How to prevent stickers from peeling off?

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Are you frustrated by your stickers peeling or falling off prematurely? This is a common issue most people face when dealing with stickers, an issue that is caused by multiple factors such as temperature, surface, sticker material and more.

For 40 years Signprint has been in the decal and sticker industry supplying to various industries across the country. We have helped clients solve this problem before and we understand that other people might be dealing with the same issue, hence this article will detail all the reasons for the adhesive not working as intended and the various solutions we personally used to prevent stickers from peeling off.

 

The most common reasons stickers peel off and how to prevent them.

The reasons behind stickers peeling off are as follows:

1. Adhesive

The adhesive is what makes the label stick. It is a semi fluid with adhesive properties that is used to sticker things like stickers onto a surface. The strength of the adhesive bond varies, from strong adhesives in high tack stickers, to temporary adhesive in reusable stickers.

When the sticker is applied to a surface, the initial bond formed is called a tack and this bond strengthens as the adhesive hardens overtime. When the sticker is properly set the bond formed is called ultimate tack, this means that the sticker has formed the strongest bond it can with the surface and will last much longer. When a sticker loses its “tack” that is when it starts peeling off.

Solution

When choosing a sticker, one with a high ultimate tack will last much longer and not peel as easily, but it is important to give the adhesive time to set which helps it stick better and last longer.

Apply the sticker using the wet application method if it allows for it. The adhesive bonds formed is much stronger after applying the sticker using this application method.

 

2. Temperature

Another factor that affects the strength of adhesion is the temperature. This can be the temperature of the environment, the machine or the surface where the sticker is applied. The effect of temperature on stickers is different than the effects of UV radiation.

When a sticker is subject to high temperatures then the adhesive starts to melt, this reaction is used to help apply stickers onto a surface as once the adhesive is given time to set and harden the sticker will not peel easily. This reaction is also used to remove stickers, as when the adhesive melts due to the heat, the bond between the film and the surface weakens causing the sticker to start peeling.

Temperature of the environment and the surface that the sticker is applied affects the adhesion in a similar fashion hence it needs to be taken into consideration.Stickers and labels working in such extreme environments and near chemicals tend to be made of highly resistant material with high tack adhesive meant for such environment.

Solution

Certain films and sticker materials have an optimal range of application and service temperature hence it is a good idea to request a “spec sheet” so you can have an accurate knowledge of what temperature is ideal for the application process and range of temperature that it can withstand before being damaged.

Checking the extreme temperature ranges that the sticker can withstand is crucial when deciding the type of sticker to use. The stickers should also be stored away from heat or cold when not in use.

 

3. Surface 

Stickers are applied to various types of surfaces from organic matter like fruits to materials like metal and glass. The properties of the surface, such as texture, shape, and material type, can influence the adhesion strength.

Surfaces with rough or porous textures make it difficult for the adhesion to form a bond as the surface is uneven and the adhesion is not able to completely spread over the surface area.

Contaminants like dirt and dust on the surface can affect the initial bonding process causing the adhesive to stick to the dirt and peel off at the corners.

Freshly painted walls and certain types of paint like glossy or silk paint have properties that resist solvents and adhesives hence it is best to know what kind of paint is used on the surface and if it will affect the sticker adhesion.

Solution

Clean and wipe down the surface before applying.

Use high tack stickers if it needs to be applied to materials such a fibre or rubber as the stronger adhesive prevents the stickers from peeling off.

If the wall or surface is freshly painted then let the paint dry properly before applying the sticker.

4. Sticker material

Another major reason for sticker peeling off is due to the material used for the sticker. Materials that are not resistant to extreme environment tend to deteriorate quick and start cracking or peeling off.

Some materials such as monomeric vinyl try to go back to its original shape, causing shrinkage. This shrinkage can cause the stickers edges to peel off and curve.

Solution

Each sticker materials has their own strength and limitation, hence choosing the correct sticker material for the job can make a big difference and add to the lifespan and durability. You can check our article on 5 different types of sticker material for more information on these material types.

Polypropylene and polyester stickers are highly resistant and are good options. You can also laminate the material which adds to the resistance of the sticker and prevent it from peeling off.

 

5. Application Method

The final reason for sticker peeling off is due to the skills of the installer applying the sticker. Improper sticker application process can lead to creation of air bubbles, creases on the sticker and loss of adhesion due to multiple attempts at application all of which results in a decreased sticker lifespan.

Solution

Hire a professional installer to apply your stickers, especially if the sticker is large or needs to be applied onto a surface that is not easily accessible.

If you are applying the stickers by yourself then the wet application method is recommended as it is beginner friendly, but make sure that the sticker and surface type allows for this method . The liquid and cold also helps strengthen the adhesive bond preventing your stickers from peeling off if the sticker is given time to set.

 

Alternate options

There are a few alternate options you can try to keep your sticker from peeling off.

  1. Using high quality resistant vinyl stickers with high tack and a laminate can give the stickers a lifespan of 3-12 years or more depending on the quality.
  2. Using stencils and paint instead of sticker as they do not peel off and cannot be removed as easily.
  3. Using glue or adhesive spray to re-stick the label or sticker back when it peels off, this is not ideal for wall stickers or decals.

Want our recommendation?

Stickers are not permanent and will eventually fall off, but the right sticker can last lost enough for the job to be complete. If you are looking for long lasting stickers with strong adhesives custom made for your needs, then contact us and we will help you out. Our contact info is available here.

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