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Larry Housell of Rialta Graphics offers some tips for keeping RV graphics in good condition and for removing old graphics.
The care of decals is simple, keep wax and cleaning agents away from the edges.
When washing the decal dry the edges of the decals as the adhesive tends to fail by reacting with other chemicals.
Use a UV protecter on the face of the decal, I use a small, foam brush and spray the brush and wipe the decal trying to stay close to the edge.
There are basically two types of Vinyl used to make decals:
Calendared has a 3 -5 Year Life span
Cast has a 5-9 Year Life span
The cast vinyl will cost more of course but almost always worth the extra expense.
A large number of Decals used on RV’s are printed using a solvent based ink, and most times have a UV shield installed. These normally have a white border. Some decals are silk screened using permanent inks.
The cost of replacing decals can be high. Design time adds a lot to the cost for example if the decal does not use a standard font. In addition the number of decals ordered has an impact on the cost, the more you order the cheaper each one should be.
If the time comes you have to remove a decal, do not use a heat gun. A heat gun would be too hot. Use a hair dryer on low setting and don’t get too close to the decal . The idea is to soften the adhesive, then use an old credit card to slide under the edge and work in under the decal softly.
I recommend an orange-oil based cleaner to remove the residual adhesive.
Before applying a new decal use a soft cloth and rubbing alcohol (Isopropyl) to remove any residue. Then wash and allow the area to dry. You may want to use the wet application technique depending on the complexity of the new decal design.
A sign shop that produces vinyl decals might be able to provide a small amount of vinyl sealer which when applied will help prevent the decal from peeling.