Gareth Newman, Academy Manager at Drytac, shares tips and tricks when it comes to applying wall and floor graphics on tougher surfaces.
Graphics can be incredibly impactful, changing a room – or even a whole building – with colour and design. But it is not necessary to fight what is already there, or to ignore the natural finish of the surface. Applying a mural or decal to bare bricks or concrete can really complement an industrial space or heritage property.
For any wall or floor graphics application, it is essential that the graphic itself will stand the test of time. Bricks and concrete, being rough and porous, are not the easiest surfaces to work with, but these tips should help you achieve great results.
Firstly, preparation is key. Use a stiff brush to remove dust and dirt and, if necessary, use a de-greasing cleaner and leave to dry for 48 hours. Next, you will need to choose the right graphics media. A product that can conform to the rough or uneven surfaces is key. High tack adhesive and long-term indoor/outdoor durability is also ideal for the application at hand. There are lots of graphics media on the market, so it is important to conduct a small-scale test on-site two to three days before the project to ensure the best adhesion and desired results.
Before you get started on the application, make sure you have the right tools. You will need a heat gun, a squeegee and 3D texture applicators, which will save you time and make your graphics stunning. Apply the graphics with a squeegee first to get the initial tack, then use the heat gun, working in one direction – left to right or right to left – in order to push the air out and avoid creating air bubbles. Work brick by brick and then move to the mortar joins, thinking about where the air is going and may get trapped. Depending on how deep the mortar is, your graphics might shrink and not fit your desired location correctly, so be aware of this at the design stage.
As with many things in life, preparation is key. Before installing graphics on brickwork and mortar, check that your design is suitable for the application and be sure you have the right media and the right tools at hand.