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Wet Application - Guide

  Installing graphics wet is an art and requires an EXACT set of procedures to successfully complete.  Usually this type of work happens in high end office buildings and is usually closely scrutinized, so proper execution is everything!!  DUST is your biggest enemy and even just one large particle between the glass and the film will result in having to redo the entire piece, so please take the time to properly understand and remember the process outlined in this course.  Wet application is typically done with 2 different types of material, Polyester and Vinyl.  Here you will learn everything you need to know about both types of install.  If you require any tools listed below just contact your CGC rep.




Polyester is a rigid material that usually comes as an optically clear base with print.  Installed on glass office partitions to create privacy between offices.  Let's break down the installation process or dance routine as we like to call it into individual dance steps.  As there are a number of steps to remember, it may be easier to complete with a team of 3 technicians on larger projects to make sure nothing is missed.



Pre installation:


There are many factors that can result in a poor installation.  Some of these exist even before you begin and it is important to recognize and eliminate them before starting the project.  Some questions to ask yourself...


  • Has a JSA or FLHA been completed, reviewed and submitted to the Project Manager?

  • Is anyone else working in or near the area?  Workers = movement = DUST!  Remember.... life is a mirror so be polite when asking others to leave the area.

  • Is furniture in the way?  DO NOT MOVE IT unless you're prepared to deal with a possible liability.  At this point you should be calling the CGC office for next steps.

  • Is the work area clean?  The dirtier the site, the more likely you will get debris under the material.

  • Have the graphics been delivered with the print side out and are rolled from the bottom to the top.  Re rolling graphics on site results in creating a static charge which acts like a vacuum towards dust.


Ok lets get the ball rolling....


  • "Torpedo" each graphic so that it is rolled tight enough to hold with one hand.  You should be able to touch your pointer finger and thumb around the roll.  About the size of a Loonie.  Re-tape to hold in place until you are ready to install.  This process will eliminate potential damage when dispersing throughout the job site.  It is also required for an accurate inventory which should always be done pre installation as well as to execute the install process after cleaning has been completed.



Surface prep:


Cleaning and preparation of the glass may be the easiest of all the tasks however it is the most important.  This is the task usually assigned to new technicians.  You will need the following items:


  • 1X - Mobile water pump sprayer with a minimum 3 gallon capacity.  Should have 2 tablespoons of non scented Johnsons Baby Shampoo mixed and shaken in.

  • 1X - Micro Fibre cloth

  • 1X - 4" razor blade

  • 1X - 2 or 3 step ladder

  • 1X - 12" or 18" window cleaning squeegee ( Damaged rubbers with result in substandard cleaning.


Please follow the steps outlined below for best results:


  1. Check the glass for any obvious deficiencies and make sure you are aware of any existing security film on the side you are working on.  If the window is scratched or has a mark on the glass that will not remove, it should be marked with a grease pencil and brought to the attention of the project manager.

  2. Begin with lightly spraying the carpet area and dropped ceiling tiles in front of the glass to eliminate any static charge.  Be careful not to spray any electrical plugs or lights.  

  3. Then, spray out the frame edges where the glass meets, starting from the top and working down to the bottom.

  4. Lightly spray the entire surface of the window.  Begin at the bottom and work to the top.

  5. Use a clean microfibre cloth to wipe down the entire glass.  Drape the cloth over your hand, do not crumple.  The thinner the cloth the easier you will feel any particles that have lodged onto the surface.  If the cloth does not scrub the particle(s) free use a razor blade to remove. (DO NOT USE if a pre existing security film is on the glass.)

  6. Now that the window has been scrubbed and the particles are no longer lodged you can move on to the next step.

  7. Repeat step 4

  8. Use a window cleaning squeegee to clear the window of all water.  Begin at the top and continue all the way to the bottom of the glass with each stroke.  ( Do not stop half way down as placing the squeegee in the centre of the glass can leave dust particles behind. )

  9. Once clean look over the entire window from multiple angles to see if any other Particles, glue, scratches exist prior to moving to the next step.

  10. Repeat steps 4 and 8

  11. If the jobsite is dirtier than usual, repeat steps 4 and 8 again.


The window is now clean and ready to receive graphics!!!  This technician should only be ONE window ahead of the next installer.  To fill downtime between windows backtrack and clean up garbage.



Film Installation (101):


This job function is usually performed by an installer that has a minimum of 1 year experience working in this environment and has successfully completed the Wet App testing by a CGC certified lead installer.  This technique is called the "101".  You will need the following items:


  • 1X - Mobile water pump sprayer with a minimum 3 gallon capacity.  Should have 2 tablespoons of non scented Johnsons Baby Shampoo and a cup of 70% Isopropyl  mixed and shaken in.

  • 1X - 4" Wet App Squeegee

  • 1X - Micro Fibre cloth

  • 1X - 2 or 3 step ladder


Please follow the steps outlined below for best results:


  1. Make sure your hands are clean and have all tools ready and within reach

  2. Soak the entire surface of the window.  Make sure the water mixture is correct or you will struggle until the bottle is empty.  Begin at the bottom and work to the top.  The entire surface of the window should be covered.   DO NOT soak the top 4 inches of the window (This eliminates the possibility of dust dripping down from the top frame onto the glass)

  3. If right handed hold the Polyester in your left hand with the edge opening towards your fingers.  (The opposite applies if you are left handed.)

  4. Without loosening the entire roll, unroll the material 6 inches and spray the film on all sides ( We call this "Liquid glue" )

  5. Re roll the film 

  6. Separate the liner from the film on the closet corner ( We call this the "Tongue punch")

  7. Use the "Pinch" technique to release the entire top edge of the graphic.  Place the liner on the roll and hold in place.  (As you continue to release the liner it will stick to the roll)

  8. Soak the exposed adhesive on the Poly.

  9. Use the "Zipper" technique to remove the next 3 - 4 inches of liner

  10. Repeat step 8

  11. Remove the liner another 3 - 4 inches and repeat step 8.  You are now ready to place the film on the window.

  12. Place the film on the glass with 1/8 - 1/4 inch of gap between the top edge of the graphic and the top frame. 

  13. Continue to unroll the film while removing the liner with the left hand while holding it into place with the right hand.  You can do this to 90% of the panel.  (Once you get to bottom 10% the remaining roll will no longer be rigid)

  14. To remove the liner from the bottom 10% of the panel, reach up close to the top of the poly and remove the liner by pulling it off the surface and gently removing it from the bottom.  The entire panel is now on the glass.

  15. Soak the entire top surface of the Poly to create glide.

  16. Using your 4" wet app squeegee, squeegee the top edge of the graphic with side strokes and wipe the top edge with the microfibre cloth to eliminate water from dripping behind the newly squeegeed top edge.  (Water runs downhill so this step is very important.)

  17. Continue with downward strokes, ensuring a proper squeegee overlap is used.  Wipe the edge of the squeegee with your fingers between every stroke to eliminate the possibility of dragging dust over the printed edge and scratching it. The point is to remove 99.9% of the water behind the graphics.

  18. This part of the process is complete once the entire panel is squeegeed.  You are now ready to move to the final details of the install.


Final Details:


This job function is usually done by a technician that has passed the CGC knife testing with a minimum of 1 year experience.  You will need the following items:


  • 1X - Small Olfa knife with either a 30 or 45 degree blade.  (DO NOT USE a black blade as these can score and permanently damage the glass.

  • 1X - 4" vinyl application squeegee with a wet app sleeve.

  • 1X - 12" window cleaning squeegee

  • 1X - clean Microfibre cloth

  • 1X - 2 or 3 step ladder

  • Sufficient "DO NOT TOUCH" sticky notes by CGC.


Please follow the steps outlined below for best results:


  1. Trim sides and bottom of graphic.  As this is a wet installation the graphic will not have set yet so run your finger in front of the blade to hold the material down.

  2. Use the vinyl application squeegee with buffer to re-squeegee all edges in place

  3. Clear all water marks off the material  by using the window cleaning squeegee

  4. Dry wipe the material using a fresh cloth

  5. Review the entire install from the opposite side of the glass.  From this side you will see any remaining water or possible debris.

  6. The final step is to install a temporary custom CGC sticky note to the outside of the glass indicating that the film was just installed and that it should not be touched until 24 hrs have passed


You are now finished installing the panel.  




*This course is the property of the Canadian Graphic Contractors and should not be copied or shared without consent of a CGC rep.  Version 1.0 - November 2017

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