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Vinyl Wrap vs. Plasti Dip vs. Paint

The automotive industry is constantly evolving with the latest technological advances, scientist developing the most intricate solutions, engineers architecting the most comprehensive designs, there is always something new / innovative and car builders and car show competitors are always looking to be different within the car show circuit. What can I do to my ride to stand out? As a business – What can we do to make our product stand out? Vinyl Wrap vs. Plasti Dip vs. Paint is the question?

The latest trend that is hitting social media hard is vinyl wrapping cars. One of the biggest proponents is because of the #paintisdead network, enthusiasts not understanding it is a community who is promoting the vinyl wrap product versus the latter thought of the community trying to be cretinous.

13-Three Motorsports Audi WrapVinyl Wrap

If you’ve ever tried to apply numbers to a autocross car or a race car, chances are you have dealt with trapped air bubbles and crooked results. Today’s top-adhesive-vinyl technology is much more advanced, allowing professionals and DIY installers get great-looking results.

Modern adhesive reaches its most sticky state after 24 hours, making it repositionable. The vinyl itself, a highly formable “cast” vinyl, has channels to allow air to escape, eliminating bubbles. A factory laminate coating can make the vinyl wrap last up to 10 years. Vinyl called supercast can stretch up to 40 percent, so it can be molded around curves and sharp bumper edges.

Pricing to have an entire car wrapped is much less than having a car painted. There is still a good amount of prep involved, but with today’s vinyl being much easier to work with a car can be knocked out in no time.

In addition to the cost being cheaper the skies the limit as to what can be done with vinyl. Businesses can have their logo embossed into the vehicle as well as flat colors overlay with gloss colors can set the vehicle apart from the rest. Different colors, designs, you name it, it can be done.

The million dollar question is, why wrap over paint? We headed over to the website and we didn’t have to look far to find the answer:

via The heated question. Why should you wrap your car instead of painting it? Let’s take a step back from that, and look at these as two different kinds of options, and why wrapping a car may be a better choice for you.

First things first. Resale. If you plan on reselling your vehicle, many times an aftermarket paint jobs can degrade the value of a vehicle. By choosing to wrap, not only will you be able to go back to the factory color, but you will keep it protected the entire time. Wraps are meant to last an easy 5 to 7 years while keeping a protective bubble over your original finish. This level of protection helps against everything from weathering and natural hazards to chips, scratches, and even bug damage. Your paint will have the ability to age naturally without fading from sun exposure.

While customers that prefer paint, will always prefer it that way, others are looking for something completely outside of the box, like textured wraps, or chrome wraps. Wraps are able to achieve textures like brushed aluminum, carbon fiber, alligator skin, and leather. Chrome wraps bring a whole new hand to the table with mirror like finishes. Matte wraps are also at a huge advantage, as they lay perfectly even without any worry of the unreliability of matte paint. There are literally hundreds of options when choosing a wrap, all 100% reversible.

The cost of a wrap varies depending on the type of material, and vehicle it will be installed on, but many like to compare the quality of finish a wrap provides to a comparable paint finish. Where a quality paint job can range literally from $1000 to $10,000.. a wrap can price anywhere from $500 to $4000+. A much more cost efficient way to customize a car around your lifestyle.


I had the opportunity to visit our friends at 13-Three Motorsports to witness them laying down some vinyl. I have to tell you the process is pretty impressive and the vinyl appears to be easy to work with. It stretched easily and adheres with no issues. There is prep involved to remove trim, handles, mirrors, etc., so there is a good bit of time involved prepping just like paint or plasti dip, but not nearly as much time.

Plasti Dip®

Plasti Dip International, the makers of Performix Brand products, has been developing and manufacturing its own specialty flexible, rubberized and protective foam coatings and adhesives since 1972. It all started with the most well known product in their line, Plasti Dip®. This DO-IT-YOURSELF rubberized dip protective coating product allowed the average consumer to begin coating and protecting all sorts of items around the home from tool handles to art and crafts.

Plasti Dip® and its companion flexible protective coating products soon became available in retail outlets all over the world creating the opportunity for those in various industries to come in contact with these innovative protective coating products. Since then they have developed hundreds of specialty protective coating products making many of the things you use everyday, better and longer lasting.

The Plasti Dip® application is well known on 4X4 vehicles, for it’s tremendous protection against body panels, etc. although several colors are available for the product, Plasti Dip® will color match is needed as they state on their website.

via In many cases we have several colors available in the product you need. If you can supply us with a 2”x 2” color chip or Pantone number we can check our color books to see if we have the color you’re looking for, something very close or tell you we would need to perform a color match. We aren’t the local paint store and it’s not as simple as picking out a paint chip and waiting 15 minutes for your product however we have a good system and if you contact us we can get you started. We do have a 5 gallon minimum for custom color orders of our coatings and adhesives.


2003 Corolla S House of Kolors Ice Blue PearlPaint

Let me start out by saying this… #paintisnotdead

…I’m sure my automotive body shop and paint buddies will appreciate that. Let me set the record straight, there is no replacement for paint when it comes to automotive customization and the car show industry. The amount of time to prep, paint, and refinish a vehicle and to get that high-gloss (or whatever the desired application is) look and knowing the amount of work that it took to get to that point is recognized by ALL true enthusiasts across the industry.

BASF is one of the major players when it comes to aftermarket paint and all vehicle applications for that matter.

via BASF’s website: BASF’s Automotive Refinish business makes and markets the finest coatings available for the collision repair, commercial fleet and automotive specialty markets. BASF Glasurit®, R-M® and LIMCO® paint products are supported by technical training programs, advanced color information systems and business management seminars. The company is an industry leader in eBusiness and offers a wide array of Internet-based color-management, business management and facility planning tools.


House of Kolors is another leader for many years in the aftermarket paint industry.

via House of Kolors website: House of Kolor® was founded in 1956 by world-renowned custom painter, Jon Kosmoski. Jon had rebuilt a ’40 Chevy Coupe and took it to the best paint shop in town. After having the car returned to him with a less than satisfactory paint job from the “best” shop in town, Jon knew it could be done better and decided to learn how. Jon quickly became well-known for his skills as a custom painter, however, he was displeased with the problematic nitrocellulose laquers and alkyd enamels of that day, which would sometimes sun-fade or cold-crack.

Jon wanted something better and if it wasn’t out there out then he would have to invent it. Together with a doctor in polymer chemistry Jon set out to produce custom paints that wouldn’t tarnish, crack or sun-fade, even in severe climates or radical temperature changes. In addition, it would withstand the many coats required for a custom job.

When Jon’s products and skills came together his paint jobs began to win awards, and people began to talk. Word spread and by 1965 House of Kolor® was nationally renowned as the high-caliber paint for customizing vehicles.

In 1997 House of Kolor® became part of the Valspar Automotive Coatings Division. Jon continues to play an important role in House of Kolor®. He travels around the world conducting training classes, and continues to share his innovative ideas, helping to keep House of Kolor® on the leading edge of custom automotive coatings.

House of Kolor® maintains its integrity and reputation as a leader in the custom coatings industry by using only the finest ingredients in the production of its award-winning paint products. Our unique product line gives custom painters the freedom to use their imaginations to design, invent, and create “one of a kind” custom paint jobs.


Conclusion – Vinyl Wrap vs. Plasti Dip vs. Paint

There’s an application for everyone. Whether you choose wrap, plasti dip or paint, as long as it is applied properly and you like the final product, who cares what others think…OK OK, we ALL say we don’t care what others think, but we do, otherwise we would keep our rides locked up in the garage and wouldn’t be showing it off at shows.

So when you see the hashtag #paintisdead, understand that is a network created to promote the fast growing popularity of vinyl wrapping vehicles, not an ignorant jab at painters or folks who prefer plasti dip.

Being involved in the industry one way or another for many years I personally can appreciate a car that is well-rounded when it comes to modifications, particularly a well painted one. My ’03 Corolla is a House of Kolors Ice Blue Pearl with a black base, but I am not bias to paint; however, I do realize when I enter a show knowing the amount of time that has gone into my paint will help in the competition. Ultimately a well-built/modded car is a car that should be judged in its entirety. Taking into consideration what the vehicle was built for: Off-roading, track, show, etc. Being open-minded and understanding that most modifications and applications applied to a vehicle took time, hard work and hard earned money to make it happen. Mutual respect goes a long way in our industry.

An Infrastructure/Information Technology Manager by day, an automotive enthusiast the rest of my spare time. Most importantly a Father, Husband and a U.S. Navy Veteran! Combining my experiences and skills and came up with the ultimate creation of Armed with a camera who knows where this journey will take me but stay tuned, it's going to be an exciting ride!

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