I get quite a few clients asking what the difference is between matte and glossy vinyl. Usually the call or email comes after they’ve received their order and it didn’t stick on their intended surface, or it looks different than they expected.
What type of vinyl should I use?
This all depends on whether the vinyl will be going indoors or outdoors, what the intended surface is, and the length of time you plan to leave the vinyl on the surface. Below I’ve outlined the difference between matte and glossy vinyl. Mainly, the differences are the adhesive and the finish.
Adhesive difference between matte and glossy vinyl
Glossy on left; Matte on right.
The adhesive on the matte vinyl is water-based and meant to be temporary or removable at some point. This makes the matte vinyl ideal for indoor wall decals. On smooth indoor walls, the matte vinyl will stick until you simply peel it off.
Because the matte vinyl adhesive is water-based, the outdoor life expectancy is two years, according to the manufacturer. This time frame also depends on temperature and direct sunlight. Heat dries out the adhesive and the vinyl will crack and peel off. Therefore, matte vinyl is not recommended for Car Decals.
The adhesive on the glossy vinyl is solvent-based and meant to be permanent. Using glossy vinyl indoors is risky because the adhesive may pull the paint off the wall when trying to remove the vinyl. I only recommend using the glossy vinyl if your wall texture doesn’t allow the matte vinyl to stick.
The glossy vinyl was specifically manufactured for outdoor use. We offer two different kinds of glossy vinyl; Oracal 651 and Oracal 751. The glossy 651 vinyl has an outdoor life expectancy of 4-6 years. The glossy 751 vinyl has an outdoor life expectancy of 7-10 years.
Finish Difference Between Matte and Glossy Vinyl
A good comparison of the two finish types can be seen in your leather shoes. Specifically black patent leather shoes versus regular black leather or suede shoes. The patent leather is very smooth finish with a coat of clear gloss over the color. Glossy vinyl looks similar and also reflects the light in the same way as your patent leather shoes or your glossy photographs. Take a look at the image. The black vinyl roll on the left is glossy. The black vinyl roll on the right is matte.
Matte vinyl has a smooth finish with no overcoat just like a regular pair of leather shoes or a matte finish photograph. Matte vinyl does not glare under indoor lighting.
For more information on the difference between matte and glossy vinyl, you can check out our other blog posts. For specific information on what type of vinyl is best for your intended surface, please contact us or post your question or comment below so everyone can benefit.