Application Tips for Vinyl Grips
Applying vinyl Grips can be accomplished through a variety of methods. Speed, convenience and simplicity dictate the method of choice. In most cases, the preferred methods are:
Exposure to any heat source reaching temperatures of 140°F (60°C) to 180°F (82°C) will soften the vinyl, making it easier to apply. Once the vinyl grips are installed and cooled, it maintains its original rigidity and secure fit. (Note: Heating does not cause vinyl grips to dilate to a larger diameter.)
Recommended Heat Sources
Heat Lamps: For best results, spread the grips over a wide surface with the heat radiating down on the grips. One lamp should adequately heat a 3' x 3' area. When large quantities of grips are involved, several lamps positioned over a larger surface area allow multiple operators to work from a central workstation.
- Hot Box: Placing the vinyl grips inside a low temperature oven allows a larger quantity of grips to be pre-heated for application. Grips can remain in their shipping cartons or be transferred to a reusable container. Any type of circulating air oven is suitable with temperatures between 140°F (60°C) to 180°F (82°C). This method will require double handling, moving the grips from box to oven to workstation.
- Heat Guns: Mounted over a workstation or conveyor system, heat guns can produce enough heat to soften the vinyl grips for application. Grips should be no more than two to three layers deep. Again, a centrally located heating area could accommodate multiple users.
- Hot Water: Vinyl Grips can be submerge in heated water and applied wet, directly onto the handle. The water effectively works as a lubricant to aid in the installation. After a 24 hour period (approximately), the water will evaporate and the resulting fit will be tight and secure.
Regardless of the amount of interference fit between the grip and the handle, the only guarantee against slippage is the use of adhesive. Plus, there is the added benefit of the glue working as a lubricant during installation. Due to the varying handle materials, e.g. wood, plastic, metal, etc., several adhesives should be tested for function and ease of use.
The following manufacturers are excellent sources for a wide range of adhesives: 3M, Loctite, Permabond International. Contact your local dealer for more information. Please note that the grip diameter may not require the same degree of interference to fit the handle when using adhesive.
The use of certain types of lubrication can be extremely effective in speeding the installation of grips. An undersized grip will slide easily onto the substrate by adding a lubricant to the installation process. Hair spray or a soapy water solution works well with any style vinyl or rubber grip. We recommend a concentration of 1 teaspoon liquid detergent per 1 gallon warm water. Both the hair spray and residual soap provide the secondary benefit of acting as an adhesive after drying.
To apply a soap lubrication solution, simply spray or dip the handle in the solution prior to grip installation. Grips exceeding 5” in length with undersized diameters will require lubricant to be applied to both the substrate and the inside of the grip. Otherwise, the grips may “squeegee” the lubricant off the substrate during installation, leaving minimal or no lubricant for the greater portion of the length.
Air is especially effective with extremely long foam grips capable of expanding when inflated. With one end sealed against the substrate, a fixture designed to seal the other end of the grip while introducing air pressure facilitates sliding the grips into desired position.