Thick Vs. Thin Vinyl
Pressure sensitive vinyl is the technical term for our sticker material. There is a misconception that thick stickers cost more and are better quality, and it’s easy to understand why. There is perceived value when you compare two products and one is “larger” or “thicker”. Let’s face it - the thicker chocolate bar is the one I’m going to pick every time! However, we’re talking about vinyl stickers, and when it comes to vinyl stickers, thinner is better!
Why is thinner vinyl better?
How the vinyl reacts to temperature is the best measurement of vinyl quality. A thick piece of plastic taken from a warm environment (heated garage) to a cold environment (winter in Canada) has to have the ability to contract evenly and quickly. If it cannot expand and contract quickly and evenly, it may crack and fail.
Thicker material has a difficult time contracting at a uniform rate, therefore the surface may contract while the inner layer does not. The vinyl then delaminates from the adhesive.
A thinner material is able to expand and contract quickly and is less likely to fail. For vehicle wraps or outdoor signage, we use a 2 mil vinyl (Mil is a unit of measurement equivalent to 1/1000 of an inch; it does not mean millimeter). stickernut.ca uses a 3 mil vinyl from 3M for stickers. Comparatively, it feels a lot thinner than our competition who uses 4 to 5 mil. Some stickers are not even vinyl at all! Many stickers are paper, and paper cannot be compared to vinyl as they have completely different uses.
Thinner is better because most vinyls 3 mil and under use a solvent based adhesive rather than a water based adhesive. In order to remove a solvent based sticker, a solvent such as alcohol is required. Water does not affect it. A water based vinyl adhesive deteriorates when exposed to water. This would certainly not hold up outdoors.