Car wrap has become a popular alternative to repainting, custom paint work or even protective paint coatings such as ceramic coating. Vinyl wraps offer an extra layer of physical protection to help safeguard car paint from damage such as scratches from rock chips and other debris that can get thrown up from the road.
Black vinyl car wrap has become particularly popular over the years, and especially matte black car wrap. What’s the appeal of this color style in particular? Why do people even want it on their car in the first place? What benefits does it bring to a car? In today’s blog, we are exploring these core questions, among other points. If you are looking for pricing details, check out our article on how much car wraps cost .
What is Black Car Wrap?
Black car wrap is one color among many in the world of vinyl. From colorless to bright pink, from vivid orange to sinister black, wraps come in all colors and styles. The transparent colorless version is often known as “clear bra,” or just “paint protection film.” It’s the least aesthetically impacting of the family. There are a ton of different options for manufacturers, with differing quality levels and pricing, but 3M is a great option on the high-end.
Colored vinyl wrapping materials such as black car wrap is a way not only to protect your car’s paint, but also drastically change the way it looks on the outside. The vinyl material is sold in rolls by manufacturers such as 3M. Service providers purchase the material and then apply it to a car one section at a time. While there are many different colors, there are still only two broad styles - gloss and matte.
The shiny gloss coatings are popular for their vivid colors and massive visual impact. Matte colors are often chosen by those who want to tone down the color palette somewhat, and give a different more subtle aesthetic to a vehicle that still sets it apart from many of its fellow models from the same brand.
Application of black car wrap is not a simple matter, even though the professionals who do it can make it look quite easy. It involves careful placement of the film, as well as cutting and flattening it to remove any trace of bubbles or unevenness. We’ll deal with how the films are applied in more detail in the next section.
Aesthetic VS. Function
Black car wrap is applied to cars for two main reasons, firstly to alter the aesthetic of the vehicle and secondly to offer protection to the original paint underneath. The look of the car is changed firstly in color and shine if glossy black is applied. It is a good way to get an instant gloss black if the original paint has faded over time. In that sense, it provides a new lease of life for older cars. It can also add a strong degree of shine to those cars with regular or generic paint without the pleasing sheen of metallic or pearlescent coatings.
As for function, the film acts as an effective paint protection measure and an alternative to polymer-based coatings like ceramic coatings. It can also work to preserve the original paint and keep it looking nice, which when it comes to resale can mean a better price is possible. It’s hard to say which factors more in people’s choice of car wrap as it will undoubtedly differ from buyer to buyer.
One other aspect of vinyl wrapping for cars --- regardless of color or style --- is that it is not a permanent modification. Though it’s not a completely straightforward process, and it has to be carried out with care, it is perfectly possible to remove car vinyl wrap. It could be that you want to change the wrap color or style, or it could be that you want to restore the car to OEM specifications because you want to sell it.
What is Matte Black Car Wrap?
Matte black car wrap is a variant of vinyl car wrap with a solid black matte finish instead of a glossy one. It has an interesting effect on cars since it simultaneously softens the color, making it more subtle compared to a shiny gloss finish, but also makes it stand out since every other car is glossy. This tends to have an effect of accentuating the curves and the sharp lines of a vehicle.
How is Matte Black Car Wrap Applied?
Step 1: Preparation
The first step the pros take is to prepare the car and work surface. They need to remove trims, liners, handles, moldings and anything else that could potentially get in the way of the task. They then map out the surface and start thinking about the different shapes and sizes of various sections that will have to be covered in the film. Make sure you get the right amount of vinyl if you are doing it yourself!
Step 2: Measure and Cut
Film is measured and then about 5 inches are added to that measurement. They cut off too much because if it’s too long or wide, then it can be trimmed to fit. If it’s too short or exactly the right size but applied wrongly, then nothing can be done about that. They’ll go around the various sections, measuring and cutting vinyl wrap as needed.
Step 3: Lay the Vinyl Wrap
Once the pieces are measured and cut, and the surface is clean, then the application process can begin. The back layer is peeled off to reveal the adhesive layer on the back. It is then laid down carefully with the edges lifted. Starting in the center, one can smooth down the film, pushing all air out to the sides. A squeegee is then used along with a heat gun to reveal trapped air and push it out to the sides.
Step 4: Cut and Tuck
Next, with the vinyl smooth, the excess 4-5 inches that were added at the measuring stage need to be trimmed to size. The professionals normally cut it down to about a quarter of a centimeter (0.1 inch), being extremely careful not to accidentally cut the car in the process. The small edges can then be tucked away and smooth out any wrinkles. A heat gun comes in handy at this stage, too.
Step 5: Heat and Set
The heat gun is applied in the final step to ensure that the wrap is applied properly and evenly. If any of the material comes away from the surface, then it has to be reapplied.
Black Vinyl Car Wrap - What are the Benefits?
First of all, “black is the new black.” The color black never seems to go out of style, and car manufacturers still tend to create special versions of their popular models with the trim name “Black Edition” or something similar. Black paint, black alloy wheels, tinted rear windows, black leather interiors, piano black finishes across the dash and center stack panels...the list goes on. Black never fails to please in the automotive world, and a nice black vinyl car wrap can add a lot to the looks of your vehicle.
Second, black vinyl car wrap will provide physical protection to your paint in ways that polymer coatings won’t. Though it’s not thick like a hard plastic shell, it does provide a physical barrier between paint and anything that could scratch it, meaning that damage happens to the vinyl and not the original paint. Some vinyls are very advanced and can even “self heal” by concealing scratches and scuff marks under a rearrangement of their particles.
Next, as paint protection goes, it is cheaper than other options, especially if you have the skill and know-how to apply it yourself. A full car installation can cost just $500 and the time you’re willing to spend on the job, and possibly less in monetary terms depending on what type of film you purchase. That’s perhaps easier said than done, but many point out that properly applying black vinyl car wrap is easier than it is to properly apply professional-grade ceramic coating.
Is there a Downside to Black Car Wrap?
Wrapping the car in a different color is cheaper than it is to do a full repainting of the original bodywork. That takes first stripping down the color, priming the surface, and respraying. All in all it easily runs into the many thousands of dollars depending on the size of your car. So, even though it’s not the most expensive option, it’s hardly a very cheap one, either, especially if you lack the skill or experience to get the job done yourself. This brings us to the next point.
Applying the black vinyl car wrap is a painstaking process that takes time and skill. The film has to be laid out, measured, cut and then stuck onto the surface without leaving any air bubbles or imperfections. It has to apply as evenly and seamlessly as the car’s original paint does. There are tools that are needed, and a lot of time and patience invested into it. A lot of this can outweigh even the financial savings that we mentioned further above.
One other small drawback is that if you apply vinyl wrap without first fixing imperfections in the paint such as chips or scratches, then they can actually become more pronounced when the film is placed over them and stuck down.