signs nyc

How To: Install Window Decals like a Pro?

window decals installation new york city

Window decals are an ideal way to install new storefront signage without the need for construction or any other permanent changes. These easy-to-apply Custom Window Decals NYC
will also serve as a great resource for communicating with the public — whether for branding purposes or simply to announce a new product, service, or special offer such as a clearance sale.

A high quality decal from a reputable sign company such as Signs NYC will also be easy to remove — with little-to-no adhesive residue that can be quickly cleaned leaving no trace behind. In this blog we’ll go over the methods for applying different types of Vinyl Lettering on your storefront window, whether in NYC or anywhere else.

Proper Installation Temperature and Lighting

The best temperature to install your window decal is around 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit (approximately 16 – 27 degrees Celsius). At the same time, you shouldn’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good. You can install decals at slightly cooler or warmer temperatures without much of a problem. We’ve completed vinyl decal installation projects in both winter and summer.


However, you should try to avoid applying your graphics on extremely hot or cold days whenever possible. This will help ensure your decal stays put long term. You should also make sure lighting conditions are sufficient to see any dirt or dust, allowing the glass to be properly cleaned prior to installation.

Wet Method vs. Dry Method

Whether you use the wet method or the dry method will probably depend on the size of your decal or sticker. Generally speaking, a decal smaller than 12 inches (30.5 centimeters) can be installed using the dry method, which simply means carefully applying the graphic to a clean, dry surface. With all larger decals, you’ll want to go with the wet method – which requires making an application fluid out of soapy water.

Things you’ll need for the Wet Method

  • Squeegee or piece of plastic with a hard straight edge, such as a ruler or credit card
  • Spray bottle
  • Mild dish detergent or liquid dish soap
  • A level (optional but recommended for larger graphics)
  • Measuring tape or ruler

Making the Application Fluid

To make the application fluid, simply add 1- 3 drops of a mild dish detergent or liquid dish soap to between around 25 fluid ounces (750 milliliters) of water and place in a clean spray bottle. It’s important not to use too much soap. One or two drops per 750 ml spray bottle are usually enough to produce a properly functioning application solution.

Measuring the Application Surface Glass

This is especially important for larger decals. You’ll need to take a ruler or tape measure and make sure that there’s a sufficient amount of room to fit and center your graphic. It’s also advisable that you use a level and some type of straight edge such as a ruler in order to ensure your decal is straight and level when it’s installation time.

Cleaning the Application Surface Glass

Before applying your decal, you will need to ensure the application surface, also known as a substrate (or simply the glass window), is clean. This is to prevent your decal from not being securely fastened to the surface — due to bubbling, dirt or dust particles. Surface cleaners such as ammonia or other types of degreasers and glass cleaners are not recommended; because they can leave residues that will produce air bubbles. These bubbles will form under your decal, leading to an unprofessional and unattractive look — not to mention a decal that’s not fully flush with the glass. The best thing to use is soap and water. Your application fluid is an effective type of residue-free cleaner you can keep on hand to use.

Pro Tip: Your application fluid can double as an effective glass surface cleaner

Applying Your Decal

In order to apply your decal, first find the protective sheet that covers the adhesive surface. For a standard decal, the protective sheet will be on the back or reverse side from the graphics. For an inside glass decal, the adhesive will be located on the same side as the graphics. Keep the protective sheet on until you’re ready to apply the decal to the glass.

Positioning and Holding the decal in place

First, make sure your decal is level and properly centered using a level and/or ruler. For a larger decal being installed using the wet method, you can hold the top of the decal in place with a piece of painters tape.

Make sure the top half of the tape is covering the glass, with the bottom half holding onto the top of the decal. Make sure you are able to lift the decal up from the bottom, using the tape as a “hinge”. For a larger decal, you’ll need two people in order to hold and position the decal in place.

Wetting the Decal with the Application Fluid and Pushing Out Air Bubbles

If you’re using the wet method, remove the protective layer and spray the adhesive surface with the application solution. While the decal is wet it will be easy to adjust and move around to ensure it is properly positioned. Use your level to double check the positioning if necessary.

When the graphic adhesive is properly placed in contact with the window, use your piece of plastic or squeegee to push the soapy water out, starting from the center and working your way out. This will also push out those pesky air bubbles in order to prevent any bubbling.

Drying the Decal

Once any excess water has been removed from under the decal, allow it to dry for 1-2 hours. After it is dry, carefully remove the tape at the top of the decal,starting from the portion covering the decal and working your way up. This ensures you won’t accidentally remove the graphic. Slowly and carefully remove the tape by rolling it upward with your thumbs. Once it’s entirely removed your decal installation should be complete.

Allowing the decal to set

Allow your vinyl decal to set for 24 hours. Once it has spent a full day without moving, it should be secure for long term use. If you’d like, you can keep the application tape on until this setting process is complete. Once the tape is removed you are now the proud owner of a beautifully installed decal. Now you’re free to stand back and admire your hard work.

Maintaining (and Replacing) Your Window Decal

In order to ensure a long service life for your window decal, make sure to check for any bubbling, as well as any damage from extreme heat/cold and direct sunlight. A well-made decal should be able to last years, even in bad weather conditions or bright direct sunlight. If anything does happen to your decal — whether it’s due to the elements or comes about as a result of vandalism, don’t worry.

At Signs NYC we can retain your image files in order to quickly and inexpensively print out a new one. We can even provide you with extra replacement prints if you’re concerned about replacing a damaged decal — or if you’re a first time do-it-yourself (DIY) installer who wants an extra one… just in case the application needs a re-do.

For more information on Window Decals Printing Services in NYC and beyond, please contact Signs NYC by filling out this form for a free quote.

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