How to Avoid Bad Window Tinting and Wraps
We all love a perfect window tinting job. It immediately gives the window in question a sleek and sophisticated look, and it can also have practical benefits in addition to the aesthetic ones. Tinted windows can prevent prying eyes from seeing into your vehicle, thus allowing you to maintain your privacy while still being able to look out at others. Car wraps are another aesthetic choice that can transform your car from bland and ordinary to something more exciting. It can be just the thing you need to change up your style every once in a while.
When it comes to tinting your windows or wrapping your car, there are a few different routes available to you. You can always visit a professional establishment and pay them to do the job for you. They’ll almost certainly make sure the job gets done right, but this doesn’t come without its price as well as the inconvenience of involving third parties. Alternatively, you could choose to do the tinting yourself. While this job takes a bit of knowledge and preparation to do properly, it is usually the more cost-effective option as well as the most convenient one.
Despite the fact that DIY-tinting is often your best option, it isn’t without a few potential pitfalls. It’s easy to rush into a job without the right wrap preparation and without knowing the correct techniques. The result of such a scenario could easily be a bad tint job that’s immediately noticeable to anyone passing by. Today, we want to help you avoid this by walking you through our top tips for avoiding a bad window tinting or vinyl wrap job.
How to Avoid Bad a Bad Vinyl Wrap or Window Tint
Sometimes, the difference between bad wrap jobs and good ones is as simple as taking the time to do your homework before you begin. Instead of rushing into your project, take the time to follow these tips. Your future window tinting job will thank you.
1. Choose Quality Wraps and Films
One of the easiest ways to make a mess of a tinting or wrap job is to start off with the wrong materials. A quick Internet search or even a visit to your local craft store will immediately reveal a vast world of vinyl wrapping materials — so many that the thought of choosing can be overwhelming.
While plenty of these vinyl wraps are excellent and will make perfect wrap jobs, it’s best to do your homework about each one. Rather than just grabbing the first type of material you see, take the time to do some research. If you’re buying in person, and there’s a salesperson around, explain your project and ask what they’d recommend. If you’re buying online, read reviews and stories from other customers about their experiences. Make sure the company selling the film is reputable, and that the company that manufactured it has a reputation for creating quality products.
We recommend using Rtint Window Tint Film. This film is sturdy, flexible and able to withstand the natural weathering it’ll encounter during its life on your car. It also provides options when it comes to how you want to apply it. Buy your film in bulk, in either 20- or 40-inch wide rolls, or choose pre-cut options designed to fit particular models of cars.
For vehicle wraps, we have dozens of choices of vinyl film. As with the window tint, you can also find options designed to fit your particular vehicle.
Whatever your project, Rvinyl films will get the job done.
2. Buy Enough Material
It’s essential that you buy the right sort of material for your window tinting or wrap project. Once you’ve selected the right material, however, the next most important concern is that you’ll need to buy enough of it. It’s all too easy to do a rough estimation in your head and assume how much vinyl you’ll need, only to get the vinyl home and realize you don’t have nearly enough.
If you’re planning to buy your vinyl in bulk, then we recommend doing the legwork ahead of time. Grab a measuring tape and head out to your car to measure the areas you want to cover. This will give you a rough idea of how much to order, but we recommend against purchasing exactly the amount dictated by your measurements. Instead, order a little extra.
The reason it’s necessary to order extra is that everyone makes mistakes. Especially if this is a project you’ve never attempted before, the odds that you’ll have a few false steps are very good. Even professionals make mistakes sometimes and need to start over. It’s nothing to be afraid of, but it is something to prepare for by buying extra material. This way, you’ll be ready for any mistakes that come your way.\
3. Gather the Proper Tools
The right way to complete any job is to start by assembling the proper tools. By making sure you have these lined up and ready to go before you begin, you’ll make sure the entire job can go off without a hitch. To apply tint to your vehicle’s windows or wrap to your car's exterior, you will need:
- Window tint or vinyl wrap film
- Scissors or knife, if you bought your vinyl in bulk
- A squeegee, for smoothing the vinyl into place
- Duct tape, for keeping the extra vinyl out of the way as you work
- Soft cleaning rag
- #1 razor
- Soap and water
If you have all these items assembled and prepared, then you should be ready to get started.
4. Make Sure You Have the Right Workspace
The key to a good window tinting or vinyl wrap job is to control as many variables of the process as you can. This means carefully choosing the vinyl, making sure you have enough and taking care to apply the vinyl correctly, but it also means controlling the work environment itself. If you choose the wrong workspace, this can have a significant negative impact on your finished product.
We recommend completing this process indoors. Since you’ll be working on a vehicle, this will likely mean moving your car into the garage or some other similar space that will allow you to work undisturbed and out of the elements. If you work outside, there will be natural factors you can’t control that may cause problems. The sun may cause the adhesive element to be extra sticky, adhering to the window before you're ready, and the wind might cause the thin vinyl to blow out of your hands. The best way to avoid factors like this is to take your project indoors.
Just because you need to work indoors doesn’t mean you have to settle for just any indoor setting, however. You’ll need plenty of light to see what you’re doing. This means choosing a well-lit space or creating one for yourself by setting up all the light fixtures you’ll need to see your work. The room should also be free from any clutter that might hamper your work as you focus on applying your window tint.
If working indoors is not an option due to a lack of available space, then there are some precautions you can take to make an outdoor space work for your purposes. Choose a day where the forecast calls for clear skies, but not too much sun. Make sure it isn’t too windy or humid out, and park your car someplace dry. It’s also wise to start your tinting early enough in the day that you won’t have to worry about losing the light if your project takes longer than expected.
5. Start by Cleaning Your Surface
It doesn’t matter how skilled you are at applying a vinyl tint or wrap. If the surface you’re applying the vinyl to is dirty, smudgy and stained, the vinyl will always look a little bit off at best, and like a total disaster at worst. The good news is that there’s an easy way to fix this. Simply start your project off by giving the surface where you plan to apply the vinyl a thorough cleaning.
Here's the best way to clean for tint preparation:
- First, remove any stickers, adhesives or other decorative items you may have on your windows. This includes bumper stickers and window clings as well as informative items like parking slips. You’ll want to remove these items from both the interior and exterior of your window, as you’ll be cleaning both sides.
- Mix up a solution of soap and water and fill a spray bottle with it. Lower your window slightly so that as you clean your window, you can clean the top of it as well. Spray the soap mixture thoroughly on both sides of the window. If you don’t have a spray bottle, you can also use a cloth to wipe the solution onto the window.
- Run the razor blade gently through the soap, picking up any dirt and muck that may have accumulated there. Repeat this motion over the entire surface, not forgetting to roll the window all the way up to get the bottom.
- Once you’ve finished your cleaning, take a clean dry rag and dry off both sides of the window. Again, be sure to roll the window up and down as needed to be sure you’ve dried all surfaces.
- Avoid using Windex or any cleaners with ammonia, as these will often tint your windows purple.
If you're just cleaning the exterior of your car, use your soap and water solution and a gentle cloth to scrub away at the dirt. Be sure to dry any moisture before moving on to applying the vinyl.
6. Avoid Overstretching Your Vinyl
As you apply your vinyl, you’ll need to stretch the wrap from one side of the space you're covering to the next. In theory, this sounds like a simple enough task, and one that should be impossible to perform incorrectly. The problem, however, stems from the fact that vinyl is very flexible and stretchy, much in the same way as the cling wrap we might use in the kitchen. Because this vinyl is so flexible, it’s very easy to accidentally stretch it farther than it was meant to go, resulting in a bad wrap or tint job.When you overstretch vinyl, you’re placing the material under constant strain. This might not be immediately apparent, but it won’t be long before the material tears, slips or rips. Additionally, pulling the material tightly makes the tinting less effective, and it may look splotchy in places. Where you’ve stretched the material the thinnest, light will pass through the window better and cause an inconsistent toning effect across the window.Avoid this problem by being careful when you stretch the film wrap. Stretch the vinyl out so that it is taut, but don’t pull it past this point. Don’t stretch it to the point where the material is straining. Once you’ve stuck the adhesive to the vehicle's surface, then you can worry about using the squeegee to make sure the material lies entirely flat. For now, just concentrate on keeping the film taut without being strained.
7. Don’t Rush the Job
Tinting your windows or giving your car a new wrap is a job that takes time. While one window of your car will take time and care enough, it’s important to realize that your vehicle has many windows. Tinting them all is no small project, and it will take many hours of careful and methodical work to get the job done correctly. Depending on how much of your car you're wrapping, this too can easily become a big job.The temptation, of course, is to begin by working very slowly and meticulously on the first window, producing your very best work. You also might work fairly carefully on the next window, but by the time you get to the final window, your patience has run out, and you’re hastily applying vinyl every which way. This type of rushed job will be very apparent to passers-by, not only because the last few windows are increasingly sloppy, but because there will be such a contrast between the window you tinted first and the one you tinted last.If you suspect that you might struggle with this exact lack of patience and care, then there are some simple solutions. You might stretch the job out over a few days. Stick to wrapping one or two small sections a day until you've finished the whole vehicle. Additionally, you might try recruiting help for your tinting project. If you gather several volunteers and if each of you works together, the whole vehicle will be finished in no time at all.
8. Allow Proper Curing Time
The vinyl you apply to your car needs time to cure. No matter how excellent your application technique is, you can’t tint your windows or wrap your car and then go driving out in the rain an hour later. Instead, you need to let the film sit and cure. This curing process helps the adhesive stick more firmly, ensuring a longer-lasting tint or wrap that won’t become damaged by things like rain or excessive sun.The exact length of curing time required will vary from one vinyl to the next. For the precise time yours requires, refer to the packaging or the informational materials that came with the vinyl. If no information is immediately apparent, it’s worth asking the salesperson when you’re shopping in person or contacting the company to ask if you’re buying online.
Begin Your Wrapping or Tinting Project Today
Are you ready to begin the process of tinting your windows or sprucing up your car with a new wrap job? By following tips like these, you ensure that you’re already on the road to an excellent tinting job. But the very best tint jobs start with purchasing the highest quality film. If you’re in the market for vinyl wraps or tints, then we invite you to browse our selection at Rvinyl, where we’re proud to carry nothing but the best. For any additional questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out and contact us.