Why Paint is Important to a Wrap Shop

Good paint is important for a good wrap.

Why is it such a big deal for your paint to be factory original or the equivalent? Aren’t all paint jobs equal when it comes to supplying a surface suitable for wrapping over? And why are we asking you to sign this waiver that states there’s no warranty for paint older than 5 years old? These are all great questions that you should know the answers to BEFORE wrapping your vehicle.

First things first – not all paint jobs are created equal! A proper paint job must begin with detailed surface prep and quality material. Aftermarket paint jobs aren’t always performed with quality in mind, especially when it’s done at a low price.

Why does this matter with a wrap? If the paint beneath a wrap isn’t of superior quality, there’s a high probability that it will come up with your wrap. The same goes for an aged paint job. Vehicles exposed to the elements for extended spans of time tend to see wearing down of the clear coat and even the original paint. This type of wearing can also cause the adhesive of the vinyl to lift up your paint when removed.

A waiver acknowledging the risk of paint removal is a way of protecting our company. Unfortunately, we can’t seem to find a great wizard who peers into his crystal ball and lets us know if your vehicle has been repainted (though we wish we could!). Since we can’t find him we must rely on you, the client, to let us know the history of your paint so there’s no unexpected surprises when you have your wrap removed. We want to ensure you have all the facts and know what to expect before you wrap with us.

Here’s a great example of the difference factory original paint makes as a suitable wrap surface vs. an area that has received a “touch up” job. This vehicle was unfortunately involved in an accident. The front bumper was straightened out and given a touch up paint job. After all the damage fixes, the owner came to us for a new wrap. After a few years passed, the owner was ready to have their wrap removed. It soon became clear exactly where the paint had been touched up! The vinyl adhesive caused no damage to the factory original paint. Unfortunately, the aftermarket paint pulled right off with the wrap.

Touchup paint pulled up after wrap.

Bottom line: if your vehicle’s paint is already in bad condition when you wrap it, you can expect it to be the same when you un-wrap!

Over time, the bond between the paint and the top, clear coat on the surface of a vehicle deteriorates. When a wrap is installed and removed from paint in this condition, the adhesive of the vinyl grabs onto the top (clear) coat of the vehicle (which is no longer bonded to the paint) and lifts it off in pieces. You can see this in the photos below.

Bad paint makes a bad wrap.

Close up of bad paint after wrap.

No bueno.

Good paint before the wrap eliminates "surprises" at the wrap removal stage

During the removal.

After the wrap removal.

If you’ve been considering wrapping your vehicle but aren’t sure if it has ever been touched up, it is a wise idea to take it to a dealership or trusted body shop for a professional opinion.

Published: 
January 12, 2016