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.

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

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


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  – Dont forget to contact us on Facebook

Some applications it is not recommended to use Liquid laminates

  • Liquid Lamination does not provide added rigidity to a printed substrate
  • Liquid Laminates easily attract dust during the Liquid Lamination Process
  • Liquid Lamination is a wet coating process thereby clean and ambient conditions are important
  • Liquid Lamination adhesion is a technical process that may not adhere adequately to some ink, Media substrates
  • Liquid Lamination, although Flexible, some applications demand extra or Ultra rigid strength & durability in handling or in heavy use areas
  • Liquid Lamination, does require certain limits in climate and humidity that may limit the quality of a smooth lamination on some substrates
  • Liquid Lamination (water based) is water resistant but invariably it is not water proof.

3.3m Liquid Coater

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 and folding, Stretching
  • Film Lamination will alter or fail the flexibility of flexible substrates such as fabrics, textiles, textured films. – and are liable to de-laminate
  • 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 will not adjust itself to the printed substrate 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 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