Vinyl Application to Wood Panels

Vinyl application to stained and varnished wood can be problematic, if the panel is not prepared properly. Some factory-finished panels have a slightly stippled textured, which can interfere with the adhesive making complete contact with the substrate.

Highly textured wood grains can compound this problem. While finished woods, such as pine, tend to have a smooth finish, others, such as oak, have a rough grain. Clear coating a wood panel with a rough grain or slight texture can provide a smooth surface, which will ensure that the adhesive will make complete contact with the substrate so the graphics are securely installed.
To prepare wood panels before you apply vinyl graphics, take the following steps:
  • Before sanding, wipe the surface down with isopropyl alcohol (IPA).
  • To ensure that the surface is perfectly smooth, lightly sand the panel with 600-grit sand paper.
  • After sanding, wipe the panel with a tack rag.
  • Before application of the graphics, coat the sanded panel with a clear coat, such as Butch “Superfrog” Anton’s Frog Juice.
  • When the clear coat is thoroughly cured, apply the graphics. Curing time can vary depending on ambient temperature and humidity. Most clear coats are cured and ready for vinyl application after 24 hours.
  • After removing the application tape, remember to resqueegee the entire graphic. This is an important step, which can prevent edge lift.
  • Following the application, edge seal the graphic. Better yet, clear coat the entire graphic. Clear coating not only provides protection from the degrading effects of sunlight, but also creates a barrier that prevents damage to the graphic from abrasion and chemicals.

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