Best Practice For Wall Graphics

With the growing trend in interior decor, I get a lot of customers looking for options for pressure sensitive wall graphic materials. Product installation failures occur due to a range of factors, including the wrong choice of materials, improper surface preparation, applying graphics too soon after painting and poor installation. More often then not, however, for the majority of failures, it comes down to the type of paint already on the walls. Material choice, preparation and testing are all keys to success. Proper wall preparation ensures the surface will be wall covering-ready and your graphics will adhere correctly.

Step #1: It is important to minimize defects, so they will not impact or detract from the application. Remove any stickers, flaked paint or wall paper before applying wall graphics. Remove picture hooks, light fixtures, switch plates and outlet plates also.

Step #2: If the wall has recently been painted, then allow 10 days before applying the wall graphics.

Step #3: Clean the wall with a mild soap solution.a

Step #4: Dry the wall with a lint free cloth.

Note: Self adhesive materials will stick to the first thing they meet. If that happens to be a dirty hand or surface, then they will stick to the dirt first, resulting in a poor bond and possible graphic failure. Dust, dirt, moisture and oils from your hands will diminish the life of the adhesive, so I don't recommend frequent removal and replacement of graphics.

Step #5: Use a measuring tape to place your wall graphics in the appropriate position. Use painter's masking tape to tape the wall graphic in place. If you are doing a larger wall graphic with pieces, do a dry layout and position all the pieces in place before starting to apply them.

Step #6: For small wall graphics run the painter's masking tape along the top of it. Then flip the decal up and to the top of the wall exposing the backing tape. Then carefully remove the backing tape. Then let the wall graphic fall down but do not let it touch the wall yet. Start at the top with a squeege or your hand and smoothly push the decal downwards to the wall.

Step #7: For large wall graphics start at the top of the wall and only pull about 12" of the backing paper off it. Then using a squeege or your hand, starting at the top of the wall graphic in a downward motion, start gradually applying the wall graphic to the wall all the way to the bottom. 

Step #8: Some wall graphics may have application tape on top of it which must be removed. Start at the top corner and pull the application tape off slowly at a 45 degree angle, pulling it straight back flat against the wall graphic. After removing the application tape, go over the wall graphic with your squeege or hand.

Step #9: Pat yourself on the back, you did it! Congratulations!