Pardon the pun but there can be many potential slip-ups when it comes to producing great quality floor graphics.
This post looks at how to keep your feet firmly on the ground with your next flooring install.
There are two main ways to create durable floor graphics:
With two-part systems the self-adhesive vinyl is printed first and then over laminated with a sandtex (sand textured) crystal face film.
The laminate is applied using either an application roller (https://granthams.co.uk/blogs/insights/9-reasons-why-a-flatbed-applicator-needs-to-be-on-your-print-room-shopping-list)or roll-fed laminator in the same way as with any other non-rigid substrate.
The main benefit with the two-part floor graphic systems is in the ability to choose the two parts.
Is the film being adhered to a difficult surface? Maybe a more aggressive hi-grab adhesive is needed?
Perhaps it needs to stay in place but be easily removed after the campaign has finished? There are options for types of vinyl with a removable adhesive along with bubble free alternatives like the Drytac Spot On range (https://granthams.co.uk/blogs/insights/drytac-spoton-guaranteed-bubble-free-vinyl-every-time-1)to make removal a cinch.
For more standard applications, Drytac recommend their FloorTacproduct.
They state that “FloorTac has a permanent high tack adhesive that is suitable for use on ceramic tiles, commercial PVC flooring, sealed wood, sealed concrete and marble etc. FloorTac has been developed specifically for floor graphic printing and is suitable for all reasonable mid to heavy foot traffic areas.”
Now that's most bases covered.
After the right printable floor graphic self-adhesives film has been selected, next are the choices for the overlaminate.
Most products, regardless of manufacturer, can’t give definite longevity timescales due to the incredibly wide ranges for possible footfall.
The same product could be used in the concourse of Euston Station and Manchester Airport or it could cover an aisle in a supermarket, museum, college or school. So many variables can affect the expected lifespan of any floor graphic product. With this in mind, the industry standard is around 6 months but where and what this covers can vary depending on the product.
If you have a specific requirement, get in touch and we’ll look at all the options with you.
Whatever the end use, there are a number of alternatives for overlaminates.
All floor graphic laminates have a textured face. This texture determines the slip resistance of the film. The slip resistance comes in ‘R’ ratings and floor graphic films normally are within the range of R9 - R11.
The Rin R rating stands for Ramp and it signifies how resistant to slipping a film is on an angled slope.
The higher the number, the steeper the angle of a ramp the test subject could walk upon without slipping.
Baer in mind though that an R13 product may signify the highest slope rating, but most floor graphic applications are applied to level floors where R9 - 11 is plenty sufficient.
If needed, we can supply all the relevant data sheets for any of the Drytac floor graphic products we stock.
The laminate films themselves can vary in quality of PVC from monomeric films to more substantial polymeric vinyl (https://granthams.co.uk/blogs/insights/a-granthams-guide-to-self-adhesive-vinyl-which-to-and-why).
The main floor graphic laminating products within the Drytac range are the Interlam Pro Emerytex, Scuffguard and Weathershield Emerytex.
Interlam Pro Emerytexis a Class 0 fire retardant R11 rated floor graphic overlaminate that is both highly durable and cost-effective.
Its overall 125mic thickness makes it easier to run through the laminator and, when installing on the floor combined with the 100mic FloorTac, it makes for a two-part product with a premium feel.
Scuffguard is a little thicker at 150mic so lends itself to heavier duty applications. Its R10 rating makes it the ideal choice for ‘tradeshow graphics, POP displays, mouse pads, counter mats, event signage, floor graphics, and any other signage where a scuff-resistant finish is required’.
Scuffguard and Interlam Pro are both monomeric PVC films, Drytac’s Weathershield is polymeric.
Its 100mic thickness and R9 slip rating, coupled with its polymeric make-up and Class 0 fire rating, make it a firm choice for public buildings, airports, hotels, hospitals and schools.
All three of the Drytac laminates have in-built UV inhibitors to prevent any image degradation from sunlight and pollutants making sure your floor graphic remains looking top quality for longer.
With the two-part system, any potential pitfalls are in the overlaminating. If anything goes wrong here such as creasing or piping, the job goes all the way back to the RIP queue.
There is also a very small chance of edges lifting between the laminate and the print film.
Some printers trim and leave a slightly ’overhanging’ edge of the laminate so that it carries over the print vinyl to help prevent this happening. As long as the overlaminate has been applied to the print film using the right pressure plus installed on site correctly, this shouldn’t, however, be an issue.
For a long time, floor graphics had to be exclusively produced using the two-part system.
Digital inks just weren’t strong enough to bind to the face film to stop any scuffing from repeating feet shuffling over the top. With advances in eco-solvent, solvent, UVC and latex technology, this is no longer the case.
The one-part system does away with the need to overlaminate the print. By printing directly to the textured face film, once cured, the printed vinyl can be applied directly to the floor.
This finished one-part film is both slip and scuff resistant.
The number one product within the Drytac range for one-part floor graphics is the SpotOn 200floor film.
It's a sturdy 200mic matte white PVC film that has been thoroughly slip tested ( R10 ) after being printed.
With a B1 fire rating, SpotOn 200 the simplest solution when it comes to short term airport, hotel or supermarket floor graphics. In fact, with the same dot adhesive system as the other SpotOn products (https://granthams.co.uk/blogs/insights/drytac-spoton-guaranteed-bubble-free-vinyl-every-time-1), it could well be the easiest way of adding floor graphics into your print portfolio.
There are samples available to find out which system is the most effective for you and your customers. Talk to us on 01772 250207 or firstname.lastname@example.org to book your floor graphics trial.