Installing Window Media: Wet or Dry?


Graphic installers who are in the business of applying window graphics have two key objectives in mind for every job they do: 1) minimize the time and effort it takes to get the job done, and 2) leave an image behind that looks amazing for their client.

Material manufacturers work hard to help installers meet these objectives by supporting print service providers (PSPs) with innovative products that are easy to install and designed to produce visually stunning, eye-catching graphics. Some products utilize dry application methods and others require a wet application. The recommended installation method is typically dictated by the media used.

Dry application

Print media that features air channels, such as Mactac’s B-free® or M-Dot™ products, should only be applied using dry application methods. Embossed patterns in these products’ adhesives create the channels and during graphic installation, those channels allow for easy removal of any trapped air bubbles. It’s an easy application process as it typically doesn’t require any specialized application tools — and since no liquid is used, no liquid clean-up is needed making the process fast.

However, applying air channel products using wet application methods is not recommended. The same channels that allow air to easily escape from the graphic would also trap application fluid and create issues with graphic appearance as well as potential adhesive failure.  

Wet application

Cut vinyl is a good example of a window media that calls for wet application. When using intricate patterns of cut vinyl, installers should opt for a wet application process that utilizes a premask. This method will allow the installer to float the graphic onto the surface. Liquid and trapped air can be removed by using a hard squeegee.

This approach is also used for window graphics that are optically clear and any intricate patterned applications. An added benefit to using wet application methods is that 100% of the adhesive contacts the glass surface. This increases the durability and useful life of the finished graphic.

For more information on products designed for dry or wet applications, check out our Windows Application Guide.