In almost all cases the lifespan of a digital print can be extended with some type of laminate. The costs for lamination are relatively minimal and typically will be a great investment to extend the life of digitally printed products. Laminates come in a variety of forms that serve a wide array of purposes. Always consider the following when choosing an over laminate for your signs and graphics:
- Installation type
- Print type
- Desired finish
The most common type of laminate used on digital prints is a roll laminate. This type of laminate is typically used on digital print media like adhesive vinyl, rolled pvc sheeting, or even paper prints. The desired result from most laminates is to increase the UV stability of the print. Most un-laminated solvent prints or roll to roll prints will typically last 2-3 years. A laminated solvent print should have a 5 year minimum lifespan under normal conditions with the addition of a UV laminate. Liquid laminates can be applied to flatbed prints which are digital graphics printed directly on some type of flat ridge stock, such as: aluminum, plastics, glass or painted surfaces of all types. Liquid laminates offer many of the same benefits as roll laminate but is the ideal choice for flatbed prints. There are a handful of other reasons to use over laminates outside of extending the life of your digital prints, including:
- Vandal resistance with a hard coat or chemical resistant laminate
- Fully encapsulating prints with laminate on 2 sides for waterproofing. This is most commonly used on paper prints.
- Dry erase laminates can be used if the end user wants to be able to update information on the surface.
- Matte, satin, or high gloss laminates to create the desired finish of the print.
Laminates should not be used on banners or any print that does not require a long lifespan. In instances where a marketing image will change on an annual basis laminates can still be used to add a desired finish, but would not be necessary to achieve the desired lifespan. Be sure to speak with your printer prior to ordering graphics and print work to ensure that you get the correct product or combination of products that will meet your needs and expectations every time.