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Vinyl Wrap vs. Paint – Everything You Must Know !

Word on the street is that you want to recolor your vehicle. Great idea. But now comes the problem of which method to adopt. You can recolor your vehicle in mainly two ways. One is by wrapping it up. To do that, you need to use Vinyl. Now, if you don't want to wrap it up, then you have to Paint it.


Okay, now that you know that there are two possible processes, which one will you choose? For that, why not take a look at their pros and cons and compare them. With the help of the article, you will be able to decide whether you should wrap a car or paint it.

What's the Point?

Now, before we dive into 'wrap vs. paint,' you need to know why you need to use them. Recoloring a car or motorcycle is not something to be done only to change your ride's look. It can help to give a new purpose to your vehicle. Not only will it make your ride stand out, but it will also fix the scratches it got from that long ride.

Recoloring a car or motorcycle will also change the color and personalize your ride. It will help give the ride a unique appearance that compliments your outlook.

Wrapping with Vinyl

Before we compare car wrapping vs. painting, let's see what exactly is a vinyl wrap. Vinyl wrapping car is the most innovative form of car customization. It is a form of car customization where large sheets of pressure-sensitive vinyl film are applied to each car panel. The vinyl wraps for a car are to be applied with extreme precision. It has to be carried out by well-trained and specialized staff.

Paint Your Car

The name of the process of painting a car is self-explanatory. It is as the name implies, which is to paint wrap a car. But the paint is not some regular old paint. It has to be spray paint. The paint's quality can determine how good the car or motorcycle will look after the paint job. Painting a car might not require that much technical stuff, but it needs an open and aerated area to be completed in.


The best way to show the summarized pros and cons is a table comparing them. You will have a thorough discussion and our verdict right after it.




Work Space   

It can be executed anywhere

Needs well aerated and confined space


Clean car surface

Requires repeated sanding and washing

Work Time

Requires about two days

It can be completed within three hours


Costs within $2,000 to $5,000

Anywhere between $1,000 to $10,000


Wet wipe with a soft cloth

Daily wash and waxing


With proper care at most five years

It can last a lifetime if proper care is taken


Easy, simple, and does not damage the base color

Requires sanding to be removed


Might have orange peel

Has no orange peel


Highly customizable

Not customizable unless skilled

Which is better?

Now that you have a vague idea about vinyl wrapping a car and paint wrapping a car, let us jump into the argument of which is better. Let us first compare them based on individual sectors.

Operation Space

The first thing that comes to mind in the case of vinyl wrapping or paint job is - where to do it? Both methods require different amounts and types of space.

In the case of vinyl wrapping cars, the space required is not that much. You only need enough space to park the car and apply the vinyl wrap. It can be done in any place – the driveway, the garage, or even on the roadside.

But the case is not the same for paint. For paint wrapping a car, any open place is not enough. The area needs to be well aerated but at the same time needs to be free of any form of contaminant. So, a well-aerated garage is the only option


Preparing the car or motorcycle is the very first step of vinyl wrapping or painting it.

For vinyl wrapping cars, the preparation is very simple. You just need to clean up the surface. As long as the vehicle's exterior is clean and contamination-free, you are good to go.

But if you want to paint wrap the car, you need a considerable preparation time. To even get started with paint wrapping, you need to do hours and hours of sanding and cleaning. After that, you need to mask the body before you even begin coating.


The time required for car wrapping vs. painting is dependent on the surface area. But this is also dependent on the process.

Vinyl wrapping car is not as quick as one might think. It would take about two to three days for one to wrap a car single-handedly.

On the other hand, paint wrapping a car will require the minimum amount of time. It is just that you will need to apply a coat, wait for it to dry, and then apply again. Repeat the process three to four times, and you are done. So to complete the whole paint job, you would need a max of three hours.


As the process for these two methods is different, so is the cost for them. By cost, it means all the tools one might need along with the monetary sum.

If you are looking to wrap a car entirely, you will need to spend about two thousand to five thousand U.S dollars. It is considering that you already own wrapping magnets.

When it comes to paint wrapping cars, the only tool needed is paint guns. The main cost is the cost of the paint itself. There are different qualities of paint available, so your cost may vary depending on what you choose. You might need as low as $1,000 to as high as $10,000, depending on what you prefer.


For anything to last longer, proper maintenance is a must. But this maintenance might seem a hassle if it requires too much attention.

Vinyl wrapped cars require only one thing in terms of maintenance, and it is a wipe. A simple wipe with a soft wet cloth is enough for a wrap to look as good as when it was applied. So take a soft, damp cloth and wipe the exterior of the car.

In the case of paint wrap cars, the requirement of maintenance is a bit more. To keep the car as shiny and good-looking as the first paint job, you need to wash and wax the car on a regular basis.


After you are done with the recolor, the question is how long will it last. Will you have to reinvest in a few months or after a decade?

If you vinyl wrapped your car and now are asking how long do car wraps last, then the answer is not that long. You might have to do another recoloring within a short period. To be more precise, with the most care, the wrap will last you five years.

But if you decide to paint wrap the car, you can enjoy the investment for a longer time. If you properly take care of and maintain the car, then a paint job might last you a lifetime.


No matter how good a vinyl wrap or paint job may look, it will have to be taken off at one point. Or else how will you recolor it when the color gets old?

One of the best benefits you will get after vinyl wrapping a car or using motorcycle wraps is the satisfaction of removing it. The vinyl will not damage the paint underneath the wrap. That means even after removing the vinyl wrap, the surface will look as good as the day the wrap was applied.

On the contrary, wrap paint for cars are permanent. The only way to remove them is by sanding. So, if you paint wrap a car, it is stuck with you till you invest a significant amount in removing it.


The most important thing about the body of any vehicle is how it looks. It is the only reason one would recoloring. So, it is evident that the finishing will matter in this case.

For vinyl wraps, the finishing is not that satisfactory. After the vinyl wrapping of the car is done, you won't be able to get rid of any orange peel. It will result in a lousy finishing, and the car would seem to have bumps.

But if you paint wrap a car, then relax. This is because even if there is orange peel, it can easily be smoothed out. It will give a well-finished look to the car.


In the case of recoloring, one of the main factors determining the process is personalizing the car. It is the ability to customize the outlook of the vehicle.

For vinyl, the possibilities are endless. Vinyl wrap for cars can be designed in any way you want. If you want a sports car look, then use some wild graphics or flamboyant text. If that doesn't suit your taste, then go for an iridescent look or a gradient transition.

In the case of paint wrapping a car, this freedom is absent. One cannot do such customization that easily unless one is skilled at handling a paint gun.

Which to choose?

We would recommend you to vinyl wrap a car if,

  • You just want to hide a scratch on the existing paint job
  • You want high-quality custom graphics
  • You plan to have a temporary recoloring
  • You are short on time
  • And you can go for paint wrap when,
  • You want a permanent recoloring
  • The current paint job is severely damaged
  • You just need minor changes on small body parts

Final Words

Wrapping a car vs. painting it is an intriguing topic. One is easy while the other is tough. Again, one is temporary while the other is permanent. So, what you choose for your car or motorcycle is entirely up to you.

If the paint of the vehicle is severely damaged, go for paint wrapping. If the vehicle just needs a minor touch-up, vinyl is the solution. What process to recolor in is dependent on what you want.

We tried to convey the pros and cons between the two processes in the most straightforward manner possible. Hope the article conveyed its message and helped you decide what recoloring method to opt for.

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