Preventing Adhesive Failure And Making Your Paint Protection Film Installs A Breeze

Preventing Adhesive Failure And Making Your Paint Protection Film Installs A Breeze

Adhesive problems can lower the quality of your paint protection film installation and can turn an otherwise smooth installation into a frustrating ordeal. We’ll discuss what causes adhesive failure and lay out simple steps to avoid these problems.

Three main problems can result in the film not sticking to the surface:

  • Handling the film needlessly
  • Improper solution mixtures
  • Lack of prep for the surface

Handling The Film Needlessly

The adhesive used on paint protection films is generally pressure sensitive and needs to be handled with care. While you can touch the adhesive, unlike window protection films, you must remember not to handle the adhesive needlessly. An important rule needs to be remembered: the more you touch the adhesive, the less it will want to stick. You may not realize the amount of oils your fingertips have and each time you touch the adhesive, you run the potential of transferring oil onto the adhesive. So here’s what you can do about this…

Before the application, it is important to wash your hands thoroughly with soap to get rid of excess oil, dirt, and debris. Next, you can take an extra step and spray your alcohol solution onto your fingertips while rubbing them together. You should always keep your fingers wet while handling the paint protection film.

One thing I see a lot of people do is after they have laid an area of paint protection film down with the squeegee, if they need to lift that area back up, they lift the film without spraying. If the area has been squeegeed, then the adhesive is dry and they are touching the adhesive with dry fingertips – a sure way to cause adhesive failure.

Improper Solution Mixtures

Your soap solution and alcohol solutions can also result in adhesive problems if they’re not mixed correctly. If you have too much soap in your solution, the soap can embed itself onto the adhesive and can be very difficult to remove, resulting in adhesive failure. It is easier to start with 2-3 small drops of baby shampoo and then add more if necessary. Of course, you can always add more soap but you cannot remove the soap remove once you have sprayed the adhesive.

Your alcohol solution can also be a huge problem if not mixed correctly. Most people think using straight alcohol makes the paint protection film adhere rather quickly. In most cases, this is just the opposite. The alcohol is used to flush the soap away or can be used to apply a small piece very quickly. If the alcohol is too concentrated, this may result in adhesive failure. The alcohol should be mixed at approximately 60-70% water and 40-30% alcohol using a 70% isopropyl. *Different paint protection films may require a different mixture and you should consult with your manufacturer before application.*

Lack of Prep for the Surface

Prepping the surface properly will help to expedite the paint protection film installation and make the whole process run smoothly. We recommend a general purpose adhesive cleaner that is safe for the painted surface; mineral spirits will do also. Use this prepping agent ONLY on the edges of the vehicle and deep/sharp valleys where the film will be applied. Using the prepping agent on the entire surface is not recommended.

After using the prep agent, it is then recommended to use a surface cleaner such as a detailer’s quick wipe clear spray. This will thoroughly clean the surface without removing the wax from the middle portion of the hood/bumper. If these procedures are followed, then later removal of the paint protection film will not be as hard (and potentially damaging) on the surface of the paint.

Keep those simple points in mind and you’ll have much smoother and better-looking paint protection film / clear bra installations.