It’s time to dispel the myth that graphics printed with aqueous technology can’t stand the test of time when displayed outdoors. With wide-format printer manufacturers like Epson, Canon and HP advancing their pigment inks, media is performing better than ever when facing the elements.
“When you’re talking about outdoor durability, it comes down to three things,” says Jaimie Mask, LexJet product specialist, “the inks — which have definitely advanced — and the inkjet coating (including top coat and anchor coating) and the substrate itself. Take LexJet’s TOUGHcoat Water Resistant Polypropylene. The reason we call it TOUGHcoat is because its coating is engineered to withstand outdoor climate changes, like wind and rain.”
The macroporous coating that’s used on all of LexJet’s water-resistant media works with the advanced pigment inks to adhere better to the media, rather than just sitting on top of the media. “If you use the proper settings when printing, the inks will dry faster and last longer,” Mask says.
When choosing a media to print with aqueous inks, start with these questions:
How long does it need to last? A banner material like LexJet TOUGHcoat ThriftyBanner may give you longer-lasting results than a polypropylene.
Where will it be displayed? A polypropylene media is a cost-effective option when placed against a wall or solid background (try a self-adhesive version). Many banner material options come with block-out layer, offering more opacity than a polypropylene. For a light-weight outdoor look, try a fabric, like LexJet Water-Resistant Satin Cloth.
What kind of finish do you want? Although a gloss or matte finish is a matter of preference, LexJet’s water-resistant materials typically have a matte finish since gloss finishes can reflect more light and produce more glare when facing sunny summer days.
Do you want to add durability? To double the life of your aqueous-printed graphic, add a laminate. This will also increase your production time and cost, so keep that in mind. Also, if it’s a hanging banner that needs grommets, consider a sturdy outdoor option like Banner Ups.
Here are some of our popular aqueous media options that work well in outdoor settings:
- LexJet TOUGHcoat AquaVinyl PSA: Lasts up to eight months outdoors without lamination and up to two years when laminated with LexJet Elite Matte UVor Elite Luster UV laminates.
- LexJet TOUGHcoat ThriftyBanner: An economical option for high-volume jobs that also require excellent image quality.
- LexJet TOUGHcoat Water-Resistant Polypropylene: Water-resistant 8 mil polypropylene film with a matte finish ideal for short-term banners or outdoor posters.
- LexJet TOUGHcoat Water-Resistant Self Adhesive Polypropylene: A great alternative to adhesive-backed vinyl with a strong solvent-based adhesive that sticks to a wide range of substrates, including rigid PVCs, foam boards and aluminum.
- LexJet Water-Resistant Satin Cloth: A light-weight, water-resistant, wrinkle-resistant, tear-resistant polyester fabric that works great for banners or flags and is an easy-to-hang, frame-free alternative.