Wrap Vs Paint - The Never Ending Debate

Wrap Vs Paint - The Never Ending Debate

          In the world of vehicle customisation, there seems to be a never ending debate between the choice of Vinyl Wraps and Vehicle Paint. Paint has been around for much longer than wraps have but in the short time wraps have existed, the innovation and quality in the product has only improved. Wraps have rapidly grown in popularity for a number of reasons, namely its DIY capability being much more user friendly than paint.

Is Vinyl Wrap or Spray Paint More Expensive?

          Both Vinyl Wrap and Paint have a very large range of costs. While both Vinyl Wraps and Paints come in many different grades of quality, the materials themselves do not alone dictate the cost of the work. The preparation of your vehicle and the work involved are the primary factors in the cost of both Vinyl Wraps and Paints. You might be quoted as low as $3,000 for a re-spray of your vehicle, but a “proper” re-spray that will last potentially the lifetime of your vehicle requires an extensive process that costs a minimum of $10,000 to complete. Many of our customers bring in a vehicle with bad paint that is either faded or peeling after only five years. This is likely because they didn’t purchase a proper re-spray and went for the cheaper option. 

A poor spray paint job with visible streaks across the hood.

          There is also a misconception between Re-spray and Factory Paint. Factory Paint and Re-spray are not the same thing. Factory paint lasts a very long time because it's done using a very different method where the paint is essentially “baked” into the vehicle at a temperature of at least 130 degrees Celsius. Many customers may expect a re-spray to achieve a similar look and lifetime of a Factory Paint Job; this is false.

Why Is Paint So Much More Expensive?

          It might surprise you to hear that paint isn’t intrinsically more expensive than vinyl. Properly painting your vehicle may cost double or triple the cost of a vinyl wrap from a professional auto stylist, but this is not due to the cost of the materials. It is due to all the time, work and preparation involved in the task as well as having an environment it can be properly done in. It’s true that these factors also apply to vinyl wrapping, however with painting it’s on a much larger scale.

          Painting and Vinyl Wrapping both require preparation of the surface and existing vehicle paint but with vinyl, this is usually a matter of thoroughly cleaning down the surface. With paint you have to spend hours or days of work sanding and cleaning and masking and sanding and cleaning again. The car needs to be spotless for the paint to correctly adhere to your vehicle which means the environment you work in also needs to be spotless. If the environment needs to be spotless, then you also need to consider how air can flow in and out of the environment without bringing more contaminants in. It’s an incredibly difficult and complicated process. 

Vinyl Wraps require a range of sophisticated tools for correct application.

          As for the application, both methods have their own specialised tools involved. Paint however, requires multiple coats of paint which requires drying periods in between for what can feel like an endless amount of time. Vinyl Wrap is much more friendly to work with on a more sensitive time scale because it doesn’t require multiple coats. Finally there is cleanup and with wrapping all you’re really left with is big sheets of paper that you can recycle. With paint, cleanup involves unmasking the car, cleaning the paint out of your tools, removing the sand from sanding and so much more.

What Is Orange Peel?

          Paint suffers from a texture imperfection known as “orange peel” which makes the paint look wavy and blurry as it reflects light in different angles around the imperfection. A cut and polish of your vehicle will correct this imperfection resulting in a smooth and polished texture. Vinyl Wrap on the other hand cannot be cut and polished to correct orange peel. Vinyl Wrap will reflect the orange peel of the existing vehicle paint. If the underlying paint is free of orange peel, then the Vinyl Wrap will have little to no orange peel visible. This is why we require a proper detail of your vehicle before work can commence.

Before and after orange peel correction.

What Types of Vinyl Wrap are there?

          Vinyl Wrap is infamous for its range of colours, finishes and design potential. Colour shifts, patterns, gloss, metallic, pearl, satin or iridescents are only the beginning for how limitless the possibilities are for this choice of customisation. Vinyl Wrap has changed the game in making your wildest ideas possible for the general public without needing to break the bank compared to a professional paint job. Paint has a much longer turnaround time than Vinyl Wrap.

Why Choose Vinyl Wrap?

          Vinyl Wrap is a much better vehicle protectant than paint. While it is true that an expensive paint job has the potential to last the lifetime of the vehicle, there is an equally expensive repairability factor to consider.  Vinyl Wrap protects your vehicle from debris, scratches, environmental damage, harmful UV rays and more. More modern wraps also have the potential to self-heal, hiding scratches over time with exposure to sun. It’s more easily replaceable when damaged than paint as well, as you only need to replace the damaged portion of the wrap. You can remove and install a wrap multiple times and never once damage the paint through the process. Unique Colours and finishes like colour shift wraps are even more expensive to reproduce with paint; and some wrap finishes are unique and cannot be replicate with paint.

Our Belmont Facility stocks hundreds of vinyl wrap options with various finishes complete with swatch books and samples.

          The best advantage of Vinyl Wrap is its removability. If you’re unsatisfied with the wrap or simply wish to change up the design, you can do so with ease by removing the wrap. This easily makes it the most efficient choice for those who prefer regularly changing seasonal designs without compromise for quality. Although it may sound backwards, our shorter term wraps have a tendency to have a higher quality finish than our longer lasting wraps. Vinyl Wraps are the best solution for maintaining the resale value of your vehicle. Not only will the wrap protect your underlying paint from the elements, it can easily be removed at any time. Painting a vehicle, regardless of the cost and quality, will immediately depreciate the value of your car. This is why you will see expensive luxury cars wrapped more often than painted.

Can Vinyl Wrap Look As Good As Paint?

          As long as there is a belief that wraps can never compete with a good paint job, there will forever be indecision on what choice to make. Wraps can look indistinguishable or even better than paint if installed correctly and professionally. A Vinyl Wrap is only as good as the surface it adheres to. The preparation involved in the surface and existing paint will reflect in the quality of the wrap. In order for a wrap to look its best, the vehicle needs to be at its best. If you plan on wrapping a vehicle, rough spots and imperfections will not be covered up or hidden by the wrap; instead they will inhibit proper vinyl adhesion. 

          Even brand new cars driven straight off the lot will have imperfections in the paint. There are reasons for this beyond the belief that companies are simply cutting corners on their paint jobs. Even professional paint jobs will have some degree of user error as imperfections are sometimes very difficult to notice. A “flawless” coat of paint is almost a guaranteed impossibility.

Should I Wrap or Paint My Vehicle?

          Regardless of how much of the car you plan to customise, even just the door will require at minimum days of turnaround time for a paint job due to waiting for multiple coats to harden. If your task is time sensitive, then a Vinyl Wrap is the easy choice. If you’re looking to keep the resale value of your vehicle, then you should absolutely not paint your vehicle. If you’re looking to customise a fleet of vehicles for your business, then wraps make this a very time and cost effective process.

          In order for a wrap to be successful, there needs to be a quality canvas to work with. If your car has poor paint quality, you’re better off painting your vehicle because a wrap will not hide imperfections. Wraps are more cost efficient than painting your vehicle and easily removable and replaceable.

          Regardless of the choice you make, ensure that your vehicle is properly detailed with a quality coat of paint and the work is done by a trained professional. Ignoring costs, both paints and wraps can look excellent as long as the surface is correctly prepared. Consider a wrap and detail today with AutoSpec Autostyling.