How to Select the Correct Overlaminate Film for Your Project

4 Minute Read
Posted by Nekoosa on 2/11/21 7:45 AM

What is an overlaminate film and how do you select the right one for the job at hand? Calendered vinyl, polyester or polycarbonate? Which material best suits your needs? Let's break down the features and benefits of each overlaminate material to help refine your choices.

Overlaminates enhance a graphic's overall depth while protecting printed materials from UV radiation, environmental elements and general abuse. These pressure activated, high-performance permanent adhesive films are made in the U.S.A. and adhere to flat and simple curves. Aside from the protection factor, overlaminates add to the overall thickness of a graphic making it easier to handle and apply. (SEE ALSO: Nekoosa's Mojave Overlaminate Films Portfolio)

In addition, overlaminates can be used when wanting to change the appearance of a graphic by adding an extra finishing touch. 

What Types of Overlaminates are Included in Nekoosa's Overlaminate Film Portfolio?

Calendered Vinyl Overlaminate Films - The portfolio includes 3.2 mil calendered vinyls available in gloss, matte and/or luster finishes with a new 78# paper liner for improved wet out performance. These overlaminates are rated for <4 years of outdoor use and are equipped with enhanced UV protection. They are versatile and great for everyday use!

We also offer 4 mil clear, double polished and 6 mil semi-rigid clear embossed option that is UL 410 slip resistant certified for floor graphic overlaminates. These calendered vinyl overlaminate films are paired with a clear polyester film liner that keeps the adhesive smooth and prevents orange peel. The best part? It's suitable for indoor floor graphics <6 months and withstands normal floor maintenance and cleaning.

Polycarbonate Overlaminate Films - Available in 3, 5 and 10 mil with a velvet matte finish, these films, formerly known as RTape Eclypse™ are equipped with a polyester film and are rated for <2 years of outdoor use. Polycarbonate overlaminates also do a great job of keeping adhesive smooth and preventing orange peel. In addition, the clear non-yellowing permanent solvent adhesive makes for brilliant clarity. They are durable, thick and scratch resistant - perfect for roll up banners, trade show panels, gas pump skirts and warning labels.

Polyester Overlaminate Films - Our 1 mil and 2 mil polyester overlaminates offer a high gloss, scratch resistant finish and are rated for <4 years of indoor use. For your ever changing point-of-purchase messaging, we recommend using our 1 mil option with a dry erase coating. It’s perfect for frequently updating menu boards and restaurant signage.

How do you Choose an Overlaminate?

First off, determine where you are installing your graphic. Are you applying a graphic to floors, walls or windows? Consequently, are you using Premium Vinyl? Walk-On Graphics®? Or perhaps Sign-Ad®? Knowing your base material sets the precedence for choosing your overlaminate. It's recommended that you choose an overlaminate film that is of equal or lesser mil thickness than that of your base substrate. 

The short answer? We recommend using a gloss overlaminate to draw attention to your graphics, matte for wayward or directional signage that needs to be read easily and luster as a good combination of the two, depending on preference.

For ever changing point of purchase messaging, we recommend using our polyester 1 mil optically clear overlaminate. Equipped with a dry erase top coat, it's perfect for frequently updating menu boards or restaurant signage. For a high gloss, scratch resistant option, try our 2 mil polyester overlaminate. Intended for high traffic, abrasion resistant areas, it's ideal for grocery stores, convenient stores and doors.

For roll up banners, trade show panels, gas pump skirts and warning labels, we suggest our polycarbonate 3, 5 and 10 mil velvet matte finish. Formerly known as RTape Eclypse™, this overlaminate is rated for <2 years of outdoor use and is durable, thick and scratch resistant.

Read more about Nekoosa's Overlaminate Films Portfolio HERE.