If you have a trailer that’s seen better days or if you’re starting a business and need some company advertisement on the side of your trailer, there’s another option besides paint or magnetic decals. For less than a new paint job, you can cover your trailer in a vinyl wrap, which will not only make it look nicer but also protect it from the elements. If you have a business, you can even print graphics or logos on the vinyl.
In This Article
- Trailer Size: How Much Vinyl You’ll Need
- Types of Vinyl: Matte, Gloss, Carbon, etc
- Labor Costs: Professional Installation vs DIY
Why Wrap a Trailer
There are many reasons to wrap a trailer. Since most trailers come in a solid color, usually white or black, wrapping is a cost-effective way to change the trailer’s color. Vinyl wrapping is popular due to its low expense when compared to paint and also because of the huge number of options available with vinyl that aren’t available through any other means, such as carbon fiber print. Additionally, many businesses choose vinyl wrap because it’s easy to have a shop print up business graphics to help the business be more easily seen and recognized.
Other benefits of vinyl wrap include protecting the trailer’s exterior from weather and sun. Typically vinyl wraps last for around three years if the trailer is left out in the sun and rain but can last up to 10 years if the trailer is covered when not in use and not subject to drastic temperature changes. With some care, most vinyl wraps will typically last five to seven years. Vinyl is also removable, unlike paint or Plasti Dip, so if you want to change it up or sell the trailer, it’s easy to peel the vinyl off and reveal the protected paint underneath.
How Much Does It Cost to Vinyl Wrap a Trailer?
The cost of wrapping a trailer in vinyl depends mostly on two factors: how big the trailer is and what type of vinyl you decide to use. Additionally, the wrap may be more expensive if your trailer has lots of curved panels, fenders, or other parts that will require the installer to take more time to get just right.
Trailer Size: How Much Vinyl You’ll Need
Trailers come in a huge range of sizes, from small single-axle trailers that can be pulled with almost any modern passenger car, van, or SUV to three-axle trailers that require a special license (and truck) to pull. There are even mini-trailers for motorcycles. Since most vinyl installers charge by the square foot, a larger trailer will cost more than a smaller one.
A small four- by six-foot enclosed luggage trailer has between 120 and 140 square feet of area that will need to be covered, a larger six- by twelve-foot trailer has between 280 and 300 square feet of area, and an eight- by twenty-four-foot trailer has 630-670 square feet of area. These are just some common trailer sizes, though. Your trailer may be slightly larger or smaller than any of these, but it’s still important to remember that the cost will get larger the bigger the trailer is.
Types of Vinyl: Matte, Gloss, Carbon, etc
The other factor that will determine the price of the vinyl wrap is the wrap itself. Wraps come in many different colors and styles and are typically sold in rolls that are five by twenty-five feet for a total size of 125 square feet. It is possible to get smaller rolls, but this will increase the cost slightly. A roll of glossy or matte vinyl will typically be similarly priced regardless of color, while a roll of carbon fiber-styled vinyl can cost almost twice as much. Here are some examples from Amazon from three popular brands:
- 3M Matte Black — $1.89 per square foot
- 3M Carbon Fiber — $3.52 per square foot
- Avery Glossy Blue — $2.11 per square foot
- Avery Carbon Fiber in White — $3.09 per square foot
- Oracal Matte Silver-Gray — $1.89 per square foot
So for a six- by twelve-foot trailer that has 300 square feet to cover, you’ll need three rolls of 125 square feet each. That comes out to around $240 on vinyl alone if you opt for 3M matte black. Also, keep in mind that if you want graphics printed on the vinyl, the cost will go up. You’ll need to find a printer or a vinyl shop to do this work for you as well since it involves both printing the graphics and then laminating them so the paint is also protected.
Labor Costs: Professional Installation vs DIY
While it is possible to install a vinyl wrap yourself, many people choose to have a professional vinyl shop handle the installation for them. A shop also charges based on how much area they’ll cover with vinyl, so expect to pay $2000-$3500 depending on the size of the trailer, the color options, and whether or not the trailer has a simple shape which will make the installation easier. If you only need a single graphic for your business installed, the cost is much lower: between $250 and $900 depending on the options you chose. The options and process for wrapping a trailer are similar to wrapping a van but will likely be slightly cheaper because trailers have simpler exteriors than vans.
If you’re more of a DIY person, you can tackle the installation yourself. Aside from the cost of the vinyl, you’ll also need a toolkit like this one from 3M which includes a special knife, felt, and a squeegee. You’ll also need a heat source like a heat gun to help stretch the vinyl out during the installation. Be aware that vinyl installation is a time-consuming process that takes patience and attention to detail, as any imperfection in the trailer’s exterior can show through the vinyl. Additionally, if you do need graphics, it may be difficult to find a vinyl supplier in your area who will do a custom print job for you and let you do the installation yourself — most printers will also want to install the vinyl.
Vinyl wrapping a trailer is a great option if you need some extra protection from the elements, you want easy advertisement for your business, or if you’d like to change up your trailer’s paint but want the option to remove it in the future. Vinyl wrap is already a popular option for other vehicles because of all of these perks and because of its versatility, so it may be a good option for your trailer as well. Vinyl wrapping depends mainly on the size of your trailer and the type of material you choose to use. While you can opt to apply vinyl yourself, take care, because it’s a time-consuming process that requires much patience and attention to detail.