Choosing the Right Squeegee

One thing that is often overlooked by many installers is that all adhesive backed graphic materials require pressure in order to stay down. Hence the term, pressure sensitive adhesive.  With today's air-egress vinyl it's easy to miss burnishing some of the adhesive contact areas of the graphic.  Not all squeegees are created equal so choose wisely and choose the squeegee that filts best with the media and substrate you are working with. 

When applying air-egress vinyl to a hard surface it is recommended you use a medium hard squeegee with a slide-able sleeve or nylon tape to avoid scratching the gloss overlaminate.  Top pick: A good nylon squeegee is flexible and is the perfect hardness for burnishing down the adhesive channels.

When applying window graphics we recommend a soft felt squeegee.  The softness of the felt prohibits you from scratching the gloss overlaminate, leaving it completely optically clear for see-through.  Another advantage of the felt squeegee is that it is felxable and will allow you to bend and conform the vinyl around curves without stretching the media.

Though it is a dimishing application, applying plotter-cut vinyl is still part of the business.  Using the right squeegee can make this task easy and less time consuming.  On slightly curved surfaces many installers will use felt squeegees to assist going over shapes.  However, on flat, rigid surfaces it is best to use a hard teflon or plastic squeegee to force out the air.

In the end which type of squeegee you choose is a personal preference for all applications but squeegee care will be vital to your success.  If you prefer a hard squeegee always make sure the edges are sharp and free of nicks or rough spots, and change your felt sleeves or mylon tape often to guarantee a consistent edge.  A good craft store will sell various types of felts and fabrics that will help you get the most from your squeegee.