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How is Paint Protection Film Installed?



If you're going to have PPF installed, there are a few options – but regardless of which one you choose, it's always a professional jobMost of the professional PPF installers are also vinyl wrap or custom autobody services. The larger companies use a machine called a plotter – which actually pre-cut the vinyl in sections which makes installing much easier and form-fitting.

However – the majority of professional PPF installation companies are forced to use a bulk roll of film, which complicates the installation process and actually leads to a lot of wasted material. The installation process is always unique and customized based on the brand or paint protection film; as each manufacturer has different procedures they recommend.

Generally speaking, the installation of PPF follows these steps:

Clean and prep the surface. Most installers use a good degreasing agent to remove debris, but not remove wax or polish. In fact, some will actually complete a detailed wax and polish before installing to improve the shine.

Cut the PPF material to fit sections. Once the car paint is prepped, the installer will cut PPF material for an installation. It's similar in design to window tint. Most of the time, they will install in sections, such as a hood, rocker panels, quarter panel, side mirrors, door, or other section less than 5 feet square. After they’ve cut the film, they’ll line it up and prepare for installation.

Spray fitting solution. Installing PPF requires an activator – which is called fitting solution. This allows the PPF to activate a "glue-like" substance, which is what causes it to stick to the paint surface. Again, depending on the brand of PPF, the fitting solution can range from simple water to a soap-like substance.

Fitting and applying. This is where the experience comes into play. PPF doesn't just fit perfectly when it's applied. In fact, it's a lot more complicated to install than vinyl. The process of installing PPF involves a series of spraying – squeegee – and moving the PPF. When it's in the right position, the installer will use the squeegee to remove bubbles or creases in the film.

Drying. Once the PPF has been applied, and all bubbles and creases are gone, the final step is drying or heat-activating. They use an industrial heat gun which activates the adhesive and causes the PPF to stick to the body. It also shrinks the material and creates a tight fit.