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Roof Wrap vs. Paint – How to Choose

Are you are trying to decide if you should wrap your vehicle’s roof, or just simply paint it? Maybe your roof has sun damage, or maybe you just want to change up your vehicle’s appearance without going overboard and changing the entire body. Like anything, there are advantages and disadvantages for both vinyl wrapping and painting your vehicle’s roof. Here are some things you should contemplate when choosing.

What Look Are You Going For?

One of the first things you should think about when trying to decide if you want your roof wrapped or painted is what you want it to look like. If you want to restore an old vehicle to as close to factory condition as possible, you will want to go for painting. If you want something other than standard design, you should go for a vinyl wrap. There is a wide range of options for both color and texture of vinyl wraps, including carbon fiber.

One of the marks of an exotic and highly sought-after car is carbon fiber parts. These parts are very expensive but provide the same amount or more strength while being lighter than their steel counterparts. Instead of shelling out cash for carbon fiber parts, you can get the same appearance with carbon fiber wraps.

Complex designs can be put on your vehicle’s roof with vinyl wrap, something that would require a huge amount of skill from a painter. Instead, digital designs of anything imaginable can be printed onto the vinyl wrap before it is applied. Advertising and marketing through vinyl wraps are something that can be accomplished with much greater ease than with paint.


Will You Likely Want to Change It Later?

One of the most impactful differences between paint and vinyl wraps is vinyl wraps’ ease of removal. Since vinyl wraps have a shorter lifespan than paint jobs, it makes sense that they are made to be able to be removed. Some vinyl wraps are harder to remove than others, but they all can be removed.

If you want to change the appearance of your vehicle in a significant way but want to have the security of knowing it can be reversed, vinyl wraps are the way to go.

If you want the change in color to be permanent, then vinyl is a bad option because it will eventually need to be replaced. It should be noted that painting only the roof of your vehicle will likely reduce its value. If you use a vinyl wrap to achieve your aesthetic goal, your vehicle’s value will stay intact once the wrap is removed to expose the factory paint underneath. Just be sure to scrub off all of the residual glue!


What Do You Want to Spend?

Wrapping or painting your roof is obviously a lot cheaper than wrapping or painting your entire vehicle. If your decision to only change the appearance of your vehicle’s roof was due to not wanting to spend too much money, vinyl might be the best option since it is significantly cheaper than a paint job that would generate the same effect.

Vinyl wrapping is much faster to apply and because of that, labor costs are reduced. Like paint, vinyl wraps can be damaged. Unlike paint, vinyl wraps are cheaper to replace.

Would You Like Some Paint Protection?

We all want to keep our vehicle’s paint in prime condition. There are many small steps you can take to accomplish this goal including getting a bumper skid plate and clear vinyl wrap.

Clear vinyl wrap is perfect if you want to keep your vehicle’s existing appearance. Although vinyl wrap is no substitute for paint protection film, it does provide your vehicle with an added layer of protection.

If you want to change your vehicle’s physical presentation, you can choose any type of vinyl wrap and still reap the protective benefits, including protecting the part of your vehicle that gets the most UV damage, the roof.  


Automatic car washes are an absolute no-go if you wrap the roof of your vehicle. These types of car washes often use abrasive techniques and hard brushes which will rip or otherwise damage your vinyl wrap.

One of the advantages of getting your roof painted is that cleaning is easier, and you only have to worry about methods that are abrasive enough to scratch your paint or clear coat.

One of the frequently asked questions for vinyl wraps is how you are supposed to keep them clean. Since vinyl wraps are easily damaged by debris including mud and contaminants, washing your roof will be important. If you do decide on a vinyl wrap instead of paint, you should use soapy water and remove all dirt from the roof with a soft, non-abrasive sponge.

What is the Quality of Your Existing Paint?

Vinyl wraps will not cover up defects in your paint. If your vehicle has dents, significant scratches, or rust, you should just repaint your vehicle’s roof to the color and gloss that you want.

If you decide that you want to wrap your roof even if it has paint defects because you want to have an extravagant mural on top of your vehicle which isn’t possible with standard paint jobs, you will run the risk of the vinyl not adhering properly to your car. 

Not only will you be vulnerable to the vinyl lifting from your vehicle’s paint, but you may also find that the defects in the paint underneath are now more pronounced through the vinyl since it is very thin, but often times very reflective. If you are dead set on vinyl, you should definitely consider having your paint repaired beforehand.

Which Should You Choose?

It really depends on what your goals are. If you want to have a very complex and intricate design, carbon fiber appearance, or something unusual like a pearlescent appearance without breaking the bank, vinyl is the way to go.

If you are trying to refurbish a vehicle and get it back to as close to factory as possible, you should paint your roof. If your paint is of poor quality and damaged, you should probably repaint your vehicle and then safeguard it with a paint protection film. Whichever you choose, painting or wrapping your vehicle’s roof is a great way to make your vehicle stand out in the never-ending sea of cars.  


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