All vinyl is not alike. The films vary in their appearance, durability, colour-fastness, adhesion, and pliability. Customer dissatisfaction with vinyl signs and graphics is often due to using the wrong type of film.

cast vinyl

Cast films have the longest life span (+- up to 10 years), the greatest colour variety, the best adhesion and surface conformity, and are thinner and glossier than other vinyls, lending to a "painted-on" appearance. This vinyl is so thin, that the texture of the substrate (surface it is going on) can be seen through the vinyl. As you might expect, this is also the more expensive type of vinyl, and the most difficult to apply correctly. Cast films are sometimes referred to as premium vinyl.

calendared vinyl

Calendared films are considerably less expensive than cast, and used more often by many shops. They don't last quite as long, although they can last a number of years outdoors (+- 2 - 5 years). They adhere well to smooth, flat surfaces, but their greater thickness and lack of pliability make them unsuited for rough, sharply curved, or porous surfaces. Calendared films are generally flat or low gloss in finish, and this combined with their thickness results in more of a "stuck-on" appearance than with cast films. Calendared vinyl is also known as intermediate vinyl. Other types of films exist, including reflective films, holographic and metallic speciality films (which are actually not vinyl but polyester based), and Translucence.

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