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Vehicle Wrapping vs. Painting

There are a couple of options when it comes to customising the appearance of your vehicles, and in this blog post, we’ll compare two of the most popular; vehicle wrapping and painting.

Both of these methods have their merits and ideal use cases, and it’s important to understand their differences before you make your decision.

Vehicle Wrapping

So what is vehicle wrapping?

Vehicle wrapping involves applying large vinyl sheets over the original paintwork of a vehicle. These wraps are digitally printed with designs and colours and can cover the entire vehicle or just a small section.

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(We’ve written a handy post explaining this in some more detail: What Is Vehicle Wrapping?)

Vehicle Wrapping Pros

  • Protection: Wraps protect the original paintwork from sun damage and scratches.
  • Removable: They can be removed easily, allowing straightforward reversal or change - something that’s much more difficult when painting.
  • Customisation: Wrapping offers extensive design options including bespoke graphics and colours not easily achievable by paint.
  • Speed: Wraps are typically much quicker to apply than a paint job, minimising the time your vehicle is off the road.
  • Cost: Typically, vehicle wraps are much more cost-effective and affordable than a high-quality paint job.

Vehicle Wrapping Cons

  • Durability: Wraps can be slightly less durable than paint, typically lasting around 5-7 years when maintained properly.
  • Maintenance: A wrapped vehicle does require careful and consistent maintenance to ensure its longevity.

    (Check out this post for more information: How to maintain your vehicle’s graphics)

Vehicle Painting

Traditional painting usually involves applying layers of paint onto the vehicle's body using an electrostatic spray gun, which is then sealed for protection and shine. It’s often a more labour-intensive process when compared to wrapping.

Vehicle Painting Pros

  • Durability: Good paint jobs can last longer than wraps, often for the whole vehicle’s lifetime.
  • Permanent: Painting is ideal for permanent colour changes or restorations.

Vehicle Painting Cons

  • Cost: Typically, painting a vehicle is much more expensive than wrapping, especially when custom designs or premium paints are involved.
  • Time: Usually the process of painting a vehicle is much longer than wrapping. It requires the disassembly of parts and a large amount of prep work.
  • Permanent: It’s extremely difficult and costly to reverse a paint job or to change colours/designs.

Vehicle Wrap vs. Paint

The final choice depends on your specific use case, circumstances and what you wish to achieve from the transformation.

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Below, we’ve spotlighted some different use cases, and which option would suit.

Short Term Use

Wrapping is by far the superior option for short-term applications, especially on lease vehicles, or vehicles on a 3-4 year term due to its removability, its lower cost and its quick application.


If you're looking to transform your vehicle for advertising purposes, wrapping is the way to go. Its versatility, customisability and cost-effectiveness make it the perfect choice for business use.

Custom Designs

For intricate and unique designs, wrapping offers considerably more choice and flexibility compared to a traditional paint job.

Resale and Lease Vehicles

Thanks to its reversibility, wrapping is ideal for this option. It protects the original paintwork and can be removed easily without damage to the bodywork.

Permanent Changes

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a permanent solution, then painting may be more suitable due to its longevity and durability.

In Conclusion

To wrap things up… both vehicle wrapping and painting have their advantages and disadvantages.

However, it’s clear to see that wrapping usually is the more versatile and cost-effective solution, especially for businesses and individuals looking for something highly customisable.

For most contemporary use cases where flexibility and cost-effectiveness are important, vehicle wrapping is the way to go.

Here at CJ Signs, we’ve been wrapping vehicles for well over a decade. From van wraps to truck wraps, we can help to transform your vehicle. Get in touch with the team for more information.

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