Home » Blog » Vehicle Advertising Wraps & Graphics » Best Paint Conditions for Vehicle Wraps: Our Answers to Your FAQs!

Best Paint Conditions for Vehicle Wraps: Our Answers to Your FAQs!

So you’re ready to work with a reputable wrap company to install a new vinyl wrap on your commercial vehicle, but the vehicle’s paint job is looking a little rough. What do you do? We’re here to help with answers to some of the most common questions we receive about acceptable paint conditions for vehicle wraps.

Clear Coat Failure

Clear coat failure is a common issue. Unfortunately, we can’t apply vinyl when the paint is in this condition. Photo Credit: detailxperts.com

We received the following questions from people who read our popular blog article: The Worst Paint Conditions for the Perfect Vehicle Wrap. We’ve also included our replies:

Do I Really Need a New Paint Job?

Q: My vinyl wrap consultant told me I’d have to repaint my van if I want a full vinyl wrap because the van is over 7 years old (2006 Ford Econoline E350). However the paint is not damaged. No peeling or rust except for a 2 inch spot above the driver window door where an object struck it on the freeway last week. Why is it necessary for a new paint job? Would it not work to just repair the chipped paint at the window rather than painting the entire van ($$$$)?

A: While we’re not there in person to evaluate it, there might be some reason the wrap consultant is suggesting that you repaint your van. From your description, it sounds like the paint is in good enough condition to wrap, but if it is oxidized and “chalky,” that’s not a good surface for vinyl. That kind of condition could possibly be buffed out. We would suggest a 2nd (local) opinion to be sure!

Paint Oxidation

This is an example of paint oxidation. When touched, the paint can feel chalky and may even come off on your hands. Photo Credit: meguiarsonline.com

Q: I have an E150 van that definitely needs some bodywork. If I get it prepped for paint but do a wrap instead, would that work?

A: We would highly recommend having your truck professionally painted prior to having it wrapped. Also, once it has been painted, our shop policy requires an additional eight weeks to give the paint time to cure. If you choose to only have it primed, we would require it to be professionally finished to receive paint. That would mean having it sanded to the best quality possible. Otherwise, poorly sanded areas would be visible beneath the wrap. The “slicker” the surface, the better the adhesion.

Q: I’m thinking of wrapping my boat rather than repainting. The paint is mostly in great condition, but there are a few areas where it has been touched up, which I’m sure will show through the vinyl. I think the solution is to sand the whole surface smooth again. To get the best adhesion, how fine a grit do I need to work down to?

A: We’re not big fans of wrapping on sanded surfaces EXCEPT when the surface is away from edges or obstacles where the vinyl might lift. When you have a nice “slick” finish to adhere to, it gives you a great seal to keep out water, dirt and anything that might work its way through the grooves that sanding leaves. If you do sand, we suggest using at least 1,000 or even 2,000 grit. We only sand where needed and with good transitions between the sanded and unsanded areas.

What If I Only Have Minor Road Chips?

Minor Paint Chips

Minor paint chips shouldn’t be a problem unless they’re rusty. Touch-up paint and a little sanding can help! Photo Credit: roadandtrack.com

Q: I have a car that I wish to wrap. Paint is very good except for some small chips in the paint around the nose and hood… Small chips the largest about 1\16”. Can the chips be filled? With touch up? Or even sanded with fine paper? The car will one day be repainted but a wrap will allow me to hold off on that for a while… Ideas?

A: The minor chips you’ve mentioned are not a major issue. If left unattended, they might show a slight indentation in the wrap, but otherwise should not be a problem unless they’ve started to rust. Either way, the problem can usually be solved by using a touch-up paint pen carefully applied to fill the chips. If they’re still unlevel or “domed”, tape the surrounding area and sand with 1,000 grit sandpaper until level with the surrounding paint. Once the surface area is clean and level, your vehicle should be ready to wrap.

Will a Matte Finish Work?

Q: I have a vehicle that was painted within the last year but it is a matte finish. Will a wrap stick to it or would I have to strip it and paint it with a gloss smooth finish?

A: A vinyl wrap should stick to your newly painted matte finish with no issues, but we recommend a test piece of vinyl be applied to a small, inconspicuous area first just to be sure.

As you can see, many people think a vinyl wrap can be a good alternative to a new paint job. However, vinyl is designed to adhere to original (OEM) or like new/very good quality condition paint.

If you’re still unsure about the condition of your vehicle’s paint for a vinyl wrap installation, we’re here to help! You’re welcome to visit our shop for a free evaluation. We have years of experience in the installation of vehicle wraps and can tell very quickly whether your vehicle’s surface is in a suitable condition for the application of vinyl.

Want to know more about vehicle wraps? Read this blog article: Top 5 Most Frequently Asked Questions about Vehicle Wraps.

To get your vinyl wrap project started, give us a call at (615) 595-6564 or click on the button below.

Click here for a free consultation and estimate on your vehicle wraps!

In addition to vehicle wraps, we also offer custom lobby & logo signage, wall murals, window graphics, branded interiors, architectural displays and custom projects. We’re located in Franklin, but we serve all of Middle Tennessee, including Nashville, Brentwood, Lebanon, Murfreesboro, Columbia and Spring Hill. We look forward to working with you!