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It’s the Paint: Why Wall Decals Won’t Stick

Sherlock Holmes using magnifying glass on a painted wall

By: Naomi J. Myrick,  Staff Writer

Wall decal troubles? It’s probably the paint. In this guide, I’ll discuss some reasons why your customer’s wall decals or wall stickers just won’t stick.

Topics: to be covered

  • Low-VOC paint and adhesives
  • Allow proper cure time
  • Paint finishes matter
  • Texture trouble

Let's Investigate.


Low-VOC Paint and Adhesion

Okay. What is low-VOC paint? "Volatile Organic Compounds” are added to paint to make it less flammable, and they can mess up your vinyl wall decal aspirations.

As noted in this article from 3M, ”Paints that are low in Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are now the most commonly available wall paint. These newer paint formulations are being driven by laws intended to help protect the environment – something we can all appreciate. However, the new paint formulations have reduced how well a film’s adhesive can adhere to a painted wall.”

Low or no-VOC paint is a popular modern paint option. It has fire retardant properties, and also looks great.

When these particular paints dry, they release VOC gas. Check out his great article about VOC-paint by Vertec Biosolvents.

Curing Time

Freshly painted surfaces need to rest. People really just need to let their paint cure for the recommended amount of time. Patience is a virtue for life as well as décor.

Check the paint's instructions to see how long it takes for it to cure correctly. 

The paint, the wall, your mental well-being, and, regrettably, the amazing decal you can't wait to put up all depend on the proper curing process. You have to give the paint time to dry. That's it.


Paint Finishes 

You're probably reading this because you want to get wall decals or because you already have a few. We provide glossy or matte finishing laminations and paint is similar.. 

It's typically either eggshell or satin when it comes to paint. Another way to say that might be smooth and glossy or flat and porous. You understand. However, the wall decal's adherence may be affected by this finishing decision. When it comes to stickers, decals, and labels, the smoother the surface, the better they normally cling and remain in place.


Textured Walls

The texture of the wall could also be an issue for wall decal adhesion. Smooth walls are generally better for decal adhesion. Although usually not as effectively, they can also stick to textured or uneven walls. 

In conclusion, the paint type truly affects the adhesion of wall decals. Even 3M openly admits that, ”with the rapidly changing  formulations of paints, there is no single film or adhesive from any film manufacturer that works best on all painted surfaces.”


In the words of Bugs Bunny, “that’s all, folks.” Please share this article if you found it useful or informative.