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install new wrap over old?


New Member
We have a customer that has 2 old vans that need new graphics. Do we have to remove the old? What is the downside if we just install new full wrap over old full wrap? The vans are in ok shape and the customer is not going to repaint or fix minor dents if the old wrap is removed. TIA!


Very Active Signmaker
It's only going to be as good as the wrap underneath it. If it's a van, I would suggest removing it. If it's 2 years old it shouldn't be that hard.

I've wrapped over existing vinyl before.. but that was for box trucks and the underlying wrap was still OK


Active Member
Is this the suggested way, NO
Can you do it, YES
MAKE SURE they sign a waiver about the limitations of covering/applying to old vinyl BEFORE you start anything.


Professional Snow Ninja
I wouldn't simply because as soon as that old vinyl starts to fail, your new one will too. Also, what about shrinkage rates? I would assume the old wrap has shrunk about as much as it's going to, but the new one, not so much. Not sure how well that'll go.


Just Me
Just don't do it. Since the wrap is 7 yrs old, crispy is probably a good way to describe it. If it has been in the Florida sun and has started cracking and burning, I would not trust putting anything on top of it. Because if it doesn't work well and anyone asks who did it, the customer won't say "I cheaped out and had this one installed over the old one even though the sign company recommended against it." Instead they'll just tell people who did it and it will not reflect well on your company. Just my 2 cents.


New Member
We have and the customer takes all the risk. One thing is the vehicles will most likely not be in service for too many more years. We usually cut about an inch or two back so the edges are firmly attached. Then lightly sand and then use acetone then 3M primer in places. We also overlay several real estate signs, but not so much any more due to the failure. Some of this is due to the matte lam that is textured and calandered shrinks, but cast on a van should be OK, but the customer needs to take the risk. DD


Active Member
Downsides -

You don't know what vinyl was used before hand. If it's a cheap 5 year vinyl, and the wrap is 7 years old... It could.fsil at anytime taking your wrap with it.

Vinyl gets brittle in the cold and cracks - old vinyl especially so. Once that vinyl beneath starts cracking... It'll take your vinyl with it.

Wraps are designed with the surface energy of painted metal in mind. We've re-applied vinyl overtop some 4x8s for a customer... And within 5 months it started peeling off. Laminate has a bunch of properties to prevent UV, be semi anti graffiti resistant, etc. The surface energy on a wrapped vehicle is much lower than on a non wrapped... So even if the old wrap was brand new... Your new wrap is not going to stick as well as it should.

You get paid by the hour to remove wraps, it sucks... But it's the customers problem. We'd never re wrap a vehicle.... Even if the customers aware it might last a month and is ok with the risk, the second it looks like crap and someone asks where it got done... Your company is thrown under the bus.

It's just not worth it. Some jobs are meant for passing on... This is one of them. Tell them your hourly rate for removal, or ask them to bring it in fully removed. I wouldn't touch it as is though.


New Member
Installing a new wrap over an old one can be a tricky task, but it is definitely possible. The key is to make sure that the surface of the old wrap is clean and smooth before applying the new wrap. This will ensure that the new wrap adheres properly and looks seamless.

To start, you will need to remove as much of the old wrap as possible. This can be done using a heat gun or a steamer to soften the adhesive and then carefully peeling it away. Be sure to remove any remaining adhesive residue with a solvent or adhesive remover.

Once the surface is clean and smooth, it's time to apply the new wrap. Make sure to measure the area carefully and cut the new wrap to the appropriate size. The new vehicle wrap should be applied in a similar way to how the old wrap was applied, with a heat gun or steamer to soften the adhesive and a squeegee to smooth out any wrinkles or bubbles.

It's important to note that applying a new wrap over an old one will not last as long as a fresh wrap on a clean surface. The adhesive on the old wrap may not be as strong as it once was, which can cause the new wrap to peel or peel prematurely. To avoid this, ensure that the old wrap is removed as much as possible and the surface is cleaned properly before applying the new wrap.

Bobby H

Arial Sucks.
It's never a good idea to install a new wrap over an existing wrap. And it's a really really bad idea to install a new wrap on an old, deteriorating wrap. A wrap should stay on a vehicle for only so many years and then be removed. Ones that stay on well past their time are a big PITA to remove. We certainly don't do wrap removals like that for free.


New Member
Remove it. It's now an upsell that you can charge on top of doing the new wrap. Removing vinyl sucks especially when it's in bad shape but if you can charge accordingly and make money on it, it's not too bad of a deal. If they don't want to pay for the added cost of the removal, I'd tell them they can expect the new wrap to last less than a year and there are definitely no warranties or guarantees of any kind.

Bobby H

Arial Sucks.
A vehicle wrap using good quality wrap-specific vinyl and laminates should last considerably more than a year. The wrap life span will vary based on climate and use/abuse from the client. But they should be able to get at least a couple or so years out of it unless the wrap was done on the cheap. The only reason to cycle out a wrap in a year or less time is to update the graphics and keep the advertising image "fresh." The nightmare removal jobs we typically see are from people who left a wrap on a vehicle for upwards of a decade. The whole thing is faded and cracked.


Very Active Signmaker
Since this post... I had a graphics company insist I wrap over a work van. The old wrap was cracked and peeling. I knocked off the flakes and wrapped right over it. I pass the van outside their store about once a week and three years later still looks good... even the rough spots on the wheel wells are holding up.


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