Vinyl vehicle wraps have become incredibly popular in today's world of the automobile industry. They provide a more affordable option for conventional paint treatments since they may completely change a car's appearance. Although there are many different kinds of vinyl vehicle wraps, calendered and cast films are the two main divisions.
Many novice or inexperienced installers may need to recognize the difference between cast and calendered films when selecting a seller or brand of film. Some installers will wrap with whatever they can get their hands on, but customers should care about this choice because vinyl materials vary in quality, durability, and life span. Knowing the difference has become vital due to the online market being flooded with off-brand and or China films being marketed as a material used for vinyl car wraps.
What are Calendered Films?
Calendered films are created by pressing a mixture of PVC, plasticizers, and other additives into a sheet. The vinyl is heated and forced through rollers to attain a consistent thickness. These films typically have a more complex finish and are less conformable than cast films. Additionally, they are harder to work with and are known for shrinkage.
Benefits of Calendered Films
- Cost-effectiveness: Calendered films are generally more affordable than cast films, making them a popular choice for budget-conscious consumers.
- Variety of Colors and Finishes: Calendered films offer a wide range of color options and finishes, allowing you to customize your vehicle according to your preferences.
Uses of Calendered Films
- Vehicle Wrapping: Calendered films are commonly used for full or partial vehicle wraps, allowing car owners to change their vehicle's appearance without needing an expensive paint job.
- Signage and Graphics: These films are also used for creating signage, banners, and graphics for advertising purposes.
- Architectural Applications: Calendered films find applications in architectural settings, such as covering windows, walls, and furniture.
What are Cast films?
Cast films are created by pouring the PVC mixture onto a casting sheet, letting it cool, and forming it into a film. Cast films are also referred to as premium vinyl films. As a result of this process, the film is more stretchable and conformable, which makes it simpler to wrap ridges and curves on cars and other objects. Also, cast films are much easier to use and have a softer finish.
Benefits of Cast Films
- Superior Conformability: Cast films have excellent conformability, allowing them to adhere smoothly to complex curves, contours, and recessed areas of a vehicle, resulting in a seamless and paint-like finish.
- High-Quality Finish: Cast films provide a glossy and high-quality appearance, giving your vehicle a premium look.
- Longevity and UV Stability: These films are known for their long-term durability and resistance to UV rays, ensuring the colors stay vibrant and the film remains intact over time.
- Resistance to Shrinkage and Lifting: Cast films have minimal shrinkage and lifting tendencies, ensuring a secure and long-lasting bond to the vehicle's surface.
Uses of Cast Films
- Vehicle Wrapping: Cast films are widely used for professional vehicle wraps, particularly for high-end and luxury cars, where a flawless finish is desired.
- Marine Applications: Due to their resistance to water, salt, and sunlight, cast films are popularly used for boat wraps, protecting and enhancing their appearance.
- Outdoor Advertising: Cast films are commonly employed in outdoor advertising campaigns, where high-resolution graphics and vibrant colors are essential to attract attention.
Calendered vs. Cast Films
Calendered and Chinese films are frequently less expensive and of lower quality than premium cast vinyl wraps. Over time, they tend to contract, shrink, crack and curl, which reduces their durability and hinders performance. They work well for flat surfaces or applications that do not require much contouring because they are less stretchy and less likely to tear.
On the other hand, premium cast vinyl wrap is more robust and long-lasting, providing better resistance against fading and weathering and better conformability for wrapping complex surfaces. Compared to calendered films, cast films are more powerful. However, cast films typically cost more due to the higher caliber of the production.
Calendered film is more difficult to remove than cast vinyl film. Cast vinyl can be removed relatively quickly, but calendered vinyl can be challenging if it is not heated sufficiently. Cast vinyl is more stretchable and flexible than calendered vinyl.
While calendered films are less durable but more affordable, premium vinyl may cost more however, you will save time and money in the long run due to its superior quality and longevity. Calendered films will work fine during installation if you work on a straightforward, flat surface with few to no curves, like a trailer or sign. Cast films are the choice to pick if you're wrapping a car or anything else with curves and complicated surfaces. The added conformability and stretchability make for easier installation and a better-finished product.
Cast vinyl films come in various finishes and colors and are offered by well-known companies like 3M, Avery Dennison, Hexis, KPMF, Orafol, and Metro Wrap. Compared to other Chinese wrap products from VVivid, Teckwrap, VinylFrog, and others, premium vinyl films from significant brands are of higher quality. Many companies deceive the consumer by marketing calendered films as durable, premium vinyl, similar to cast premium vinyl but at a lower cost. Calendered film manufacturers misrepresent their products as being high-quality vinyl wraps. Remember that major brands do not offer cool rainbow colors, ultra gloss colors, and cheaper chrome materials because these pigments need to pass quality control. Cast films have better quality control and are more consistent.
Click the link to read about the Best Cast Vinyl Wraps
What should I wrap my vehicle with?A must-have for vehicle wraps is cast vinyl. Calendered films have a hard time wrapping around complex curves and may only last for a short time, leading to a need for frequent replacement. In these applications, cast films can offer better performance and durability. Premium vinyl wraps provide finish options, including matte, gloss, satin, metallic, carbon fiber, and brushed metal.
For a vinyl wrap project to be successful and last, it is crucial to do your research and spend money on high-quality materials. Calendered films may be alluring due to their lower cost and cool colors, but premium cast vinyl provides better performance and durability over time.