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Oracal 651 after a year in Florida weather

3831 Views 0 Replies 1 Participant Last post by  Fenrir
I often see people talking about calendared vinyl and how you really just shouldn't use it at all for anything but temporary signage or indoor-only installations.

I re-did all the signage at work (it's actually what got me interested in sign making because the local shop raised their prices 300%... it was cheaper for me to buy the cutter, vinyl, and tools, than just the main sign would have cost) about a year ago. I had bought all the primary and secondary colors of Oracal 651. I'm actually more interested in doing small decals than large sign work (and my tiny craft cutter made it very interesting doing the 2' x 8' main building sign) but I think I did pretty well for my first job.

Anyway, here are some shots of the vinyl after a year of exposure in South FL weather, about 6 miles from the coast.

Faux bronze mailbox with some kind of clearcoat (was ridiculously expensive, if I remember correctly). Facing north, no direct sunlight. The "white" along the top edge is more residue from hard rainwater that I didn't get cleaned off enough. Closeup of 2" letter.

Same mailbox, facing west. Direct sunlight after noon, until close to sunset when the building blocks it. Closeup of 2" number.

Metal door, painted with oil based paint that was about a 2 months old upon installation. Facing east, direct sunlight from sunrise 'till noon, very very hot. No overhang on building, direct exposure to the elements. This is a terrible surface to apply vinyl to, really you're supposed to make a sign and attach it to the door, not put vinyl directly on a painted surface. Still holding fine. Closeup of 2" graphic.

Our main building sign, on white PVC board. I'm amazed the other sign shop in town sold us two boards (one sheet cut in half) for 50% of what our long-time shop was charging. They even cut it in half for free! I felt kind of guilty not having them do the sign instead. Couldn't get a good shot with my little point and shoot but better than nothing. Closeup of 8" letter.

Indoor lobby, not climate controlled on weekends. Gets up to about 92-96°F in the middle of summer. The same oil based paint used on outside door on wood door. Closeup of 2" letter:


Closeup of 3" letters:

So far I'm impressed. I'm still planning on getting some 751 for "more important" jobs and going over curved or riveted surfaces, but at this point I have no reservations of using Oracal 651 to mass produce 3" decals for cars or whatnot. I was really expecting the black vinyl on the painted metal door to either shrink or peel, considering that side of the building is probably the worst both in heat intensity and elemental abuse.

No, I don't work for Oracal. 651 was the only vinyl that I found that was both reasonably priced and got consistently good reviews from a lot of people on multiple forums, not just forums run by the company or distributors. I have seen people mention that even the 651 will shrink and leave a pronounced white edge but so far mine has not done that. I wonder what the result would be in the midwest, with 3-digit temperatures and no humidity (maybe the humidity is actually keeping it from "drying out"). I have also not tested any removal to see if it will still peel off or crack and come off in pieces (mainly because nothing I put up needs to come off!).

Maybe I'll remember to update this in another year. I'm interested in seeing how my Sihl 3988 printed on an Epson 1100 + Oraguard 210 overlaminate will look after a year on a lawn trailer.
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