Compare Film Lamination vs Liquid Lamination

Film lamination is the application of a film substrate and adhesive (usually PV, Polypropylene, Cast, Polyester films) to a printed substrate. In this application today most film laminators are used with pressure sensitive rollers sometimes with a little heat to improve the activation of the adhesive at the point of pressure.  For this process to work you will usually need to have a good quality film laminator that will apply even and consistent pressure to the adhesive film to the substrate you are laminating. The benefits of lamination are the protection of the printed substrate against the possible premature degradation against the effects of abrasion, handling, rolling, installation and finally exposure to the environment where it is installed.

Roller Coating by Hand
Spray Coating
Water based Roll to Roll Coater
Aerosol spray Coating

Despite common belief that ink and media do not require protection, certainly in the long term, film and media will only last longer if protected with a laminate. It is often used to add rigidity to a print to ease handling, protection and installation. sometimes also to improve or enhance the printed image, its colour and its visual effect. The downfalls and pitfalls of film lamination is in the skill, and the pressure of the operator for the adhesive bond to sustain its quality for the life of the print. In some cases there are films that will add UV protection of the inks against premature fade, scratch resistance, water, chemical and extra exposure to handling, touch, and water/cleaning.  Over time, standard of protection can fail for a number of causes such as shrink or expansion of the substrate, causing either de-lamination or air pockets and bubbles where the adhesion of the film has not been as good or is not as good as expected.  

Liquid Lamination provides a different and in some areas advanced protection where film lamination simply will not work. However it cannot add features such as added rigidity but it does have added benefits. Its key added benefits are that you do not first and foremost need a professional laminator to apply a protective laminate, as you can easily coat liquid laminates using either a hand roller, brush, Paint pad, or spray equipment. You can also use liquid laminates and apply after you have installed the graphic usually in almost any flat, clean, dry environment.  As well as offering a very flexible, and adaptable protective coating to almost any substrate, including textured substrates (where film lamination will not be very effective and usually will fail), liquid laminates also bond naturally and permanently and it is rare to ever have a tested liquid laminate after lamination to ever de-laminate.

The only pre requisite is that the liquid laminate has been tested for its initial adhesion and thereafter it will not fail. Because Liquid laminates are highly flexible they will adapt and shift with any change in stability of the substrate. Liquid laminates also protect against the effects of water, abrasion, UV light fade and will usually protect a graphic print twice as long as an unprotected graphic in the same environment.  Some common exclusives where liquid laminates will work, and film lamination will not work are for PVC banners and fabrics and textiles. 

Landor Liquid Lamination Coater 1.6

3.3m Water Based Liquid Lamination Coater

In summary below you can see the value and benefits of using Liquid Laminates: 

  • Liquid Lamination offers in the main greater flexibility and protection to when coating flexible substrates ie: canvas, banner PVC
  • No other suitable form of protection is possible with PVC banner and yet maintains long terms stability of the bond and adhesion of graphics
  • Easy to apply generally, and without the need for capital equipment as it can be applied easily by Hand roller, brush, Pad or spray equipment
  • Liquid Lamination can be applied to substrates that have already been applied to a surface or is on a flat surface.
  • Once applied, tested and verified, liquid lamination will almost never delaminate
  • Liquid Laminates will not cause bubbles and will be dependable throughout and longer than the graphic print life.
  • Liquid Laminates (water based) will provide added protection for the inks and substrates against the effects of UV Light
  • Liquid Laminates are flexible and will adjust themselves to any lesser stable substrates
  • Liquid Lamination, being a water based, or UV curable product and chemistry is environmentally  friendly and usually is not flammable
  • Some PVC, PP laminates will not accept certain high temperatures whereas Liquid lamination will remain stable and conform with Hot and cold temperatures


We believe it important to be and to remain impartial, so we have put together a summary of good reasons to use Liquid Lamination instead of film lamination but we have also listed relevant reasons why still today it is a good reason to film Laminate. .

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For more information, advice or support for your protective graphic needs, extra longevity or testing and training needs for liquid or film lamination applications please do not hesitate to contact us on +44 1252 624411, email:, or visit our website   


As well as the coatings and system development, supply and development globally of coatings and coatings services, we offer a unique service that allows you to try before your invest in liquid lamination capital equipment


UV Coater : 2m Flatbed & Roll to Roll System
Burkle 2m UV coater


From our Bolton UK operations and warehouse you can visit us and try or use our equipment or we can offer you our coatings services so that you can have a true hands on before invesing in this technology. 

We also appreciate that there are alot of financial reasons why PVC is so heavily used in print as well as the added profitability it brings to the print market. If we can help bring this divide to the benefit of our actions for conserving as well as preventing waste, and damage to our planet our business will be happy to listen and act in the most responsible manner possible and share this with more like minded business leaders, politicians and consumers and design agencies who make up the design concept of materials.



If you feel as strongly as we do about the environment, and want to be sure there are valid reasons for moving to eco friendly coatings and elminate both PVC and Plastic films (and other materials) within and throughout the print process and applications, then please get in touch. Your feedback, our debate hearing you is important for the future of print.

Cutting the cost and waste of PVC Vehicle Wrapping Can be achieved with Liquid Lamination

if we are now to review the negatives of Film Lamination, we hope this will help you better understand the main benefits and times when you will find better protection, longevity, and durability of your prints using Landor Liquid Laminates 

Applications where it is not recommended to use Film Laminates

  • Film Lamination will usually not fold or stretch, and will be damaged if creased – Liquid Lamination will not be affected by Creasing, folding, and Stretching. Liquid lamination is flexible whereas plastic films are not. – especially water based coatings. 
  • Film Lamination will alter or fail the flexibility of flexible substrates such as fabrics, textiles, textured films. and are liable to de-laminate, so you will need to use coatings if you want to add protection to your textured materials. 
  • Film Lamination will potentially de-laminate especially at the edges when exposed to outdoor water, humidity, heat. Liquid Lamination will maintain its adhesive bond/protection
  • Film Lamination responds badly to climatic changes, in variable hot, cold, humid environments, whereas Liquid Lamination will adjust to the surface it is adhered to.
  • Film Lamination will not work with PVC banners whereas Liquid Lamination is commonly used as the only protective solution for PVC banners as flex face signs, Truckside Curtains, Awnings etc 
  • Film Lamination must be applied using professional Film Laminators whereas Liquid Lamination can be used by hand with Hand rollers, spray, Foam Pads or brushes.

Applications where it is recommended to use Film Laminates 

and  Not Liquid Lamination

  • When you need to add additional rigidity and strength to your flexible prints, only film lamination will do this. – consider alternative more dureable and sustainable substrates!
  • Because your PVC vinyl prints stretch or you need to reduce the elasticity of your prints (consider a more stable and sustainable media) 
  • You need more tensile strength on the installation: wall and surface graphics from the chosen media. Liquid Lamination is a soft protection
  • Contravision and other Perforated applications  (you need to prevent dirt settling in the holes/perforations)
  • Bubble free materials: some can work with liqiuid lamination but  laminate films will cover the perforations & the advantage of bubble free installations. 
  • When flexibility or stability of media and applications  is not important or relevant. 

please do not hesitate to contact us for more information, support or advice: 

Tel  +44 1252 624411


Our Coating service and advice can be adapted to your needs. With water based, UV curable, Roll to Roll and Flatbed coating resources we will be happy to discuss your applications, durability and sustainability needs.