High performance vinyl and intermediate vinyl are quite different.
The main differences between high performance vinyl and intermediate vinyl is that high performance is thinner, lasts longer, conforms to uneven surfaces better, shrinks less, is available in more colors, is usually more difficult to apply and is a bit more expensive.
Properties of Intermediate vinyl:
Intermediate vinyl is a calendered vinyl. When manufactured, calendered vinyl starts off looking like pizza dough and is stretched and squeezed between two rollers and spread out like taffy and usually finishing at 3 - 4 mils thick. Because of the "stretched taffy" way that intermediate vinyl is made, it has tendency to want to shrink back to it's original position, which can cause shrinking, peeling, chipping and cracking over time. For most vinyl applications, especially short term signs (1-3 years), intermediate adhesive vinyl is ideal. Common uses for intermediate vinyl are banners, short to long term outdoor signs, and many indoor signs.
Advantages of calendered films:
- Easier to manufacture makes it less expensive to the consumer.
- Stiffer/thicker film usually makes it easier to apply.
- Thickness allows more resistance to abrasion.
Properties of High Performance vinyl:
High performance vinyl also called premium vinyl is a cast vinyl. When manufactured cast vinyls are made from liquid vinyl. The liquid vinyl is poured onto a casting sheet and is heat cured. It is similar to baking a cake. The liquid evaporates and the remaining solid is the vinyl. High performance vinyl can be used for all vinyl applications, but it is more expensive than intermediate calendered vinyl. High performance vinyl is thinner with an approximate 2 mil thickness and doesn't shrink as much as intermediate vinyl. High performance vinyl is ussually used for long term signage, vehicle lettering and graphics, and situations that require the vinyl to conform to rough or uneven surfaces.
Advantages of cast films:
- Because of manufacturing process of high performance vinyls, the shrinkage factor is very low. Since the film has not had any stress applied during the manufacturing process, it does not try to resume or shrink back to its original form.
- High performance vinyls are usually more durable.
- Cast (high performance vinyl) is thinner which allows it to conform better to uneven or rough surfaces. This vinyl is ideal for vehicle graphics because it can conform around rivets, corrugations, and complex curves. Also, once applied should last longer than calendered (intermediate) vinyl.
- High performance vinyl is available in many more colors and maintains it's color, and other properties, better than intermediate vinyl films.
If you are needing help choosing a vinyl type for your vinyl decals or vinyl lettering, please give our vinyl specialists a call,