Posted by vinyl frog on November 17, 2022
Spray Car Wraps
With the proclivity for customizing the overall appearance of the car according to one’s preferences and persona on the rise, wraps are gaining immense popularity. When we speak of wraps, the first thing that comes to mind is vinyl. But this is not the only way to revamp the exterior of the vehicle. Spray car wraps, also known as liquid wraps, are also gaining traction. In today’s blog, we take a deep dive into the world of spray wraps and how they may help overhaul your car’s appearance.
What is a Spray Wrap?
A spray car wrap can be simply defined as a protective liquid that is sprayed on the car in several coats. It uses liquid polymer layers that provide a covering or ‘skin’ to your car. It is initially sprayed as a liquid which then sets to a perfect rubbery plastic layer. It can be applied on the original paint job and serves as a protective rubber coating. If you want your vehicle to look new and fresh without a complex and expensive paint job, spray wrap is definitely the way to go!
Types of Spray Wraps
Since spray wraps are made to replicate the original manufacturer paint job, they are available in two different types of finishes:
Matte Spray Car Wraps
A textured, smooth matte finish that exudes class, the wrap has a dull sheen to it that creates a solemn dramatic tone. It absorbs and diffuses light rather than reflecting it. It has a greater color consistency throughout and really helps bring out the fine intricate details of the vehicle’s body.
Glossy Spray Car Wraps
If you wish to go for a more stylish and gleaming finish, you should opt for a glossy spray wrap. Available in a variety of different shades, it is the most commonly used spray wrap as the shiny, glistening finish creates a stunning and vivid outlook.
How to Apply a Spray Wrap
Following are the steps one should follow when spray wrapping the car:
Preparation Perhaps: the most vital and important element is preparing the vehicle for the wrap. Here’s how you can do so:
- Since applying and removing spray wraps can be a tedious task, you want to make sure that there aren’t any dirt particles or stains on the car. This can be done easily by applying a soap and water mixture to the car, then using a lint free cloth to clean off any marks.
- A spray wrap does not adhere to rusty surfaces as well, so smoothing and sanding has to be done beforehand. The body of the vehicle has to be in a perfect, clean and rust-free condition before wrapping.
- Dry the car thoroughly. Be sure to fully get rid of any moisture as a spray wrap may not properly adhere to a wet surface.
- A minor, but very important point is to keep the temperature of the car similar to the temperature of the spray wrap. Using a cold spray wrap on a hot car can hinder the layering process and may not give you the desired look.
A spray car wrap is applied in layers and the number of layers can vary depending on the amount of protection you want. An ideal number of coats is between three to five.
The first layer is called the base layer or the tack layer. It acts as a bonding material and helps the spray wrap adhere better to the surface. It’s a thin layer that can be applied with a spray gun.
After applying, leave it for 30-40 minutes so it can dry properly. Make sure your entire car is fully covered with this layer. After this layer has dried, apply the second layer. An ideal way would be to start from the roof of the car to the lowest point such as the bumper or rims.
Apply three to five layers of the spray wrap so the color consistency is perfect and the car has a more even look throughout. Once this is done, let the wrap dry completely. Peel off any excess wrap. The process of application is as simple as that!
Maintenance of a Spray Wrap
It is highly important to maintain the spray wrap to ensure longevity. Cleaning a spray wrapped car is quite simple. You could use a simple microfiber cloth along with water and soap. Here's how to do it:
- Wash the car with your hands using a gentle automotive detergent. Rinse the vehicle with clean water after washing, then dry with a microfiber cloth.
- Immediately clean bird droppings, dead insects, tree sap or other difficult stains. If you let them stay on for long, they will be harder to remove and might eventually damage the wrap. Loosen the contaminants by soaking them in warm, soapy water. Rinse and dry with a microfiber cloth.
- If you encounter a gas or fuel spill, simply let it evaporate. Do not touch it or you will leave fingerprints on your wrap. When fueling, cover the part underneath the fuel door with a rag so that nothing spills on the spray wrap.
- Avoid any products containing oil or petroleum as they can damage the wrap. Hence do not apply wax.
Advantages of a Spray Wrap
With the number of options available for vehicle customization, choosing between a spray wrap and a vinyl wrap can be a daunting task. We aim to highlight the pros and cons of getting a full spray wrap and whether it is the best for you and your vehicle or not.
1: Spray Wraps are Pocket Friendly
The first and foremost factor that one considers when getting a car wrap is the cost. Spray wraps, when compared to vinyl wraps, cost considerably less. Though you can lessen the cost of vinyl application by doing it yourself, it is not a wise option, especially if you are looking for perfection. Leaving the job for a professional is highly recommended who will charge much less if you opt for a spray wrap. It will also save you time and hassle.
2. Car Protection
Spray wraps, like every other wrap, offer protection against harsh elements of weather such as UV rays; minor impacts such as rock chips, scratches and debris on the road, and any other environmental hazard. They create a thick layer of rubberized coating on the original paint job that acts as a barrier. This not only helps protect the original bodywork and paint job of the vehicle but also greatly increases a car’s resale value as the wrap can be removed anytime the customer wants.
3. Easy Application
Application of a spray wrap is also a breeze when compared to other wraps. All the layers are sprayed using a spray gun, hence one does not have to go through the hassle of having to remove creases or air bubbles, or the worries about wrapping around corners efficiently. Spray wraps can also be applied to wheels and rims for an added layer of protection which is not possible with a vinyl wrap.
4. Hassle Free Removal
While applying spray wraps, no adhesive is used so they can be removed easily without having to worry about any damage caused to the paint underneath. They can be applied within hours, dry quickly, and with proper care, can last for years.
The Drawbacks of a Spray Wrap
While a spray wrap does have its benefits, especially cost-wise, over other wraps, it does compromise on quality quite a bit. Following are the disadvantages of applying spray wraps.
1. Lack of Variety
A spray car wrap only offers monotone application. You will not get an immense variety in colors and different kinds of finishes like you do in vinyl. You will have to settle for a single shade if you are opting for a spray wrap.
2. Limited Utility
Spray wraps cannot be used for advertising and growing one’s business. Creating intricate designs or customized logos for business is better done through vinyl wraps. Spray wraps also lead to the issue of having a two toned car. Since no clear spray wraps are available, the only option is either getting a full car wrap or wrapping wing mirrors or bumpers with contrasting colors. Finding the exact color as the original paintwork is close to impossible and can ruin the look of the car if not done properly.
3. Short Lifespan
The longevity and durability of spray wraps is less. Though their lifespan depends on the quality of the polymer used, most spray wraps last between two to three years depending on the external conditions and usage.
4. Limited Protection
Though a spray wrap offers good protection against light impact such as rock chips and small debris, it is less resistant to gasses and solvents. Oil and petroleum based products can ruin the spray wrap as they dissolve the wrap layer. This can be a hassle to manage. While Spray wraps are considerably cheaper and offer a wide range of advantages, it is best to delve into all aspects before deciding which option is best for your car.
Frequently Asked Questions
In conclusion, if you’re looking for a cost-effective upgrade to the vehicle while still wanting to protect its original bodywork, a spray car wrap is definitely the way to go. Though they do not give you many options in terms of colors, textures and surface finish, they provide good protection with easy application and removal. If you are low on budget but want your car to be protected by being fully wrapped in a single shade, spray wraps are for you.