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How to Choose the Right Surface Protection Film

The name surface protective film says it all-it is designed to protect critical surfaces from scratches, damage, abrasion, ultraviolet radiation or dirt and pollution. Popular and successful due to its strength and durability, the protective film is actually a kind of tape. It is made of film layers glued together to form a barrier that protects everything from the glass of the building to anything else that needs to be protected under construction. For example, it is a shrink-wrap plastic attached to a new refrigerator, and it is a roll of material used to cover and protect the surface of manufactured parts, especially in the automotive industry. It is widely used by metal and plastic sheet manufacturers. They also have anti-scratch function, which helps to reduce the penetration of sunlight and ultraviolet rays. 

10 questions to ask before choosing the right surface protective film

To make sure you get a protective film that is suitable for your application, make sure and ask these questions.

1.Will the film be applied to rough or smooth surfaces?

Rougher surfaces have larger surface areas and require thicker adhesives.


2.Is the surface area clean and dry?

Dirty application conditions may produce unacceptable results. Embedded materials and unnecessary debris can adversely affect the performance of the protective film.


3.Will the surface be painted or coated?

There may be a chemical reaction between the adhesive and the coating, especially the longer they are in contact with each other.


4.What type of surface needs to be protected?

Whether it is wood, stone, metal, glass, plastic or ceramics; these surfaces require completely different adhesives to function successfully.


5.Will the film be exposed to high temperatures?

Most rubber-based adhesives cannot withstand temperatures above 150°F. Acrylic adhesives are effective at temperatures up to 350°F, while silicone adhesives are effective at temperatures up to 500°F.


6.Will this movie be used outdoors?

If so, how long will it take? Over time, the sun’s ultraviolet rays will destroy the adhesive. The protective film will not only turn yellow, but will also become hard and brittle, thereby failing. The length of time the film is exposed to the element will determine how much UV protection it needs.


7.What is the scope of the project?

Do you need to use PVC film to protect windows, or do you need to provide moisture and vapor barriers on flat panels that use LDPE (low-density polyethylene) film?

Will the film be used for safety or security applications? In any project, safety comes first. Is the purpose of filming to protect workers from broken glass or to stop intruders?


8.Will the film be used in a safety or security application?

On any  project, it’s safety first. Is the purpose of the film to protect workers from shattering glass or to deter intruders?


9.How long will the film need to adhere to the surface?

If this is a long-term job, some additional component(s) may need to be added to ensure the bond of the surface to the film for the length of time you need it to hold fast.


10.Will storage and transportation affect the film?

Your crew may withstand extreme climates better than your materials! Consider their transport to the job site as well as the material’s subsequent storage so it doesn’t compromise effectiveness. Keep films and tapes in a cool, dry place.

Once attached to a clean, dry surface, the protective film can effectively prevent "damage" to the surface. Despite its wide range of uses, using the wrong protective film to get the job done, you will jeopardize your timeline and always dreadful budget overruns.

5 Common problems of surface protective film

The following are the most common challenges found in our collection of tape and surface protective film work.


1.Poor surface adhesion

l If the film peels off too easily, there may be multiple reasons:The surface is not clean enough or contaminated with dust or moisture.

l If the wrong film is used in the project, it is easy to cause insufficient amount of adhesive or low viscosity in weather and conditions.

l The film was not stretched uniformly during the installation process, causing deformation, so the sealing effect was not good.



If the film actually separates from the adhesive, it will leave a residue on the surface. Use a clean cloth dipped in an appropriate amount of organic solvent (such as ethanol or acetate) to remove the adhesive. Care should be taken during this step to avoid causing additional appearance problems on the protected surface during removal. 


3. The edge is lifted

This happens when the end of the protective film starts to detach from the surface. It is very common in metal protection using composite protective films, especially aluminum compared to steel. Likewise, the movies suitable for this job will be different.


4. The film cannot be removed

The most common cause of this problem is the quality of the pressure sensitive adhesive. Beware of manufacturers who have not yet mastered the production of this very professional adhesive technology. Some people just adjust ordinary adhesives by making some improvements to existing formulations-this has disastrous consequences.


Another reason why you’d have difficulty removing the film could be an overexposure to sunlight. This is why the UV rating of the film and the determination of how long you need it to adhere is an essential pre-installation determination.


5. Shadow

One of the main goals of any construction project is to make it a seamless transition, literally leaving no evidence. When there are obvious visual imperfections on a surface that should be protected, the main cause of this "ghosting" is the accumulation of residues left by marks, cleaning agents, and solvents previously used to clean the surface. These can be carefully removed with a diluted solvent.


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