The vinyl that’s made for sign work is naturally difficult to remove from its substrate (Substrate is the material that the vinyl is adhered to as a sign.). Why? When placed on the substrate, the intention is to have the vinyl lettering or logo last for years so the adhesives used on vinyl are very sticky.
Let’s say you have window graphics that needs updating, or you’re moving to new space and need to remove your vinyl lettering. Here’s a how-to that makes the de-installation easy.
1. Use a hair dryer, or better yet, a heat gun to soften the vinyl. This softens the adhesive allowing you to peel the vinyl easily from the substrate.
2. You can use a plastic razor blade from your neighborhood sign shop and scrape away the lettering if pulling them off one by one is too time consuming.
Look back at the area where you removed the graphics. Do you see a film? Touch it. Is it sticky? That residue is the adhesive from the vinyl. You need to use Goof Off or adhesive remover to clean the surface.
3. Purchase a good quality adhesive removing product. Spray the sticky area. Allow the remover to sit for a few minutes. The adhesive will soak up the remover and swell. This allows you to remove the adhesive easier.
4. Use a putty knife or a plastic razor blade to scrape the goop (if it’s a window. If it’s a wooden board or some other material, don’t scrape. Someone else may be applying their graphics to the substrate and would like a surface that’s not marred by your earnestness.)
5. Wipe clean with a paper towel and window cleaner. Degrease with isopropyl alcohol, and you’re ready to apply your new graphics.
Have you ever removed vinyl before? Share your experiences—the good, the bad, and the ugly!