What is post heating? And why it's important for your vehicle graphics

by Deborah Scott on July 10, 2016

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What is post heating?

vehilce_compound_cuves_need_post_heating_vinyl_graphics_Riveting_Wraps.jpgPost heating is one of the final steps in vehicle wraps and graphics installations.  It requires heating the vinyl on the vehicle to a specified temperature to lock in the shape and adhesion of the vinyl to the vehicle's complex shaped surfaces.  This is a very important step you will want to confirm with a vehicle graphics company. 

Once the vinyl graphics have been applied to the entire vehicle there are particular areas that require post heating.  These areas include indentations or recessed areas, compound curves, vinyl edges and overlaps. 

Why is post heating important?

Recessed_Areas_Requiring_Post_Heating_Riveting_Wraps_Bellevue_WA.jpgIn its most simple terms, post heating "locks in" the shape of the vinyl on your vehicle.  Post heating is just as important as using the best material.  Without this step you are not realizing all the beneficial properties your premium vinyls have to offer.  Post heating ensures a durable install and saves you time and money by avoiding the need to fix or reprint failed vinyl.   The adhesive used on premium vehicle wrap vinyls typically takes 24 hours after installation to set.  Once the vinyl is in place the vehicle will likely go through a range of temperatures and it moves from inside to outside or day to night.  These temperature changes cause the vinyl to expand and contract in a way that is not perceptible to the eye, but creates tension on the adhesive between the vehicle surface and back of the vinyl surface.  Heating the vinyl, once in place, to a specified temperature accelerates this "Setting" process and relieves the vinyl from tension caused by future temperature changes. 

Is post heating always necessary?

No.  Post heating is only necessary on on complex curves.  A few examples include bumpers, side mirrors, recesses, indentations, compound curves, rivets and seams.  If your vinyl is being applied on a flat area of your vehicle, like lettering on a door panel, post heating is not required.

There is an alternative to post heating, but it will cause your vehicle to be out of service for a longer period of time.  The adhesive needs 24 hours to set, so some companies may opt to keep your vehicle in their climate controlled garage 24 hours after the installation is complete. 

For the majority of clients, time is money when it comes to their service vehicles.  For that reason, post heating offers the benefits of reliable graphics AND faster turn around.

How do I know if a company is post heating my vinyl wraps and graphics?

post_heating_vehicle_graphics_Riveting_Wraps_Bellevue_WA.jpgThis is a little bit tricky because it is not possible to see whether or not your graphics have been post heated.  We recommend the following:

  1. Ask about post heating practices and policies before you choose your vehicle wrap company.
  2. Look for certified vehicle wrap installers.  They have been trained by the vinyl manufacturers in the best practices for vehicle wrap installation.  This is important as the majority of wrap installers are self taught.  Because this step creates no visual changes, it is a step often skipped by self taught installers.
  3. Work with a vehicle wrap company you trust.  If you have your doubts, listen to your instincts.  The lowest price players may skip post heating to cut time and costs out of their process.  

Quality Only Begins with the Right Materials

New Call-to-actionVehicle wrap companies have learned that many buyers think using the right materials is the only important criteria to evaluate a quality wrap.  And it certainly is an important criteria. But how the material is printed, handled and installed are equally important.  Post heating is an important step in creating a durable long lasting wrap. Learn more getting a high quality wrap.

These vehicle wrap failures can come with a very steep price.  Get the straight facts on vehicle wrapping, contact Riveting Wraps at (425) 368-5007 or email us at hello@rivetingwraps.com. 

Topics: Wrap It Right

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