Heat is an essential source for vinyl film installation. There are generally four primary heaters that installers will use for wrapping projects: a propane torch, heat gun, IR heater, and steamer. But do you know the pros and cons of all of them? Understanding them well can help you choose wisely and accordingly for your wrap job and make the best of it. Here is a complete profile for you regarding this:
A propane torch brings many benefits to a vinyl wrapping project. First of all, it is highly mobile. You can grab it and go. When you are wrapping on location, there is no need for electricity.
Secondly, it brings the temperature of the material up quickly. The head of a propane torch is changeable. You can adjust the heat by changing it to a wider one. The wider the head is, the softer the heat you have.
When installing, it is better to use a wider one and control the temperature when applying. But a narrow one, which brings heavy heat, can be suitable for removal, as it can soften the adhesive quickly and make the process smoother.
Challenge: Find the balance
However, there is a negative about a propane torch. It does brings high heat, and heat the vinyl wrap film quickly, but it also cools down quickly. Thus, it can be challenging to heat the material thoroughly with it.
The tricky thing is that you cannot focus on one area for too long because the propane might burn the film. So you have to find a balance to achieve the best result when using it. Because of this reason, you should NOT use a propane torch for post-heating, which is also a negative about it.
A heat gun can be more expensive than a propane torch. The price points vary depending on the type. But there are many advantages to it.
Dry out quickly
For instance, if you want to speed up the drying process of a washed vehicle, a heat gun can be a great help. With its heat and air coming out simultaneously, moisture will get out easily, especially underneath the gaps you can hardly reach.
A heat gun provides gentle heat widely, which is excellent for thoroughly heating the vinyl wrap film. And unlike a propane torch, even if you linger at one point for a long time, there is a low chance that the material will burn.
Thus, it is safer for the material to this extent, whether for installation or removal. With the soft heat, a heat gun can be a great help in the film’s self-healing process as well.
Although a propane torch brings high heat, it cools down quickly. Thus, it is safe to grab it. However, it is a different case for a heat gun. Its tip will become very hot as you use it. So it is dangerous if you or the vinyl accidentally touch it. If the material touches the tip of a heat gun, it will melt and burn.
You will usually need an extension cord for a heat gun because it requires electricity. Thus, it has low mobility. If you need to wrap on location and there is no electricity, and a heat gun is your only heater, you will end up with no heat.
An IR heater is beneficial for car wrapping. It is expensive, but also worthy in many ways. There are generally two types of them: a hand-held and a stationary one.
Great help for solo installers
If you often wrap solo, an IR heater with a stand can be super helpful. You can just turn it on, hold the vinyl wrap film with two hands instead of one, and let it heat for you, which can soften the material well.
Adequate heat for multi-layered film
An IR heater is effective for multi-layered vinyl film, as it brings the heat right through the material and makes the wrap more conformable. The heat is high, so you must keep it away from the material for around 12 to 13 inches and gently move it around.
Excellent in all aspects
It is excellent for both installation and removal. You can even use an IR heater to post-heat in sections. The heat will help the adhesive flow and bring the durability you need.
Here comes the last one: steamer. A steamer is also a great heat source in many ways.
Speed up the cleaning process
When you prep and clean a vehicle before installing a vinyl wrap film, you might encounter stubborn adhesive residue. Steam can help you soften those and get them off quickly without using harsh chemicals.
Heat and stretch simultaneously
A steamer is effective for a multi-layered film like an IR heater. But the great thing about it is that you can steam and stretch the material simultaneously. The heat will not get too hot, so there is no need to worry about overstretching the vinyl.
Great help for PPF or tint removal
A steamer is perfect for removing a paint protection film or tint, as it softens the adhesive and keeps it on the PPF side without sticking on the car. Thus, it will make the removal much more smoothly.
Steam to care
You can use a steamer for aftercare as well. The steam can help you get rid of stubborn dirt on the film. For unlaminated chrome vinyl film, it can even take away scratches. Learn more from our previous article Take the scratches away.
Be aware of moisture
The only thing you should concern about using a steamer is the moisture. You need to ensure it does not get underneath the vinyl wrap film, or it will cause it to lift over time.
So these are the critical information about the four primary heat sources. Comment and share which one is your favorite and why? Learn more about car wrapping at teckwrap.com