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Wrapping with Textured Film

Textured films can shine but care should be taken when using them

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Textured films are not new to the wraps world, but manufacturers continue to improve upon the technology. Today many film manufacturers have developed their own textured film product lines specifically targeting the wraps market.

  • Film Properties-For the most part, the films used today for the vehicle wrap market are cast films, and this holds true for textured wrap films as well. The term “cast” refers to the manufacturing process. Cast films are typically very thin, which helps with the conformability of the product. Textured films, however, end up being thicker, ranging from about 3.5 mil up to about 11 mil thick, depending on its texture, color, and the manufacturer. The thicker the film, the less conformable it will be. Installers should make sure the film they’re working with fits with the application they have planned for it.
     
  • Finishes and Colors-Textured films come in a wide range of finishes and colors. Carbon fiber and brushed metal finishes are the most common and readily available from each of the manufacturers mentioned previously. Carbon fiber film is most widely available in white and black while the most popular color among the brushed metal finishes is silver. Other carbon fiber colors include a variety and the film is even available in clear for using as an overlaminate.
    Many companies offer a range of additional textured finishes beyond the two mentioned, in styles such as alligator, honeycomb and leather.
    Textured films can be used for full wraps; however, this may not always be the most visually appealing look. According to Martin Kugler, corporate communications manager for Hexis, “Visually daring textures are best for partial wraps or accents.”
    Applications with textured films are not limited to automotive wraps; they can look great on items such as tablets, mobile phone cases or even certain household appliances.
     
  • Installation Tips-Care must be taken when heating and reheating the textured films. With textured films it is recommended to use a heat gun instead of a torch. A torch can heat the film too quickly and allow the film to be over stretched and thus distort the pattern. It can also permanently alter the appearance of the finish.
    Proper stretching and heating of the film are essential to avoid creating visual imperfections. Stretching the film in large sections can help avoid or minimize these problems, and using even tension when stretching is important. Additionally, some finishes are easily scratched so it is a good idea to wear wrap gloves and use a buffer on the squeegee when working the film.
    When lining up film panels, do not use a grease pencil on textured films, as the mark it leaves can easily get embedded in the film’s texture. Instead, use masking tape.
    And note that textured films may get dirtier easier than smooth or gloss films, therefore requiring more frequent cleaning. Textured films should also be protected from the elements whenever possible.
     
  • Durability-It is important to note that films applied to a vertical portion of the vehicle have a different durability than the non-vertical and horizontal areas. The definition of these surfaces is fairly standard among the manufacturers. The definition of vertical exposure would be ± 10° of vertical; a non-vertical exposure in an application would be where a film is applied to a surface that is 10-45° from vertical. Please refer to the film manufacturer’s technical data sheet or warranty for specifics.
     
  • Film Specs-In addition to the thickness variance, it is important to note that each manufacturer has their own special technology used to manufacture the textured films. It’s important to pay attention to each films’ manufacturer’s specs and installation guidelines.

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tony kindelspire oct21

Tony Kindelspire

Tony Kindelspire is digital content editor of Sign & Digital Graphics & WRAPS magazines.

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