We asked Jaclyn Rebel, Creative Director at www.SignZoo.com to educate us on marine wraps:
How does wrapping differ from gelcoat? How protective is the wrap?
The wrap is actually a layer of adhesive laminated vinyl that is applied over top of the gelcoat. And because we use premium 3M products, when it comes time to remove the wrap, the condition of the surface underneath the wrap is exactly as it was the day the wrap was applied. That said, the wraps are not indestructible. If the boat is bumped into the dock etc, the wrap can be damaged just as paint could. Most people keep extra fenders on the boat if they plan on docking often.
How long does it last?
A typical wrap is guaranteed for 2 years. The inks and colors will last longer, but general wear and tear and the owner’s desire for a fresh look usually leads to it being replaced after two years. If the boat is dry-stored and taken care of, it’s not uncommon for a wrap to last 4 years.
What is involved in the process?
First we need pictures of the boat being wrapped so that we can assess the overall project.
Most of the time people want to see what it will look like when it’s complete. Because of this, we exchange proofs ahead of time whether it’s custom artwork or just simple paint replacement.
When the design does call for custom artwork to be printed in the wrap, the wrap is printed on high resolution large-format digital printers. It’s given 24 hours to “off-gas” which allows the solvents in the inks to evaporate before the wrap is laminated. If we don’t wait 24 hours, the solvents in the inks have the potential to be “trapped” under the laminate and dissolve the adhesive in the wrap, thus voiding the warranty. This entire process takes 3-4 days before the wrap is packaged for installation.
The installation takes approximately one day, and the conditions for the installation must be “adequate”. This means roughly 70-85 degrees, well-lit, clean and no wind. It can be done indoors or outside. After the wrap is applied, the edges of the wrap are sealed and it’s ready to go back in the water 24 hours later.
What is the cost compared to conventional gelcoat/painting?
I’m not sure how it compares to regular paint. Custom graphic designs are 50% of the cost of airbrushing. A typical boat owner needs to invest between $60-$110 per foot of the boat for the wrap and approximately $425 for the design. (I.e. – 21’ boat = 21’x $60 = $1,260+$425 design) This price includes the wrap and installation.
Are women frequent customers? What do they usually like?
We work with a fair amount of both male and female clients, often times it’s a husband and wife that are working together to create a custom design they love for their boat.