Metal products, such as components for suspended ceilings, facade panels and cassettes, and elements of enclosing structures, are coated with a protective-decorative layer of polymers during manufacturing. These polymers possess sufficient strength but still require protection during transportation and installation. They are protected in the simplest way – by wrapping them in a thin polymer film.
However, after the film has served its purpose, it is often not removed, leaving it on the surface. We will explain the consequences of this and how to deal with the problem we create for ourselves in our article.
To protect metal surfaces with protective-decorative coatings made of polymers (polyester, PVDF, plastisol, pural), a thin film of PVC or polyethylene is applied to them, ranging from 30 to 60 micrometers in thickness. It is secured to the surface of the part by a self-adhesive layer and performs the following functions:
Despite its thinness, the polymer acts as a shock absorber, preventing surface scratches when in contact with other components. Additionally, polyethylene and PVC are impermeable to water and air, and they block UV rays, ensuring that the colored coating retains its brightness and uniform structure even during extended storage.
If this film is so useful, can it be left on the metal? It’s not advisable, and here’s why:
All of this leads to the fact that instead of a practically invisible, perfectly smooth protective film on the metal surface, a fringe of scraps appears, with some of the material firmly attached to the base, some hanging down, and some forming unsightly bubbles. Problems with aesthetics are only half the issue: when moisture starts to penetrate under the film, it creates conditions for rapidly developing corrosion in the gap between the metal and polyethylene.
Therefore, the answer to the question posed in the title is unequivocal: the film should be removed!
Ideally, the protective film (also known as “installation film”) should be removed immediately after the construction is installed, whether it’s a facade panel, ceiling rail, or metal fence. However, sometimes owners are tempted to leave the construction “protected” until the finish is completed.
On one hand, this is justified. On the other hand, if the finishing takes longer than expected or if you forget to remove the film after finishing, it will become increasingly difficult to do so over time. The reason for this is that the adhesive used for temporary fixing of polyethylene on metal with protective coating will start to dry out. It almost always dries out unevenly, causing part of the film to peel off while another part becomes “stuck” to the metal. The film itself, lacking high tensile strength, will tear, making it impossible to remove it using the standard method.
To prevent this, you should not leave the film on the metal for longer than 1-2 weeks. However, if you’ve missed the right moment and the film has adhered, below we will explain how to remove it with minimal time, effort, and minimal risk to the decorative coating of the parts.
The first rule when removing films is to avoid any strong actions. To remove the protective coating, you should not use sharp objects, metal spatulas, brushes with steel bristles, or abrasive materials. You may remove the film, but the coating will be irreparably damaged, and corrosion will quickly develop in the damaged areas.
Here are a few “non-invasive” methods:
In any case, removing film that has adhered to the metal requires a significant amount of time and effort. If you’re dealing with an individual component, you can manage the task on your own, but for a facade or fencing, even a whole team will take several days to clean. Therefore, it’s better to avoid such situations by removing the film after installation or, at the very least, not allowing it to dry on the product.
Removing protective film from metal products can be a challenge, especially if the film is well-adhered or if it has traces of corrosion or prolonged exposure to environmental factors. However, there are several effective methods that can help remove protective film from metal products without damaging the surface. Here are the top 5 methods you can use:
When using any of these methods, it’s important to exercise caution and follow safety guidelines. Always work in a well-ventilated area, avoid using open flames or heat sources near flammable materials, and take appropriate safety measures when handling solvents or chemicals. Additionally, be gentle and patient when attempting to remove the protective film to avoid damaging the metal surface.
Furthermore, it is essential to prioritize safety when using any chemical solvents or mechanical tools. It is recommended to wear protective gloves, goggles, and other safety measures to protect yourself from potential injuries or exposure to chemical substances.
Regardless of the chosen method, the following steps are recommended for effectively removing protective film from metal products:
By following these steps and taking safety precautions, you can effectively remove protective film from metal products while minimizing the risk of damage and ensuring a clean and safe work environment.
The removal of protective film from a metal surface can be accomplished using various technical means that can simplify the process and provide a more efficient result. Here are some such technical means:
Before using any technical means to remove protective film from metal, it is advisable to test them on an inconspicuous part of the metal surface to ensure compatibility with the material and the effectiveness of film removal. Additionally, tools such as rubber gloves, soft cloths, or ropes can be used to help separate the film from the metal.
The choice of technical means for removing protective film from metal products generally depends on the type of film, the condition of the metal surface, availability, and personal preferences. Regardless of the method chosen, it is essential to exercise caution to avoid damaging the metal surface.
Here are several popular chemical solvents that can be used to remove protective film from metal:
It’s essential to remember that using chemical solvents to remove protective film from metal requires caution. It is recommended to follow the manufacturer’s instructions, adhere to safety measures such as proper ventilation, use gloves, goggles, and other protective gear, and use these products in well-ventilated areas or outdoors.