Overlaminate may seem like an afterthought compared to deciding the primary elements of your graphic such as color, materials, and design. While it is a finishing touch, it is a very important one to consider.
An overlaminate will prolong the life of your graphic and protect it from weathering, UV rays, damage, and scratches.
Types of Overlaminate Materials
The main types of overlaminate materials are cast, monomeric, or polymeric vinyl. Depending on the type of graphic you have chosen, one of these three will be the best option. Keep in mind that the substrate (the layer under the overlaminate) dictates the material for the overlaminate.
It is possible to mix materials in some cases. A better quality overlaminate can be used with a lesser quality substrate. However, the opposite is not true. A cast vinyl cannot be combined with a polymeric or monomeric overlaminate because it can cause edge curl or shrinkage. Cast vinyl must be paired with a cast overlaminate.
Think about the type, location, and use of the graphic.
Will it be a floor graphic, a sign, or car wraparound?
Is the image 2D or 3D?
This will help to decide with type of overlaminate material that is required.
For 2D graphics including signs, interior walls, or displays, a standard polymeric overlaminate is recommended. With 3D graphics, a cast overlaminate should be used. There is more of a stretch of the material with 3D applications, and any other type of material will not work correctly.
Cast vinyl and cast overlaminate are the most long-lasting combination of the materials available for graphics. While the cost is higher with the cast materials, the durability and stability are better. Over time this cost difference will pay off with a longer-lasting sign, floor graphics, or mural, especially those that are placed in outdoor spaces. Cast overlaminates can also have several types of finishes, including glossy, satin, matte, or luster to match the desired appearance of the project.
Overlaminates are an important finishing touch for any type of graphics or signs. Protect your investment with a quality overlaminate that will stand the test of weather, wear, and time.
There are several types of overlaminates to choose from, so consider the use, placement, and look that you’d like as you discuss the options with your vendor or graphic designer.