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Car Wrap VS Paint
Mass-produced cars have a limited color palette, which explains why most vehicles on our roads have the same colors. However, if you want to customize your car for promotional/ personal reasons, you can either paint or vinyl wrap it.
Initially, if you wanted your car to look different, the only option was to repaint it. But with automotive advancements and modern technology, car owners now have the option to wrap their cars.
So, if you’re looking to refresh your car’s appearance, you can choose between a paint job and a vinyl wrap.
To help make an informed decision, this article will look at some notable differences between car wrap and paint job. First, let’s look at what each option entails as well as their benefits and drawbacks.
Car painting either changes the overall color or restores the original paint or the vehicle’s bodywork. To do a paint job, completely clean/ degrease the body and sand it down to prepare the surface for painting.
Next, apply a single paint color to the body using a sprayer device to uniformly coat the car’s surface. Lastly, treat the body with a clear coat after all the layers have been applied and dried.
There are various types of car paints on the market, with urethane paint being the most preferred option. Urethane paint is incredibly durable since it’s chip-resistant and can resist fading for up to 10 years.
One drawback of urethane paint though is that it’s relatively expensive compared to other types of car paints. Moreover, you can paint it over any previous paint job but you can’t apply lacquer paint over urethane paint. Not to forget that urethane paint isn’t recommended for DIYers since it’s hard to handle.
Acrylic paint is another type of auto paint that is commonly used on antique vehicles. It’s more prone to fading, has lower quality, and is cheaper and easier to apply than urethane paint. In addition, there are 2 main types of acrylic paint; lacquer and enamel.
Acrylic enamel was the first type of cart paint to be created and is more durable than acrylic lacquer. In contrast, acrylic lacquer is quite glossy and easy to apply, making it ideal for DIY paint projects.
Benefits of car paint
Similar to vinyl wraps, car paint can change the appearance of your car and offer many other benefits. For instance, a low-quality paint job is usually cheaper than a professionally installed high-quality vinyl wrap.
While a mid-tier paint job with multiple coats costs almost the same as a car wrap. However, a custom paint job or matte finish costs a lot more than a professionally installed vinyl wrap.
Secondly, paint jobs last for the life of the vehicle or until someone sands it off for repainting. While a car wrap only lasts for about 5 – 10 years. Moreover, a paint job permanently changes the appearance of your car. This makes it the perfect option if you want to cover damage or update the existing paint job.
Lastly, with a paint job, you can easily take your vehicle through a car wash. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about what commercial bristles will do to your vinyl wrap.
One major drawback of car paint is that you must strip the old paint, undercoat, and clear coat from the car before you apply another coat.
Not to mention that each applied coat requires time to dry, which can be up to 8 hours between coats. As a result, a quality paint job can take up to 2 – 3 weeks for the task to be completed.
In addition, car painting involves more steps than installing a car wrap, which increases the complexity of the painting process. On the same note, each step of the paint job must be performed flawlessly since it will affect the quality of the subsequent process.
For that reason, it’s important to have some basic knowledge of how to paint a car before you perform your car painting project.
Car wrapping refers to the process of installing a vinyl film over your car’s bodywork. They are typically designed to perform everything a regular paint job does but at a lower cost & effort.
It’s also worth mentioning that vinyl car wraps are available in 2 types; calendared wraps and cast vinyl wraps. Cast vinyl wraps are thin films that are cut to conform to the shape of a vehicle. On the other hand, calendared wraps do not conform to the corners and edges as well as cast vinyl wraps, making them less popular in car wraps.
The most interesting thing about car wraps is that they’re available in every design you desire since they’re usually digitally printed. Moreover, they come in various wrap finishes including satin, gloss, matte, textured, and carbon fiber.
Advantages of car wrap vs paint
Car wraps provide several benefits in terms of changing the design of your car. At the same time, they help to protect the paint and are easy to remove to restore the car to its original look.
Not to forget that they’re relatively fast to install over the existing paintwork since they don’t need any surface preparation. As a result, a professional car wrap installation can take about 3 – 7 days to complete, which is considerably quicker than the 14 to 21-day timeframe for a quality paint job.
Another standout feature of vinyl wraps is that they allow flexible customization since they’re available in a wide range of colors, textures, and designs. This allows you to choose any car wrap finish that suits your needs including metallic, shiny, and matte finish.
Disadvantages of car wrap vs paint
Despite the increasing popularity of car wraps, they have some notable drawbacks that you should consider when choosing between car paint and vinyl wraps.
For starters, not all types of vehicles can be wrapped since the quality of the wrap heavily relies on the quality of the paintwork. For instance, if the bodywork has poor quality, the imperfections will show through the vinyl wrap. So, before you apply a vinyl wrap, make sure your car is first inspected by the car wrap installer.
Secondly, car wraps are more susceptible to sun damage than paint, despite having a UV protection coating. Moreover, car wraps can start to crack or peel over time, making your car look unsightly and tattered.
Lastly, car wraps require more care when washing the vehicle as they’re easily damaged if you use incorrect detergents and soaps. Also, you cannot take a wrapped car through a drive-through commercial car wash that uses brushes as they can damage the film due to the abrasiveness.
Differences between Car wrap vs paint job
A low-quality paint can cost you about $500, while a high-quality paint job ranges from $1000 – $5000. On the other hand, a professionally installed car wrap can cost about $2500 – $5000.
However, these prices will vary depending on various factors as indicated by this article on how much it costs to paint a car.
All in all, a low-end paint job is more affordable than a car wrap. However, it may chip or fade more quickly than a vinyl wrap or high-quality paint job, costing you a lot of money in the long run.
In contrast, a car wrap is a great option, especially for company vehicles since the wrap can also be used for advertisement purposes. Moreover, it’s a very economical paint alternative for personal cars since it’s much easier to apply and remove.
2. Application: Car wrap vs paint
The waiting time for repainting a car usually depends on the type of car paint you’re using and the number of coats being applied. In addition, you need to remove the old paint first and let each layer of paint dry before you apply another coat.
As a result, the entire process of painting a car can take you about 3 days to 3 weeks. Not to forget that you have to wait for another week before the vehicle is ready for driving.
However, installing a car wrap takes much less time than painting the car. Besides, you only need to thoroughly wash the car’s exterior, let it dry, put the wrap over the bodywork, and apply heat using a heat gun to activate the adhesive.
One of the best features of vinyl wraps is that they’re easy to remove without ruining the paint underneath. Even better, the paint will look as bright as the day it was wrapped when you remove the vinyl since it will be protected from harsh elements.
In comparison, car paint is permanent, meaning you’re stuck with the same appearance until you invest a considerable amount of money to remove it. Moreover, this might negatively impact the resale value of the car, especially if you paint it with company graphics.
A custom paint job for the entire vehicle will cost you more than the average cost of painting the car. This is because custom paint jobs are usually done by skilled artists who are not cheap. For instance, a custom metallic paint job on a high-end sports car can cost more than $60,000.
On the bright side, car wraps make it much easier to give your car a custom look at an affordable rate than a paint job. Even better, you can reproduce any type of graphics on vinyl, giving you a wide range of design options.
Alternatively, you can simply get a vinyl wrap with a metallic, matte, or textured finish for a fraction of what it would cost you to get the same effects with paint.
The longevity of paint jobs tends to vary widely depending on the quality of the paint used. For instance, a low-end paint job will last a couple of years, while a high-end paint job can last the life of the car if done properly.
On the other hand, a vinyl wrap can last about 2 – 10 years, depending on the color used and the location of the wrap.
Car paint requires more maintenance than car wraps, especially if you want to keep the paint job looking shiny & new. Also, you have to regularly wash and wax the car to avoid damaging the paint.
In contrast, a car wrap is much lower maintenance than a painted car since vinyl is easy to maintain. Specifically, with car wrap, you only need to wash the car normally or wipe it with a cloth. There’s also the option to polish your car wrap, if needed.
And even if you fail to clean the surface, dirt will not cause any serious damage to it since vinyl does not allow guests to embed it on its surface.
Car wrap Vs Paint: Which is better?
For those who want a quick turnaround, a car wrap is certainly better than paint in every way. Paint jobs require preparation times as well as the drying time needed for each coat of paint.
As a result, a paint job will take at least a week, while a vinyl wrap can be installed in a day or two depending on the car size. Car care and maintenance are other factors that make car wraps better than paint.
Specifically, car wraps don’t need waxing as they’re resistant to dust buildup.
However, despite the several benefits offered by car wraps, you can’t just install a vinyl wrap over a car with dings, dents, or peeling paint. Installing the wrap over any physical imperfection will prevent it from being smooth and hinder the wrap’s adhesion to the car.
So, if your car bodywork has any imperfections, you have to do a paint job before you wrap the car. In addition, paint jobs are more durable than car wraps if it is cared for.