Best Practices for Installing Wall Graphics
With the growing trend in bespoke interior decor, we get a lot of customers looking for options for pressure sensitive wall graphic materials. What is often not included in this decision making process are the exact details of what the ultimate end-user of the product will be sticking the chosen product to.
Most product installation failures occur due to a range of factors including; improper surface cleaning and poor installation tactics, but more often than not – it comes down to the type of paint already on the walls.
We get asked which paint to use, or if we can suggest a “fool proof” product. The long and short of it is that there is no easy answer. It is not possible to recommend a single brand of paint, as experience has shown that nothing is fool proof. Preparation and testing are the keys to success!
- Low VOC & scrubbable paints
- Insufficient dry time between painting and the application of graphics — It is best to allow at least 7-10 days for curing and off gassing of freshly painted walls and more so if the drywall is new.
- Walls that aren’t properly prepared or cleaned. Find our recommended guidelines here
- Poor installation methods
- Installing without overlapping edges (product dependent)
Low VOC & Scrubbable Paints
New low-volatile organic compounds (VOC) and scrubbable paints contain a host of chemicals, including silicone, that make the painted surface more resistant and easier to clean without affecting the paint layer. These chemicals resist dirt, crayon, food and smudges — but also adhesives! The result is that graphics go up and then shortly thereafter, suffer from noticeable edge curling or completely fall off the walls! This is not the fault of the adhesive — it is the paint.
What can be recommended to eliminate risk, is that customer purchase a 3M Wall Test Kit and test the wall for adhesion before applying wall graphics. Although testing may not always seem feasible, it will take less time and money to test the walls first, than it will to reinstall the complete job.
If your walls are painted and fail adhesion tests, then what can assist is the use of a wallpaper primer. A fast-drying, clear wall primer layer can be applied to create a barrier between paint and adhesive, which can increase the likelihood of success. Possible brands can include Shieldz, Kilz and Roman-Pro-909.