Window graphics are a great way for retail shops and businesses on the street to attract people passing by. Whether on foot, bike, or car, splashy graphics and exciting verbiage can turn any window into a virtual billboard, a canvas for the shop owner to advertise what’s inside with eye-catching clarity.
Even though Minnesota does not get cold weather year round, when winter does come, it can be colder than most other parts of the United States. Still, our customers don’t stop changing store hours or moving to new business locations just because the thermometer falls, so this presents an interesting challenge for our Signarama St. Paul customers: how can we best install window graphics so that they last for years to come, even throughout the harshest of winters?
Cold air affects the plasticity (conformability) of the face film and limits the “flow” of the underlying adhesive layer, so we use external heat in the form of a heat gun or propane torch to apply window graphics below the “Goldilocks” temperature zone of 50-80 degrees Farenheit.
The surface temperature of the glass must be above 45 degrees Fahrenheit for the window graphics to stick properly. As long as it isn’t too windy, we utilize the artificial hear source to SLOWLY and CAREFULLY heat the glass until it is warm to the touch, then apply the graphics.
We’ve had great success applying cut vinyl graphics to glass using these techniques in colder months, but have found perforated vinyl graphics to be much more fickle. This type of graphic — since it is full of tiny holes already — typically doesn’t last as long even when applied at optimal temperatures using an edge sealer. In Minnesota, we’ve found that window perf typically looks good for about 2-3 years before the cold, the cycling temperatures, and changing humidity levels all begin contributing to a declining life span for the graphic.
For more information on window graphics for cold climates, or any type of weather, you can visit the Signarama website. You can also find the Signarama store nearest you with our online store locator.