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How to Vinyl Wrap a Pontoon: A Step-by-Step Guide with Tips and Tricks

Wrapping a pontoon in vinyl can be a great way to protect and beautify your boat. It can add a personal touch and extend the lifespan of your boat's exterior. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to do it:

1. Selecting Your Vinyl Wrap

As discussed before, there are many high-quality vinyl wrap options available, including Avery Dennison SW900, 3M 2080, Rwraps, and ORAFOL 970RA. Your choice will depend on factors like the texture of your pontoon's surface, the wrap's durability, and your personal aesthetic preferences.

Among many options available in the market, the Avery Dennison SW900, 3M 2080, Rwraps, and ORAFOL 970RA films stand out as excellent choices.

Avery Dennison SW900

Avery Dennison SW900 is designed with a variety of surfaces in mind. Its adhesive technology allows the film to stick well to lightly textured surfaces, such as ribbed fencing panels. The SW900 series is engineered with patented Easy Apply RS adhesive technology, which makes the application easier and reduces the incidence of bubbles and wrinkles.

However, the surface preparation before application is crucial. Make sure to clean the surface thoroughly to remove any dirt, oil, or grime, ensuring the adhesive will stick properly. If the texture is too aggressive, it may be more challenging for the film to adhere properly and might reduce the lifespan of the wrap.

3M 2080

The 3M 2080 film series is well-known for its durability, conformability, and versatile application. The updated adhesive allows for the film to be repositioned before it sets, making it an easier install for do-it-yourself enthusiasts.

One downside is that it might struggle with more intense textures. However, the 3M 2080 series is a great option if you're looking for a vinyl wrap with a high gloss finish, a wide range of color options, and excellent durability. If the texture of the surface is intense, consider using an adhesive promoter, which can help the vinyl form a stronger bond with the substrate.


Rwraps are specifically designed to conform to a range of different surfaces, and they boast a range of designs. This makes them suitable for textured and ribbed surfaces like your pontoon fencing panels. They offer a good balance between conformability, durability, and affordability, making them a popular choice among many boat owners.

Nonetheless, like other wraps, the effectiveness of the wrap will depend on the extent of the texture on your panels. Heavily textured surfaces might pose a challenge even for this versatile wrap.


ORAFOL 970RA Premium Wrapping Cast Film is an industry favorite due to its high performance in terms of conformability and durability. It comes with a built-in protective clear coat layer which gives it a high gloss finish and enhanced protection against UV light, salt water, and other maritime conditions.

This film comes with ORAFOL’s RapidAir Technology which is a pattern printed on the adhesive that enables easy bubble free application. Even though ORAFOL 970RA films are designed to be highly conformable, they may have a hard time adhering to intensely textured surfaces, but will work well on lightly textured ones.

2. Measure Your Boat

Measure the areas you want to cover accurately. This will ensure you buy the right amount of wrap, helping you avoid waste or shortages. Remember, it's better to have a bit more wrap than you need than to run out in the middle of the project.

3. Cleaning the Surface

Proper cleaning is crucial for the vinyl wrap to adhere effectively. Remove any dirt, grime, or algae using a pressure washer or a soft cloth with a gentle cleanser. Once cleaned, the surface should be dried thoroughly. For textured surfaces, consider using a brush to ensure you remove dirt from all crevices.

4. Apply a Primer

If your pontoon has a highly textured or ribbed surface, consider using a primer or an adhesive promoter to enhance the vinyl's grip. It's an optional step, but it could make a big difference in how well the vinyl sticks and how long it lasts.

5. Cut and Apply the Vinyl Wrap

Unroll your vinyl wrap and cut it to fit the measured areas, ensuring that you leave some excess to accommodate for errors. Peel the backing off the vinyl, then apply it to the surface of your pontoon, smoothing it out as you go to avoid bubbles and wrinkles. Use a squeegee or similar tool to ensure the vinyl is applied smoothly and to force any air bubbles to the edge.

6. Apply Heat

As you apply the vinyl, you'll likely need to use a heat gun or hair dryer to soften it, making it more flexible and easier to work with, especially around corners and over textured surfaces. Remember not to overheat the vinyl, as it can stretch or deform.

7. Trim Excess

Once the vinyl is applied and smoothed out, use a sharp utility knife to trim

any excess. Be careful not to cut too deep, as you could scratch your pontoon's original surface underneath.

8. Post-Heating

After the wrap is applied and trimmed, apply heat again. This process, called post-heating, helps the vinyl adhesive bond more securely to the pontoon's surface. It's particularly crucial for textured and ribbed surfaces.

9. Maintenance

Keep your newly wrapped pontoon clean and try to avoid any abrasive cleaning tools that may scratch or damage the vinyl.

Tips and Tricks

  • Temperature Matters: Try to work in moderate temperatures. Extreme cold can make the vinyl stiff and unmanageable, while extreme heat can make it too soft and stretchy.
  • Patience is Key: Rushing can lead to bubbles, wrinkles, and poor adhesion. Take your time and pay attention to details for the best result.
  • Less is More: When using a heat gun, less is more. Overheating the vinyl can lead to stretching and distortion.
  • Work in Sections: Instead of trying to wrap large areas all at once, consider working in smaller sections. It's easier and often leads to better results.

With these steps, tips, and tricks in mind, you're ready to start your pontoon wrapping project. The process requires patience and attention to detail, but with the right approach, you can achieve a professional-looking finish that both protects and enhances your boat's appearance.

Wrapping It Up

When choosing the right wrap for your pontoon boat, consider the level of texture on the surface of your fencing panels, and how it might affect the wrap's adhesion. Avery Dennison SW900, 3M 2080, Rwraps, and ORAFOL 970RA all offer their unique strengths, and any of these films can be a great choice.

The key is to properly prepare your surface before application, perhaps consider a primer or an adhesive promoter for heavily textured surfaces, and always follow the manufacturer's instructions for the best result. A beautifully wrapped boat not only enhances the aesthetics but also provides an extra layer of protection to your prized possession.

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