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  1. #1
    PhD watsons signs's Avatar
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    What would cause this

    We had 2 jobs back in the middle of 2009 for translucent sign face replacements using the same colour, we installed using a (apparently) good quality 2 mil translucent cast vinyl that is rated for 7 years outdoor durability. a few weeks ago, I drove by the first sign and noticed it's EXTREMLY cracked on both faces (faces face east-west) so i drove by the other job and 1 of the faces is doing the same thing.

    I have contacted the vinyl supplier, they are looking into it, but i'm not holding my breath.

    Can anyone tell me what would cause this to happen, the lexan panels were brand new and the vinyl seemed to be "fresh" when we used it.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails What would cause this-georgian-sign-jpg   What would cause this-score-media-sign-jpg  

  2. #2
    College Junior signpost-boston's Avatar
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    did you apply any liquids when applying itonto the substrate? does the laminate match the vinyl?

  3. #3
    PhD watsons signs's Avatar
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    the sign was applied using rapid tac, no laminate as it was translucent cut vinyl, not a print

  4. #4
    PhD weaselboogie's Avatar
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    I had something similar with some white cast applied to a foyer. Three entrances, The ones that cracked like that got the morning and evening sun. The one that didn't was fine. The foyer was a glass enclosed foyer and it got pretty stifling hot during the summer.

  5. #5
    College Freshman
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    I had the same problem. Was told it was the hot sun. So the next time I did one I applied a 3.2 mil UV laminate. It's only been 3 weeks so I am not sure if that will make a difference yet.

    I too contacted the supplier but never got a clear rersponse. They told me it could be the sun or the adhesive or maybe contaminates on the lexan panel. So they didn't have a clue.

  6. #6
    Premium Subscriber Billct2's Avatar
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    It's possible the vinyl was on the shelf quite a while before you got it.
    Unfortunately the best you would get from the supplier is a new role of vinyl/

  7. #7
    PhD watsons signs's Avatar
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    i'm not looking to get anything from the supplier, it's been 3 years afterall, i'm just trying to find out why this happens so we can try to avoid it in the future.

  8. #8
    College Sophomore Wiggum PI's Avatar
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    Looks to be the same colour blue in both pics. If so its a straight up vinyl fail I think.

  9. #9
    Premium Subscriber petepaz's Avatar
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    could have been a bad batch of vinyl and due to the weather it just failed
    better to have too much work and try to find the time to do it

  10. #10
    PhD watsons signs's Avatar
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    yes it's the same colour of vinyl, we ordered it a few months apart, but it could have very well come off the same roll.

    it seems to be starting in the corners, if i put a slight radius on all the corners, will it help in this regard?

  11. #11
    PhD GAC05's Avatar
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    Can you say what brand of translucent you used?
    3 years seems short for a cast vinyl's outdoor life even exposed to direct sun.

    On the other hand it could be another sign of ozone depletion & global warming........

    wayne k
    guam usa

  12. #12
    PhD watsons signs's Avatar
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    the vinyl was kpmf, it's a UK based company, we've never had an issue with it before.

  13. #13
    Bachelor of Arts S'N'S's Avatar
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    It may be that being in the full sun the Lexan is expanding and contracting at a different rate to the vinyl.

  14. #14
    Bachelor of Arts Red Ball's Avatar
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    I seem to remember a long thread about poly carbonite sheet needing to outgas for a period of time before applying vinyl.

    We have always allowed half a day or more for poly to sit after the covering has been removed before applying vinyl.
    Don't have any trouble.

  15. #15
    PhD Techman's Avatar
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    That vinyl was stretched when it was applied. After a period of time it is trying to pull back from that stretch. That is why it cracks in wide sweeps like that. Installer error.

  16. #16
    PhD gabagoo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Techman View Post
    That vinyl was stretched when it was applied. After a period of time it is trying to pull back from that stretch. That is why it cracks in wide sweeps like that. Installer error.
    The vinyl could not possibly be stretched as you say, as it would have been put on with premask. premask in all my years of doing signs does not technically stretch... at least not to any degree that would cause this.

    I would say that it is vinyl failure and because it is translucent there is a good chance it sat on the shelf far to long. I have seen calendered vinyl last longer than that.

    send the pics to the mfg and tell them to make this right or word will spread.

  17. #17
    PhD watsons signs's Avatar
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    yes it was put on with premask, so i don't think it stretched at all.
    the part that annoys me most is that I didn't try to save a few bucks and use a crappy vinyl, I used the proper material for the job (at $20 a yard it better last!) and i still have to put out the money to replace it!

  18. #18
    PhD visual800's Avatar
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    7 year vinyl lasted 3 years yep thats about right! lol

    I hope they (like other compnaies) are not using lesser quality materials to save a few bucks and we the signguys get that short end of the deal

  19. #19
    PhD Techman's Avatar
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    The vinyl could not possibly be stretched as you say, as it would have been put on with premask. premask in all my years of doing signs does not technically stretch... at least not to any degree that would cause this.
    Then you have never had this problem,, right,,,

    He did. And i have as well. I also discovered the cause long ago.

    Do I have to make a vid to show that stretching will occur even with transfer tape?
    Especially if improper technique is used,,, vinyl can be stretched so much that the the unsqueeged part will stand straight up. So, sorry, but premask will not prevent stretching.

    Look at those sheets. They all fail in the points of cuts. It is just like concrete where stress cracks always appear at a corner. Same with this vinyl. It is cracking at corners. All caused by shrinkage of some amount.

    Dated vinyl does not shrink just because it is old. Also, I have/had a load of vinyl that is at least 6 years old and all of it still applies just fine. Although i do not cut much of it any more.

    Those crack lines are caused by shrinking. He used calendared trans vinyl and/or,,, it was stretched when applied.

  20. #20
    PhD MikePro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Techman View Post
    Dated vinyl does not shrink just because it is old. Also, I have/had a load of vinyl that is at least 6 years old and all of it still applies just fine. Although i do not cut much of it any more.

    Those crack lines are caused by shrinking. He used calendared trans vinyl and/or,,, it was stretched when applied.
    +1 this

    never seen a cast vinyl do this, i've even applied vinyl over a decade-old to banners/lexan/everything and its never cracked like that...

    distinct tearing stemming from the corners of cuts.
    most definately calendared vinyl, you got there.
    mislabeled/mistaken product maybe?

  21. #21
    PhD CheapVehicleWrap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Techman View Post
    Then you have never had this problem,, right,,,

    He did. And i have as well. I also discovered the cause long ago.

    Do I have to make a vid to show that stretching will occur even with transfer tape?
    Especially if improper technique is used,,, vinyl can be stretched so much that the the unsqueeged part will stand straight up. So, sorry, but premask will not prevent stretching.

    Look at those sheets. They all fail in the points of cuts. It is just like concrete where stress cracks always appear at a corner. Same with this vinyl. It is cracking at corners. All caused by shrinkage of some amount.

    Dated vinyl does not shrink just because it is old. Also, I have/had a load of vinyl that is at least 6 years old and all of it still applies just fine. Although i do not cut much of it any more.

    Those crack lines are caused by shrinking. He used calendared trans vinyl and/or,,, it was stretched when applied.
    +1, but you have to admit it still looks cool lining up with the cuts and all.

  22. #22
    PhD gabagoo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikePro View Post
    +1 this

    never seen a cast vinyl do this, i've even applied vinyl over a decade-old to banners/lexan/everything and its never cracked like that...

    distinct tearing stemming from the corners of cuts.
    most definately calendared vinyl, you got there.
    mislabeled/mistaken product maybe?

    It's cast vinyl...KPMF does not make calandered translucents. I have never seen even calandered vinyl do this in such a short period of time.

  23. #23
    PhD watsons signs's Avatar
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    I seem to have missed this thread, sorry for dragging it up again. Just to clarify, the vinyl is most defenetly cast 2 mil translucent vinyl, as Barry said, KPMF does not make a calandered translucent vinyl.

    As for stretching, The vinyl was applied with pre-mask and rapid tac, the same way we have done with other vinyls in the past without issue. Unless the vinyl is hyper sensitive to the slightest stretch from squeegeeing out the rapid tac, I cant see how this could be the issue.

    I will send these pictures off the KPMF directly and see what they have to say, anyone wanna guess?

  24. #24
    Premium Subscriber Gino's Avatar
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    Quick question............

    Is your cutter a friction feed or a sprocket fed and what degree blade were you using ??

    Tech has quite a few points there, but I don't think they apply here.

    This usually happens when your blade cuts into the corner, raises up to make the 90 turn, sets back down and the plunge makes a minute cut, ever so slightly causing premature cracking or breaking up and you get what you see in your picture. However, this stuff you have shown here is acting just like calendared vinyl in too much sun, after being stretched beyond it's powers to hold. I would stop using that brand altogether from here on in, unless they stand behind you product and labor.

    If you say it's 2mil translucent, I'll believe you, but then why did you use it on the post and panel set up ?? Or...... is that not translucent ?? If not, then I'd say you're being screwed.


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  25. #25
    Master of Arts anotherdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gabagoo View Post
    It's cast vinyl...KPMF does not make calandered translucents. I have never seen even calandered vinyl do this in such a short period of time.
    I have had calendered vinyl in a similar situation, 7 years so far full sun no failing. even the plexi is starting to yellow but the vinyl is good.

    this problem has to be a bad batch. it's clearly shrinking. I have also seen this happen at the top of a lightbox because of too much heat from the light being mounted too close. Good luck getting the warranty to apply though, too long and too many variables.

    Will you give the customer any discount on a reprint?

  26. #26
    PhD Techman's Avatar
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    Lots of speculation.

    This usually happens when your blade cuts into the corner etc, etc...
    A minute micro tear in a corner cause a friggin CAST vinyl layer to shrink at least 1/4 of an inch. In all the years I did vinyl I never once saw a minute tear cause a crack in a vinyl panel. Especially if using real cast..

    But if we analyze is from the pics.. The product shrank a large amount. It cracked in the corners of the cuts. The shrinkage alone is enough to point right at the cause.

    That shrinkage has nothing to do with some minute little tear in some corner. Any good cast product would not shrink back as much as what is shown in these pics. That crap shrank big time. Look at how far it cracked and shrank,,.. Either the supplier sold him calendared, or they sold him a product that is labeled cast just like another company we know but is actually calendared... or they make junk product. Too me,, it's that simple.

    I've seen that product failure so many times. Lamers would install regular calendered vinyl on a backlit and within months it would be cracking or curling like a tater chip. How many of us came behind a lamer to redo a job where he used CHEAP calendared.

    In fact I posted several times about this same thing. On the other hand, cast will stay up for a very long time.. In fact, I just changed out a restaurant backlit where the vinyl was up over 2 decades. Yes it was badly faded and gator skinned. But it did not shrink...

  27. #27
    PhD watsons signs's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info guys, I've emailed the manufacturer to see what they say.

    Gino - these were cut using our roland versacamm printer/cutter, I think in the future, I'm going to round any sharp corners in my design program before I send to cut.

    Anotherdog - I'm not sure if this is a bad batch or cast vinyl, or a calendered product being sold as a cast vinyl, it feels like cast, but I can't be 100% certain. We will strip one of the signs and redo at our expense, the other we have not decided, they have never contacted us since we installed this job, I will play that one by ear I think.

    Techman - I agree with you, if this was a cast product, I should be able to take a knife and slice the crap out of it and it still wouldn't shrink back as bad as this!

    Time will tell what the manufacturer says about this.

  28. #28
    College Freshman ICeMAnAbk's Avatar
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    Ah, I've had a similiar issue, not nearly as bad. Those look like 1/4" wide. jez!

    Issue I had was, applied in cold season, wet app, stuck up, hot season came, few seasons later, the spot which had rapic tac had cracked due to the warm summer heat then cold winter, then hot summer again.

    Since then, I just do everything dry. Unless I'm trying to get something on a difficult outline or shadow, Id rather do it dry. Have no issues then.

    Sucks it happend man. I hope you find out exactly why.

  29. #29
    PhD watsons signs's Avatar
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    Thanks, these were installed in the summer if I remember correctly. and the cracks are closer to 1/2" wide in some places!

    Just to keep everyone updated, the supplier has sent someone down to take a small sample from the sign for testing, I guess they will decide what to do after that.

  30. #30
    College Senior boxerbay's Avatar
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    calendered.

    should used 3M.

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