Nine times out of 10, the answer is no, decals will not damage the surface.
Although decals are adhesive in nature, they are manufactured with the knowledge that they will be adhered to delicate surfaces, which eventually will need to be returned to it's natural state. We utilize vinyl decal materials that have great adhesion qualities but that will also not interfere with or destroy the integrity of the original surface that they are applied too (when properly installed and removed.)
Decals are meant to be applied to smooth, non-porous surfaces like glass, painted wood, aluminum, PVC, vehicles, walls and the like. These particular surfaces readily accept adhesive decals, and when the decals are removed, may only leave behind a little residual adhesive on the surface. Residual adhesive can be easily cleaned with a mild cleaner and a soft cloth. For residual adhesive that won't come free easily, you can also try using a razor blade to scrap it off, but be very careful not to damage the surface with this tactic.
Another piece of information, that may help reduce any damage to a surface after decal removal, is to use a heat source like a hair dryer (on low). This technique will heat up the adhesive backing of your decal so that it comes off easier, and possibly reduce the amount of residual adhesive. But again, be careful to not blast the hair dryer on high as you might harm the surface, instead keep it on a low setting for best results.
Something to keep in mind though, especially with vehicle graphics, is the fading factor. When decals are utilized for vehicle graphics (or any outdoor decal surface) they are meant to be semi-permanent and long-lasting. The longer the decal is on the surface, the longer the surrounding paint or color is exposed to the sun which over time causes fading. So essentially there is no damage to the surface, but when you finally remove the decal, you may notice that the surface color underneath the decal is much more vibrant than the exposed surface.
In a nutshell, adhesive decals are meant to be applied and removed to a variety of substrates, without damaging the underlying surface upon removal. If you experience any difficulties or need assistance or guidance for proper installation or removal of a decal...give us a call!