May 19, 2023
Partnering with Our Install Team for a Seamless Project Installation
While we’re most well-known for large-format printing and 3D displays, we’re also proud to be one of the few 3M™ Certified Graphics Installation Companies in the Pacific Northwest. Our powerhouse team of five full-time 3M™ Preferred Installers specializes in custom interiors and exteriors, 3M™ DiNoc architectural finishes, vinyl and Type II wall coverings, murals, glass films, rough surfaces, floors, ceilings, complex alignments, immersive environments, lenticulars, artwork, window displays, vehicle and fleet wraps, SEGs, LED signage, sound control, and site surveys. We’re a licensed commercial contractor in Oregon and Washington with nationwide installation coverage for projects ranging from single to multi-location rollouts.
Not all projects require installation, but when they do, certain ways of working with our clients facilitate a more efficient and seamless experience. What follows are our team’s ideal collaboration conditions for interior, exterior, and vehicle wrap installs. If you’d like some help bringing your environmental or retail graphics to life, reach out!
Floor, Wall, and Ceiling Graphics
There are two overarching types of interior graphic installation projects: those where the building is already built, and those for brand-new, in-progress, construction. In preparation for installing interior graphics to an existing building, our team starts by conducting a site survey where we collect as-built measurements and assess the conditions of the space. Having the exact dimensions enables our design, 3D engineering, and prepress teams to spec the creative files to the precise building measurements, including obstructions like outlets and vents that may interfere with the graphics. We also take photos of the overall space and any intricate details that need to be called out for our engineers and designers. By evaluating the existing conditions of the space – any wall damage or freshly patched/painted areas – we’re able to determine the best materials for the job and any additional wall preparation that should be included in the work back timeline. If the wall has not yet been painted (or if the client happens to know the existing paint details), it’s helpful for us to be informed of the type of paint being used – low and no VOC paint react differently to vinyl adhesion.
The installation prep for in-progress construction is a bit different. Since the space does not yet exist (or only partially does), our team prefers to be connected to, and work directly with, the contractors themselves. This way, we can collaboratively develop a plan to get all the trades ahead of us – electricians, flooring, ceiling work, drywall, mudders, tapers, and painters – coordinated to prepare the space with enough spare time to install before the client’s deadline. We also request access to the building blueprints to secure the needed environmental measurements that we’ll be designing, engineering, printing, cutting, and/or installing graphics to. We’ll again ask to be informed of the type of paint(s) being used to help us make graphic material recommendations. This all being said, we’re also well acquainted with the realities of the construction world and understand that timelines often change as unexpected challenges arise. We’re quick on our feet and are comfortable working with the contractors (and our clients!), to revise timelines as needed and still meet the deadline.
After all new or existing walls have been constructed and/or conditioned – including allowing two weeks for any new paint to cure – our installation team will conduct a 3M™ Graphic Film Adhesion Test. This test ensures that the chosen graphic substrate(s) will stick to the respective surface and may also be easily removed without damaging the paint. Finally, our team will analyze access to the installation area to determine whether we’ll need to use ladders, scaffolding, lifts, a swing stage, etc., and if so, how we can get them to the working space.
We ask that clients and/or contractors clear the working area before we arrive on-site to install. After that, we’ll take care of wall/floor/ceiling cleaning, prep, and installation!
Our installation expertise also includes 3D elements, including SEG frames and lightboxes, dimensional logos and letters, custom product merchandising displays, interactive multimedia (TV screens and directional sound), lighting, and more. Our installers collaborate with our design and engineering teams on complex projects, making sure that all dimensional elements have the engineering stamp of approval before beginning installation. They also collaboratively troubleshoot rigging and proper cabling in order to safely and securely place hanging elements where indicated in the design.
Exterior installations range from ground-level to vertically spanning multi-story buildings. Just as we do for interior projects, we’ll start by requesting access to the space to conduct a site survey and assess the working conditions. The type and condition of the surface – rough wall, brick, concrete, glass window, etc. – that we’ll be applying graphics to will impact our material recommendations and the needed graphic bleed. Again, we’ll test materials and adhesives to ensure that they apply as intended and can be removed without damaging the existing surface. Accessibility to the location will determine whether we need to coordinate a lift, OHSA-approved ladder(s), scaffolding, or a swing stage.
Banners are different from flat graphics in that they require a hanging system. In the site survey, our install team will determine whether one already exists, or if we need to engineer a system. If 3D engineering does need to be looped into the project, we’ll factor in additional time for prototyping and hardware sourcing to the work back timeline.
Last but not least, the weather plays an important role. It’s more difficult to install exterior graphics with adhesives in the Pacific Northwest during the cooler, wet season. Industry-standard does not recommend installing graphics with adhesives outdoors when it is under 40 degrees. Certain materials can be wet-applied and others cannot. Wind must also be factored in to ensure the safety of installers who may be working on lifts and/or ladders. Ideal weather conditions are sunny and above 50 degrees.