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  • whats the best method of Covering Fomex with vinyl?

    Posted by Timmy Mallet on August 22, 2002 at 1:37 pm

    How do you guys cover a fomex board, do you just stick a layer on E.G 500mm and then overlap untill all the board is covered?


    Timmy Mallet replied 21 years, 10 months ago 11 Members · 36 Replies
  • 36 Replies
  • Robert Lambie

    August 22, 2002 at 1:43 pm

    yeh i just cover it mate…

    check this link it may help more…

  • Martin Pearson

    August 22, 2002 at 4:14 pm

    Not quite sure what you mean about overlapping it Tim.

    The vinyl size is normally bigger than the board size so there are no overlaps. Unless you are covering a 2050mm x 3050mm board.

    I dont normally overlap the vinyl as I think it detracts from the sign when you have a line across the board.

    I know of one sign company that used 610mm wide to cover a board 1000mm wide, they overlapped the vinyl rather than buy vinyl in at 1260mm and the customer was not happy at all.

  • Tim Shaw

    August 22, 2002 at 4:18 pm

    Same as you guys we will only overlap on a panel it is absolutley necessary, or if the panel is positioned more than 10ft away from the closest viewing point, but only we if we are stuck for time or materials.

  • SignMadeMike

    August 22, 2002 at 8:47 pm

    Overlapping is a must, 5mm or so is all that is required. Don’t forget to take into account temperature variances. if the “customer” complains, explain the technicalities of it all.

  • steve

    August 23, 2002 at 5:58 am

    Timmy we always cover Foamex panels wet its far better- get a large garden pump spray bottle completely mist the foamex face then dry with lint free cloths or as we use paper towelling then drench both the back of the vinyl having stripped off the backing paper and the foamex lighty lay the wet vinyl sheet onto the wet foamex face drench the front of the vinyl get a professional window cleaners squeege and simply squeege all the water out from under the vinyl working from the centre out to the edges works great no bubbles it works with all vinyls- watch frosted- don’t put any washing up liquid in the water bottle the adhesive can go milky on you! you can however put a bit in for all other vinyls trim edge of foamex with a scalpel we always use excel round scalpels they are far more controllable than swan mortons

  • Robert Lambie

    August 23, 2002 at 9:28 am

    WET….yeh maybe! washing-up liquid in it? nnnoooo 😕 😕 😕

    come on steve how many years have you been in the trade…
    thats for folk in coach works that do this every once and a blue moon…

    wet or dry… maybe rapid tac if you have money to burn… but keep the liquid for the dishes… 😆 😆

  • steve

    August 23, 2002 at 9:31 am

    its a fair cop Rob its just that we have 45 litre drum of Fairy to get rid of 👿 😥

  • Tim Shaw

    August 23, 2002 at 2:56 pm

    We use fairy liquid ALL THE TIME for wet applications. Only 1 or 2 drops in a water spray bottle.

    If you are using wet application on cheap vinyl or polyester films which you WATER base and not SOLVENT based adhesive the water dilutes the glue and it take ages for it to flash off.

    When we cover boards we DRENCH the board and the vinyl ( after removing the backing). Once we dropped a piece on the floor outside, picked upo all the s##t off the floor. We picked it up dropped it an bucket, gave it a good wash and stuck it on as normal. No s##t to be seen.

    On a really cold day working on glass we sometimes use meths in the spray bottle, but it flashes off so quick you have’ny got time to mess around.

  • Phill Fenton

    August 23, 2002 at 7:33 pm

    I also use a weak detergent solution such as fairy when I want to apply vinyl wet. The Scientific explanation behind it all is that the detergent lowers the surface tension of the water molecules – thus allowing the water to wet the surface more effectively. It is the lowering of the surface tension of the water that makes this effective – not a direct effect of the fairy liquid itself. I always use as little as possible – but enough to ensure the surface is well wetted. Highly polished surfaces need more soap to wet them, likewise Forrex is a difficult surface to “wet” using water and therefore needs more detergent to be effective. 😮

    I’ve never had any problems as a result of doing this.

    Bricklayers also use fairy liquid as a platisciser when mixing mortar. This is frowned on by the NHBC but doesn’t appear to have any adverse effects on any walls I’ve seen built this way.

    Tip – don’t use a supermarket brand of detergent – the bottles may look bigger and hence better value for money, but Fairy goes much further than ordinary washing up liquids (and it’s kind to your hands). 😮 😮

  • Martin Pearson

    August 23, 2002 at 10:53 pm

    Steve, you mentioned useing a window cleaners squeegee to apply the vinyl does this scratch the surface of the vinyl at all?
    I have tried felt squeegees from Metamark, spandex and grafityp and sleeves from spandex and they all seem to scratch the vinyl, I now use a normal plastic squeegee with a piece of velvet double sided taped to one edge works really well as you can apply quite a bit of pressure if needed without fear of scratching the vinyl but with large panels it can be time consuming.
    We generally apply wet, I think you get a better finish and if you do start to run off it is easy to correct, like Phill we add a couple of drops of fairy, I’ve had the same bottle for ages.

  • Robert Lambie

    August 24, 2002 at 9:12 am

    Sorry guys, I don’t agree with you using anything in the water. 😕
    I’m not by any means, saying you cant do it. Or it doesn’t work to a point….

    I mean why use it at all… water should be plenty to float a graphic
    Into place.
    I know we are talking Foamex, but Water on a vehicle should only be used on the flat panels.
    It is impossible to squeegee water from a recess on a vehicle, round rivets and so on.
    So, It will be left under the vinyl once fitting is complete.
    Some say that the water will dry out, but does it completely?
    Lets say the water does dry out.
    While in there it has stopped the vinyl gaining contact to the surface of the vehicle.
    So when / if the water dries out… you will be left with a peace of the vinyl floating. Only to become brittle over time & Start to break away once pressure washed. 2 months down the line, that lovely job now has eyesores all over it.
    I know water helps us all apply vinyl very well. But it does have its down sides.
    We are all using pressure sensitive films…

    We use nylon squeegees, right? Apart from the flat wide surface that helps us apply the vinyl it is doing another job.
    It is gaining pressure on the areas we apply the vinyl. Pressure we could not really achieve with our thumb or anything else for that matter. When the squeegee passes over the vinyl it is also causing friction heat. This heat helps activate the glue on the rear of the vinyl giving it a start to griping the surface of the substrate in question.
    The heat is probably greater than what you would imagine… how many times have you burned your knuckle applying vinyl?
    People like rapid tack know this. And in way of backing there product & method of wet application. They say that in there fluid there is a chemical that activates or burst the adhesion bubbles on the vinyl… thus giving the same service the nylon squeegee does…. Maybe so. Maybe! But it is still in there. Where does the chemicals go? And how do you get it out from the recesses of a vehicle… you cant? So water may really be doing just as good a job & costs you nothing… unless you’re using the bottled stuff… 😆 😆

    All this said I do use a felt squeegee a lot these days. So friction heat is almost zero. But I do always apply some heat if this is the case… using a heat gun.
    Another culprit is the rubber roller… great for large flat surfaces. But again, no friction.
    Unless a warm day or the workshop is warm I would again suggest a quick blast from a heat gin.

    I do however use water if in a warm climate & I have to apply very large areas of vinyl to Perspex. But this is not often. A couple of times a year if anything.

    Hope I don’t get tomatoes thrown at me now for say all this… 😳 😆

  • Phill Fenton

    August 24, 2002 at 10:24 am

    Rob – I find that water alone often does not float a graphic. The water usually pools leaving a dry surface with globules of liquid everywhere when applying to a vehicle. Hence the need to add something (fairy liquid) to reduce the surface tension of the liquid and therefore “Wet” the surface properly in order to float the graphic.

    I believe the water underneath the vinyl does make it’s way out. I’m not sure how it does this (as I don’t think that vinyl can “Breath”) but I do believe it escapes. Maybe capilary action or something is responsible 😕

    The reason I believe this is because I have seen examples with droplets of water clearly trapped under vinyl that one or two days later are gone. 😀 Similarly I would reason that what ever mechanism the “Off the shelf” application fluid uses to escape from under the vinyl is also used by the water. 😮

    I think this is an interesting subject, and would also be interested to hear what the manufaturers of application fluid and vinyls say about this.

  • Tim Shaw

    August 24, 2002 at 11:17 am

    This one looks set to run and run…………….

    We would never fit large areas of vinyl without a little fairy liquid. Water on its own causes more problems than it solves. Much better to apply dry than use water only. I MY OPINION.

    Water will always evaporate off eventually, and the small amout of fairy involved should’nt affect the long tern life. Rapidtac, I imagine, is doing the same thing as fairy liquid but rapidtac probably can’t get dried fried egg and curry from the side of a Ford Transit van.

    I agree with you that you should’nt use the wet method on recesses etc. But when covering foamex panels I dont think you could cover a 8′ x 4′ sheet without any fairy liquid.

  • Andrew Blackett

    August 24, 2002 at 11:56 am

    Rapid Tac, its dead good and nice and slippery which gives you more time to beggar about positioning it. If you want to spend a bit more money and upgrade from washing up liquid get rapid tac.

    We use it on the majority of our work, and unlike fairy liquid it actually gets the adhesive working quicker! smells nice too which is a bonus!


  • Martin Pearson

    August 24, 2002 at 11:58 am

    Like both Phill and Tim we never use just water, we always add a drop or two of fairy, I agree with Phill on the surface tension water on its own forms little puddles and causes more problems than it solves. products like rapidtac probably dont act the same as water & fairy as I dont believe they are water based.
    I have to disagree with you a little Tim, you said you didnt think you could cover an 8 x 4 board without fairy, I bet you could if you had to. With your experience of vinyl fitting I’m sure you could do it reasonably easily if you had no choice. Your probably like me, we find it easier to cover large boards with the aid of a little fairy and its easy to correct a mistake should you make one.

  • Andrew Blackett

    August 24, 2002 at 12:01 pm
    quote :

    we find it easier to cover large boards with the aid of a little fairy


    ANDY 😉

  • Robert Lambie

    August 24, 2002 at 3:45 pm

    8×4 of Foamex is not difficult … how many times do we fit vinyl every day…
    Foamex is not a hard surface to apply to. It’s full of microscopic valleys on the surface allowing the air to easily escape. And that’s dry!
    Get a good technique for doing vinyl dry and stick to it… loads do and swear by it… save your self some cash on fancy cleaners and application fluids… water and meths 50/50 for cleaning and dry to apply.
    yeh yeh I know. Maybe its because I do it dry. But ask yourself? Do you want to be applying wet all the time.
    When you look at mike browns work. Its brill I know, but we look and think I want to be able to do work like that..
    It’s something to be working towards & someday if enough practice is put in maybe you will be the next mikethesign. The same should be thought about when applying the vinyls…
    Your guarantee from suppliers is invalid if you use some kind of fluid to apply your vinyls & if it comes off. They will just blame it the adhesion performance…
    Vehicle wraps must never be attempted wet! Why? Because it hampers the “true” performance of the adhesion & the capabilities of the vinyl.
    Anyway, this is “again” just my opinion. I know if it gets the job out and its done well in the end, then why fix what’s not broke. Very true!

  • Martin Pearson

    August 24, 2002 at 8:33 pm

    Rob I dont want to start an arguement but surely its horses for courses, if people are happy to apply their vinyls wet then that should be the end of it. As for suppliers warranties it doesn’t make any difference if the vinyl is applied wet or dry, as long as you have followed the manufactures proceedure. Most vinyl manufacturers give both wet and dry application proceedures.
    Even with wraps some of the vinyl suppliers give both wet and dry proceedures, Hexis and Macfleet both have a wet proceedure. I was taught to do all wraps dry exept for clear so this is what I do but if you read the application instructions for both hexis and macfleet there is a wet proceedure.
    Some people who are new to the sign business reading this might be put off if they think there is no warranty if they use an application aid and most people start applying vinyl in this manor. I dont know that many signmakers because I’m still new to the business myself but all the ones I do know started off applying all their vinyl wet and decreased the nomber of wet applications as their experience and confidence increased.

  • Donnie

    August 24, 2002 at 8:44 pm

    Well I know this is going to sound funny.
    I do a lot of NASCAR graphics, these guys are running at over 200 mph!
    I have found they actually stay applied longer if I do them wet. (with rapid tac fluid). I don’t know if it has an adhesive promoter in it or not , but I have had a lot better results in this case doing it wet.
    On all other signage, I prefer dry also.
    I hope this helps.

  • Robert Lambie

    August 25, 2002 at 7:55 am

    not at all martin.. your welcome to your opinion mate. & to an extent your
    what i mean by the water thing is this. manufacturers will blame the water for being at fault. i know if you said i just did a complete wrap on a taxi cab and it is coming away or won’t stay stretched round the wing at the lights i would just say its the method of application.
    im not sure if you visited amari when mactac where up last year doing the vehicle wrap demo. but the guy paul that did the demo says under no circumstances does he do the wraps wet. and after doing a couple of hundred now with the telewest order and various other vehicles i know exactly what he means.
    like i said:

    quote :

    Anyway, this is “again” just my opinion. I know if it gets the job out and its done well in the end, then why fix what’s not broke. Very true!

    and if you use the wet method & are comfortable with it then thats fine.
    but if you ask my advice this is what ill stress.i dont thnk i would give you the option i think is wroong simply on the grounds of its easier for applying.
    if you have problems with dog earing and vinyl popping back from recessed panels, having applied it wet then the method of application is what i will blame.

    have you applied say a wrap to a vehicle and it has cossed a panel valley?
    did it stay in perfect first time?
    just asking because if it has i will be amazed! 😀 😀

  • Martin Pearson

    August 26, 2002 at 5:13 pm

    I have to agree with you to an extent Robert, I suppose it is a bit of a cop-out to use wet applications just because it is a little easier.
    I don’t do vehicle wraps wet Rob, I was taught to do it dry and this is the way I have been doing them, I just made the point because there is a proceedure for applying the vinyl wet. In fact I dont know anyone who uses water for wraps. I made the comments about the warranties mainly for the people who are new to vinyl, I think everyone starts off with wet applications and if these people think they have to apply everything dry them they might be put off before they have really started. I can’t see a manufacturer blaming the water or application fluid although I could be wrong.

  • Robert Lambie

    August 26, 2002 at 8:52 pm

    No probs martin I think I knew were you where coming from mate. 😉
    You see I think if I let every new comer think it was ok to try “ALL” things wet, only for him or her to end up out of pocket replacing bits that don’t stay stuck. Then in the long run i am not really helping anyone. I think wrapping vehicles can be very tricky. The basics are easily picked up with someone with a few years experience.
    Hence the reason for wrapping a complete taxi is about £1100 labour only…
    Your right though most start out wet and work there way to dry…..

  • Timmy Mallet

    August 27, 2002 at 11:21 am

    Ok I have had the go ahead on two 8×4 signs, I have ordered from europoint Oracal 651 1260mm wide to cover the sheets. The signs are to be used for shows so they are not out in the elements long term.

    So what is the best method to apply the vinyl..

    1… WET
    2… DRY

    Very confused….

    Tim 🙄 (>) (>) (>) (>)

  • Robert Lambie

    August 27, 2002 at 11:30 am

    well tim i reckon being new to this you would be better using a wet application on such a large area.

    its upto you on what you put in the water. if i have to i use water i use a spary bottle and set it to mist..(just water)
    spray the board and apply. better get someone to help you hold up one end while you work your way across it.
    make sure it has plenty overlap hold to trim when finished.

  • Timmy Mallet

    August 27, 2002 at 7:08 pm

    Thanks Rob,

    I’ll think i’ll go down the road of just water.
    I had a chappy come and fit up a sign for my business before I started the vinyl side, he said he always used a water and windowlene soloution to apply vinyl to vehicles. Does any dody else use this method, his reason was that it stopped the streakswhen the water dries out.


  • Phill Fenton

    August 27, 2002 at 9:51 pm

    Mike’s not saying much about this 😉

  • Mike Brown

    August 27, 2002 at 10:04 pm

    haha! 😉

  • Steve Broughton

    August 28, 2002 at 8:56 am

    OK here’s my twopenarth’ 75% water 25% meths (hic! 😀 ) and a splodge of CHEAP!!!! washing up liquid, I don’t use the good stuff ie Fairy for 2 reasons 1 it p*sses off the wife cos i’m always nicking it and 2 the expensive ones contain allsorts of chemical to help break down the fats in yer washing up water therefore cleaning your dishes better 😀 BUT you don’t know what its gonna do to the adhesive on the vinyl so use the CHEAP stuff, last bottle I bought cost 11p from Tesco’s, here endeth the lesson 😎

  • Martin Pearson

    August 28, 2002 at 10:24 pm

    I can’t believe it Robert and I actually agree on something !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I would use a wet application method as well Tim, if you have not done a lot of floodcoating then it is probably the safest method. You could move to a dry application once you gain a bit more experience at floodcoating if you want.
    Make sure the area you are working in is spotlessly clean before you start because once you start to take the backing of a large sheet of vinyl you would be surprised just how much static you generate. Use a very fine spray on the bottle and as Rob says get someone to help you by holding one end of the vinyl as you start to apply from the other. Get your assistant to keep still though if possible to prevent kicking up dust.

  • Phill Fenton

    August 28, 2002 at 10:35 pm

    Ah – but Steve, the cheap stuff’s not as kind to your hands as fairy is. Look at Mikes hands – he’s been using Fairy liquid for years 😆 😆

  • Timmy Mallet

    September 8, 2002 at 7:31 pm

    Ok I have done the signs, it took me Sat and Sun afternoons about 11 hours in all. I used Amari 5mm board and cover it in Green 1240mm Oracal 751,the lettering was done using Cream Oracal 610mm.

    Here are a few pics to show me problems.

    1. I soaked with water the board and vinyl with a garden sprayer as sugested in replies.

    2. I then squegied all the water out and ended up with some small wrinkles

    3. Me with the finished article

    4. The two boards together

    Do wrinkles and bubles disapear in time or is it wise to pin them?

    Thanks for the help guys but I think this project was a bit above my means 🙄

    Timmy….. 😀

  • Phill Fenton

    September 8, 2002 at 9:53 pm

    Tim – A lot of the wrinkles and bubbles you mentioned should dissapear in a day or two.

    Your signs would have looked much better if you had allowed margins around the edges – Ignore it when the customer tells you to make the lettering as big as possible – margins are an essential feature of any sign and the customer needs to be guided by us signmakers. Give him what he wants – an effective sign, not want he thinks he wants 😀

  • Mike Brown

    September 9, 2002 at 10:32 am

    Phill’s right Tim…most of the small wrinkles and bubbles will go of their own accord, specially with a colour like dark Green that heats up quick in the sun.

    The job looks fine. A margin around the edge would have helped with the general presentation but everything else will do fine for a first attempt at a BIG panel!

    Don’t be put off by early setbacks…remember, the person who never makes mistakes – never makes anything!

    Also, don’t forget that ‘foam’ signboard expands and contracts alarmingly in extremes of temperature. You might like to remind the customer that if large panels like these are going to be used outside without a frame then it might be prudent to bond them to a ply backing board to give ’em a bit of rigidity. Without it they will warp in the heat. Using a minimum 10mm thickness of board does reduce movement, particularly with dark colours – that get very hot in full sun!

    Well done anyway!

    more soon

  • Phill Fenton

    September 9, 2002 at 12:33 pm

    As Mike said – Well done.

    I’m sure what you’ve learned with these will carry forward to your next job like this. No job is ever perfect – I can always see ways to improve work we have done after it is completed, so don’t take it personally if someone suggests a way to improve on what you have done (They are only opinions anyway).

    Another way to avoid warping the panels is to use a panatrim type of signframe which allows the panel to expand and contract in the heat. 😀

  • Martin Pearson

    September 9, 2002 at 12:39 pm

    Well done Tim, its not that difficult is it. Next time you get this sort of job you will know how to go about it. Take note of what Phill & Mike have said as margins are so important.
    I like you workbench !!!! Where did you get it as I have never see this style of bench before ?

    Seriously though did you lay a board down on the drums or just put the foamex on it ? If you just worked with the foamex over the drums then you probably didnt have a stable enough surface to work from as 5mm foam bends quite a lot. A ply base over the drums would give you a more solid base to squeegee on.

  • Timmy Mallet

    September 9, 2002 at 7:51 pm

    I made sure that i had a good flat surface on top of the drums, I placed a sheet of 5mm perpex on top which had reinforced edges.


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