Indoor vs Outdoor Vinyl

Posted by Jessie Wu on

Need help figuring out what type of vinyl to choose for your decal? We've got you covered!

We offer two options for most of our decals: indoor (removable) or outdoor (permanent) vinyl. Aside from the obvious differences, there's a couple considerations that you should factor in when deciding which type is best for your needs. Here's a handy table so you can see the comparisons at a glance:

Indoor / Removable Outdoor / Permanent
Surface finish Matte Glossy
Best applications Walls, interior doors, reusable containers, craft projects, rented spaces Vehicles, exterior doors, mailboxes, signs, mugs
Easily removable Yes (if removed within 2-3 years) No
Outdoor life 3 years 6-7 years
Dishwasher safe No Yes (after curing for 24-48 hours)
Reusable No No

Wait, does this mean you can put indoor vinyl outdoors, and vice versa?

Yes! The indoor/outdoor names are just guidelines. You can absolutely use indoor vinyl on an exterior door if you're renting and need to be able to remove the decal in without damaging the door. Just be aware that your decal will peel up faster if exposed to constant sunlight or rain.

Likewise, if you're looking to add a decal as a permanent indoor fixture, you can stick outdoor vinyl on an interior wall—you'll just have to be extra careful when it comes time to remove the vinyl or risk damaging your paint job.

So what makes outdoor vinyl great for the outdoors?

It has a solvent based adhesive (indoor vinyl's adhesive is water based) which makes it more resistant to rain and moisture. Outdoor vinyl is also UV resistant, which makes it more durable in constant sunlight. That's why outdoor vinyl is rated to last twice as long in outdoor applications.

Does that mean outdoor vinyl is truly permanent? 

The short answer is no...but it is harder to remove without damaging the surface it's stuck on. Even with perfect removal technique, you may still end up peeling up a little paint. Outdoor vinyl is made with a much stronger "permanent" adhesive that forms a much stronger bond than indoor vinyl does. We recommend heating the decal with a hair dryer for several minutes to weaken the adhesive first. Keep the hair dryer moving to avoid overheating the vinyl or the surface below it.

Once the adhesive is weakened, slowly begin to pull up your decal. You may need to use a putty knife or credit card to carefully pull up a corner. Use a product like Goo Gone or vegetable oil to clean off any remaining adhesive.

If you've left your indoor vinyl on for more than 2-3 years, the adhesive may have bonded with the surface below it similar to an outdoor vinyl application. If that is the case, use these same tips to remove it like you would outdoor vinyl.

Hopefully this helps with your decision! If you have any further questions, please feel free to send us a message or leave a comment below and we'll try to help you out.


Leave a comment