Floor graphics allow businesses to communicate messages that don’t require customers to look up. From directional signage to COVID-19 social-distancing messaging, floor decals can help ensure customers don’t get lost or overcrowd an area.

But what kind of vinyl is used for these unique products? The right choice allows for long-term durability while still delivering on the quick-change capabilities required by industries like retail and hospitality that swap out promotional signs frequently.

Cast Vinyl

For floors that require a visual that mimics tile or wood floor designs, vinyl is a great option. Patterned vinyl is available in a wide variety of styles, from modern Art Deco tiles to traditional black and white Victorian tiles. It can even be made to mimic a more complicated design, like the look of a marble or stone floor. This type of vinyl is much cheaper to install than a tiled floor and also warmer and softer underfoot.

This vinyl is produced using a rotogravure printing process and can recreate virtually any common building material or floor graphic. It can even be printed with a clear wear layer to protect the vinyl from damage and make it easier to clean.

Typically, calendared vinyl has less durability than cast. The difference is that cast vinyl starts off as a liquid and is sent through a series of ovens, creating the thickness and dimensional stability that it is known for. It is ideal for exterior applications that will be exposed to the elements, such as vehicle wraps because it can conform to tight-radius and compound curves easily. The same flexibility makes it a good choice for interior wall and floor graphics because it can also be used on flat surfaces with simple curves.

When a rough-textured surface is the intended application, however, calendared vinyl may not be able to conform as easily to the peaks and valleys of the texture. Cast vinyl is a better option because it will create a smooth, paint-like finish that offers durability.

The print vinyl used for floor graphics should be rated to withstand foot traffic, chemicals, and other harsh elements. A 3.4 mil polymeric matte white flexible calendared film with removable high-performance pressure-sensitive acrylic adhesive on a 90# lay flat liner is recommended. This product is excellent for short-term floor and carpet graphics, including tradeshow booths and corporate lobbies. The vinyl can even be used to mark off areas for a sale or event. However, it is important to note that the vinyl should be removed within 6 months.

Permanent Adhesive Calendared Film

If you’re displaying your company’s logo or a holiday theme on an interior floor graphic, you can create a unique and eye-catching display using permanent adhesive calendared films. This material is printed on a standard plotter or thermal transfer printing equipment and can be cut with high-quality vinyl cutters. It is best for flat surfaces and can be protected with a UL-classified slip-resistant overlaminate to provide safety and protection.

Many businesses utilize graphics on their floors for wayfinding and promotional messages. For example, a grocery store might use floor graphics to help customers navigate the aisles or promote seasonal sales. Other companies use them to help employees locate a specific location or department. Regardless of the application, all these floor graphics need to be durable and long-lasting.

To make them last, choose a digitally printable product with an abrasion-resistant surface and a strong solvent-based adhesive. In addition, consider a high-energy phosphorescent option that glows in the dark. This type of product works well for indoor applications, as it isn’t easily scratched or abrased and has excellent durability on smooth surfaces like ceramic tile floors or indoor painted concrete.

Aside from abrasion resistance, look for a digitally printable product that is flexible, conforms to curves, and has good tear strength. The film should also be free of any contamination, such as dirt, oil, or grease, to ensure a high-quality finish and adhesion.

Adding a slip-resistant overlaminate is important for floor graphics, especially in high-traffic areas. For instance, if you’re printing on a carpet floor, consider choosing an overlaminate with a low-tack adhesive to enable the graphics to be easily repositioned during installation. This makes it easier for non-professional installers to install a graphic without damaging the surface underneath.

Another type of floor graphic that is growing in popularity is one that’s printed on a low-pile carpet for short-term events or weekend trade shows. For these applications, Grimco stocks a variety of digital and opaque floor films with both permanent and removable adhesives to meet your unique needs. For the most longevity, a scuff-resistant overlaminate is also recommended.

Digital Print Vinyl

When printing floor graphics, there are a variety of substrates that can be used. Some are non-slip, which adds to the safety of the graphic. Others are made of fabric or polyester with adhesive backing. Still others are printed on a clear vinyl film and are designed to be applied directly to a concrete, asphalt, or carpet surface without an overlaminate. The key to choosing the right print vinyl is understanding the requirements of the end application. This includes knowing the amount of foot traffic, what kind of surface it will be, and how long the graphic is expected to last.

When working with a client for a floor graphic project, the designer and installer must ask the client a series of questions to understand exactly what is required. For example, will the graphics be used indoors or outdoors? What kind of foot or vehicle traffic will come in contact with the graphic? Is the substrate smooth or textured? What is the desired look and feel of the finished product? This information will help the printer or designer select a suitable vinyl film to meet the customer’s needs.

A one-step vinyl print media is ideal for short-term indoor floor graphics, like those used to promote sales or special events in retail spaces. This type of substrate eliminates the need for an overlaminate, which reduces production lead times and costs. It also allows the client to easily swap out their promotional signage if they choose.

A two-step media, such as the Walk-On Graphics film from Nekoosa, offers a more durable finish for long-term use. This medium is thicker than other prints and has a strong overlaminate that protects against heavy foot traffic. It is also water-resistant and can be cleaned with regular household cleaners.

Many small businesses take advantage of the versatility of floor graphics to spruce up old floors, disguise damaged areas of wood or linoleum, and highlight important safety information such as social distancing and COVID-19 warnings. In addition to their marketing benefits, floor graphics are easy to apply and remove with high-tack adhesives that don’t leave glue residue when removed. They can even be completed with GuardLam overlaminate films for added slip-prevention options.

One-Step Print Vinyl

One-step print vinyl is a type of printable media that can be used in a variety of applications. It can be used with heat transfer vinyl to create custom t-shirts, jerseys, and other apparel products, or it can be printed and cut on a flatbed cutter and applied as a decorative, non-permanent floor graphic. This type of vinyl is available at most craft and office supply stores, but it can also be purchased online or through a large commercial printing company.

Printable vinyl is coated with a special solvent that allows the inks to transfer onto the material. Once the inks have been transferred, the solvent layer evaporates, leaving the adhesive on the bottom of the vinyl. The resulting vinyl is a highly durable, waterproof, and weatherproof film that can be used in a variety of ways.

When used as a floor graphic, one-step print vinyl can help businesses create branded spaces that are both functional and stylish. This type of vinyl can be applied to a variety of surfaces, including sealed wood, vinyl, and tile. It can also be applied to carpeted surfaces for a unified, consistent look. One-step print vinyl does not require the use of an overlaminate, which helps businesses reduce costs and production time while delivering quality graphics that are easy to install and maintain.

While a variety of tools can be used to remove excess vinyl from the design, the most effective way is to use a weeding hook. A weeding hook is designed to be sharp and precise, which allows it to easily cut away the vinyl without damaging the surrounding surface. This tool can be found at many craft and hobby stores or purchased as an accessory for your existing cutter.

With the right printer/cutter, you can produce high-end floor graphics that are both aesthetically pleasing and functional. For example, with the VersaUV LEC2 series of UV printers/cutters, you can create decor and other products that mimic hardwood and tile to create faux rugs, accents, and entire floors. The machines’ Gloss ink effects also enable you to add raised textures and realistic and eye-catching patterns.

Categories: General

Nicolas Desjardins

Hello everyone, I am the main writer for SIND Canada. I've been writing articles for more than 12 years and I like sharing my knowledge. I'm currently writing for many websites and newspapers. I always keep myself very informed to give you the best information. All my years as a computer scientist made me become an incredible researcher. You can contact me on our forum or by email at [email protected].