Paint Protection Film is usually installed using the 'wet' method. This method allows you plenty of time to install each piece. Because the film is wet, you can work the film to stretch it and get it to cover the required area. During installation, if you're not happy with line-up, placement or installation, just lift the film, rewet it and try again.
You don't need many tools in order to install Paint Protection Film. You can buy your own stuff, or you can order it all through us on this website. So here's a list of things that you might need. You can find further detail about each of these items by clicking on them.
- Our Special Rubber Squeegee for Paint Protection Film. (credit cards are definitely not the way to go)
- 2 Spray Bottles (one for the soapy solution and one for the water)
- 2 Microfibre Cloths (no need to buy really expensive ones)
- Johnsons' Baby Shampoo (don't use dishwashing detergent or carwash)
- A cleaning product to clean and remove wax/grease from the painted surfaces (we recommend ISOCOL - denatured alcohol)
- A sharp blade to trim or precut the film (we recommend a 9mm snap-off blade and knife body)
If you have ordered film or a pre-cut kit from us, then it's best to have all of these products on hand so that you can get started as soon as your film arrives. Or, alternatively, order our installation kit and you get all of this stuff with your film. (Cannot be sent using Express Post unfortunately.)
It's best to install in a warm (13℃ - 24℃), dry, draught-free location, with plenty of light. You should work in an enclosed environment because sunlight, dust and draughts will compromise the installation. If your area's floor is dusty, use a damp mop to sweep up the dust and then let the air settle for quite a few hours before attempting the installation. We understand that not everyone has a perfect environment, but the result that you are after depends a lot upon the conditions that you work in. You do not need any distractions while you are working so keep kids, pets and your mates right away from your work area. Give yourself plenty of time to complete the work. Most installations require patience, stamina and a clear head.
Have we scared you too much? Relax. It is pretty easy. If you can tie your shoelaces, then this is easier. If you can't tie your shoelaces, then it's best to get some help (and wear slip-ons).
Points to Remember.
- This film goes on wet, so, at every stage during the process make sure that your hands, both sides of the film, and the painted surfaces are thoroughly wet with the “slip” solution.
- The film is very clear and is supplied on a white backing sheet. Only remove the piece that you need at the time and wet it thoroughly, taking great care not to let adhesive touch adhesive, otherwise the piece will stick to itself and be difficult to pull apart.
- The film is quite tough; you can be firm with it in stretching and pulling it to make it fit.
- If it is not aligned properly, carefully remove it, rewet both the film and the painted surface, lay it on again. You can do this probably 6 times before you start to affect the adhesive. Make sure your hands are thoroughly clean and wet if you have to touch the adhesive side.
- Try to remove bubbles as you go, although stubborn bubbles can be pricked later with a pin to release water or air.
Everything must be clean, and surfaces must be free of wax and grease. Prepare the painted surface by thoroughly cleaning with the alcohol/water solution and wipe with a clean, soft, lint-free cloth, such as a microfibre. The surface must be completely free of wax, grease, silicon and dirt. On automotive painted surface you may need to use a harsher paint cleaner like Prepsol or Methylated Spirits to thoroughly remove all traces of wax, etc. Make sure that you thoroughly rinse away any traces of Prepsol or methylated spirits, if used. Be very thorough in cleaning areas that may collect grease and gunk. You may need to use a clay bar or a polish to remove contaminants from the painted surfaces. For best results get the surface back to showroom condition. If you want to touchup any minor chips, do so at least a couple of days beforehand, giving the paint time to cure.
Getting the Spray Bottles ready.
You need 2 medium size spray bottles, one for the SLIP (soapy) solution, and one for the LOCK (flush) solution.
Slip Solution: Use 2 large drops of Baby Shampoo (½ of a teaspoon, 2.5ml) to 1 litre of water. Pour into the spray bottle and mark as “slip”. Note: A proper mix will sheet off of painted surfaces but not form large soap bubbles. The slip solution is used for 90% of the job and allows you to move the piece around without it sticking, and it also lubricates the surface of the film. If the film is sticking to the painted surface and not sliding, you may need to add a little more soap to the mix, shake it well and spray the painted surface and the film again.
Lock Solution: The Lock solution is used to “anchor” or "lock" one part of the piece so that the film can be stretched. This solution is also used to remove the slip solution from under edges that won’t stick down properly. You will only use this solution in approx 10% of the job, if at all.
So you need a bottle that will assist in locking down the film so that you can stretch it. We use a bottle of plain tap water. You can also use an alcohol/water mixture in a bottle, as follows: Combine 1 part rubbing alcohol to 1 part water. The ISOCOL bottle holds 345ml of rubbing alcohol (denatured isopropyl alcohol), so you would add 345ml of clean water to it.
If you can't get ISOCOL, you can use just plain water.
Applying the Film onto the Painted Surface.
1. Check the size and placement of each part prior to removing the film from the liner. Make sure that you’ve got the correct piece and know which way it is to be positioned.
2. Thoroughly wet the painted surface with Slip Solution. Thoroughly wet your hands with Slip Solution. Then also spray a corner of the film while it is attached to its liner (backing sheet). Grab the corner of the film and fold back the film and spray liberally in order to wet the exposed adhesive. Then remove the piece from the backing sheet, spraying the adhesive as you go.. Wet both sides of the film with Slip Solution and position in place on the wet painted surface. Really wet the painted surface, the film (both sides) and your hands.
3. Apply plenty of Slip Solution between the painted surface and the adhesive side of film to allow the piece to move easily. Get everything WET, WET, WET.
4. Position the film part in place. Make a small firm vertical stroke with the squeegee down the center of the material. The part should now be "anchored" to the surface and should not move freely. If the pieces needs to be stretched to go around a convex shape you must have one end of the film “anchored” so that you can stretch the other end of the film. You anchor the film by using the Lock solution to remove all of the Slip Solution from under that area of the film.
5. Wet the top surface of the film with the Slip solution, then using your squeegee make firm overlapping strokes from the middle to the material edge (rewet the material surface after each stroke with the squeegee). Use firm pressure to avoid leaving water or air bubbles under the material. Most bubbles can be removed by firm, fast squeegeeing. If the bubbles are not moving, lift the film, rewet and resqueegee.
6. When you are happy with the fit and layout of the piece, dry off the surface with a microfibre cloth and examine for any water or air bubbles. You may be able to squeegee them out (use lots of Slip solution on the surface and firmly squeegee the bubble to the nearest edge), or if not, you will need to lift the film and rewet it and squeegee it again.
7. If all bubbles are now gone, then make sure that the edges of the film are secure. The best way to do this is to test the film by gently attempting to lift the edge with your fingernail. If it lifts, spray the Lock solution under the film's edge and squeegee it down. Sometimes it's best to wrap the squeegee with a dry microfibre cloth, so that all of the water that is pushed out is dried up immediately. That should lock it down.
8. Dry off the edges of the film, to ensure that water does not sit on the edges of the film, and potentially go back under the film.
9.Repeat steps 1 - 8 until all pieces have been applied.