapping and for projects where a tighter budget is a concern.

Through a detailed comparison of their characteristics, this guide empowers professional installers or enthusiastic DIYers to make informed decisions for their specific car vinyl wrapping needs. It is important to understand the inherent strengths and limitations of each vinyl type to achieve a flawless and long-lasting vehicle wrap. Remember, the perfect vinyl awaits – choose and wrap with confidence!

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