When ordering a banner, you don’t want your finishing to have a shorter life than needed for the job. To make sure this doesn’t happen, we have brought together some information to help you decide on proper seaming for your vinyl banner. The most common and popular finishing options are seaming tape, glues, stitching, chemical weld, RF weld, hot air weld and hot edge weld. We break down the pros and cons to each in this article.
Seaming tape (or banner tape) is ideal for small banners and projects that need a fast turn around time. It does not last very long and isn’t suited for outdoor environments. It isn’t meant to be used on large or heavier banners. But, it is a perfect solution for a short term or one time use event.
Banner / Seaming tape is double-sided industrial tape and it's applied to the banner to create a hem or it can be stuck to the backside of the material with the release liner unpeeled so the installer can peel the liner backing. Seaming tape requires no special equipment for installing and it applies just like double sided tape.
Glue places a layer between two pieces of banner. Epoxy and acrylic (found in the glue), are made to work for vinyl. However, the modification shortens the adhesiveness of the glue.
Glue isn’t a good choice for long term banners, but it is a perfect fit for one-time events like birthdays, grand openings or other special sales or events.
Velcro is a quick and easy way to simply stick a banner to a surface. Male or Hook refers to the rough side of the velcro surface and can be sewn on or applied to your banner like tape.
Loop or Female is the smooth style and can be sewn on or applied like tape.
Stitching / Sewing Machines
When seaming tape won’t do the job, a chemical weld won’t quite last long enough and RF welding is not in your budget, stitching and sewing can be the solution to consider for your banner. Although sewing stitches can be more complicated - it’s worth the trouble, especially in windy conditions. It is one of the most durable alternatives to withstand weather conditions. GH uses industrial UV coated thread. Awning Keder bead, pockets, hems and fabric tiling can all be done using thread and a sewing machine. Mostly all fabric banners are finished with the sewing machines. Double-sided street pole banners and pole pockets are created using a sewing machine.
Chemical weld is similar to glue but it has a much more permanent seam. There is a chemical process that dissolves together the two parts of the banner. The chemical weld can be applied by brushing, pouring or squirting the chemicals onto the vinyl and press the two pieces together. Application doesn’t require much skill, but there are a few tips and safety precautions that need to be considered.
The industry standard is HH-66 also known as a bodied adhesive or bodied solvent. When it is applied properly, it provides a super strong, waterproof, flexible bond. It is very resistant to temperature and extreme weather conditions. It’s great for patch work and sealing vinyl.
Chemical weld can be dangerous if not handled properly. It contains combustible solvents, so make sure to keep it away from any flames and keep the can securely closed when not in use. If you’re using the chemical weld in an area with minimal ventilation, make sure to have a fan or another device to move the air. You should also wear gloves when using a chemical weld as it can cause irritation if it has contact with the skin.
RF, Hot Air or Hot Wedge Welding
RF Welding fuses materials together by applying radio frequency energy where the materials are joining. It is not heat welding, it's comparable to your microwave at home. The result is as strong as if the two materials were one. It is more expensive that chemical welding but is much stronger and lasts longer.
Hot air (leister) and hot wedge (miller) welding provide the strongest hold and helps your banner withstand wear, pressure and weather better than tape, stitching or glue. Wedge welding requires 1/2" of bleed and a 1/2" of material for finishing. Hot air requires an extra 2" at the sides of the material for finishing. The materials are actually fused together into one. It is a great solution for banners that need a long life, are used frequently or will be placed outdoors.