How to Seal a Wall Mural

If you plan to invest in a custom-painted or digitally printed mural for your office or home, you will want to know how to seal a wall mural. 

Nobody wants to invest in updating or beautifying a home or office only to have your lovely new look rapidly deteriorate.

While a wall mural installation can completely transform or update your space, careful steps must be taken from start to finish to ensure your feature wall stays looking vibrant and new for years to come. 

If you are concerned about the longevity of your mural, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we give you essential tips to help you extend the life of your wall mural and keep it looking as good as new. 

How To Seal A Wall Mural

Sealing your mural is essential if you want to protect it from damage like harsh sunlight, stains, or scuffs. 

High-traffic areas are likely to experience knocks from backpacks, briefcases, shoe scuffs, and people brushing up against them. Even the best custom wall murals, left unprotected, will inevitably tear or fade. 

how to protect a wall mural

Choose a Sealant 

There are different types of wall murals, so the sealant you choose will depend on whether you have used wall-size photo murals or have a custom-painted mural.

Polyurethane is often recommended for indoor projects, while varnish, more UV resistant, could be a better choice for outdoor murals.

Be cautious of using a sealant that yellows as it ages. Oil-based products may result in a smoother finish, but they take several hours to dry and yellow as they age. 

We recommend a water-based archival matte varnish. Archival varnish not only protects your mural but will not yellow as it ages. 

Sealants come in different finishes: Matte, satin sheen, or glossy. A matte sealant is ideal because it will not cause glare. Glossy varnish is too reflective for wall murals and will reflect light away from the wall.

Prepare Your Wall 

Your mural is only as sound as the surface you place it on. While proper application of the mural itself is crucial, there are additional measures you should take if the longevity of the mural is important to you.  

If you have invested in sprucing up your home or office, you do not want to find yourself removing wall murals because they were laid on poor foundations. 

You might be wondering if a wall mural needs smooth walls.

The answer is that they do. But, murals can still be used on multiple surfaces, including wood, stone, and concrete. Surfaces must be dry and non-porous

If a wall is rough, you risk weakening the adhesive or tearing the vinyl. Run your hand across all sections of the wall that you plan to put the mural on and sand down any bumpy spots

Checking the structural integrity of your wall is crucial. This means inspecting for any damage like cracks, or damp or rotted areas that might give way or affect the adhesion of your mural. 

If the existing paint is in poor condition, sand it down and paint a primer coat over it. 

If the wall is porous, the mural will not adhere well, and you will need to paint the wall with a primer. A word of warning here:  if you are installing a vinyl wall mural, you need to wait a few weeks after painting. 

how you can protect a wall mural

Dirt will also affect how your mural adheres to the wall. Check for mold, wax, or oil, and clean the wall thoroughly. 

If there is any mold you must eradicate it entirely. You must treat the underlying cause of mold or dampness or it will return.

Mold will spread into your wall mural material. Instead of cleaning the wall with soap, use ammonia or white vinegar. 

Repair any damage, like spackle in cracks, and sand down any existing paint peeling off with a sanding block. 

Once sanded, wipe the dust off with a wet cloth. Before you seal your mural, make sure the wall is completely dry and clean of any dust. 

Apply The Sealant

Always read the manufacturer’s instructions on the container carefully before you begin. Some sealants need to be diluted, so refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for the correct ratio of sealant to water. 

If you are diluting the sealant, make sure the correct dilutant is used. If you are diluting your sealant with water, use clean water at room temperature. 

Products vary widely in composition, and each product will have different application instructions. 

How to Seal the Wall Murals

The product instructions will also tell you how many layers of sealant are recommended and the time required to dry between each layer. Too many layers of some water-based sealants can become cloudy and ruin your mural. 

Be sure to protect your floor before you apply the sealant. Using a drop cloth as you would when painting a wall is advisable. 

A wide paintbrush is easier for covering a large area, and it also reduces the chance of streaks and brushstrokes across your mural. 

Work horizontally from one top corner of the wall to the next and then move down and start the next sealing row. 

When applying varnish, it is best to work in a cross-hatch pattern. This is a method of using x-shaped strokes, which helps to keep the varnish even. 

Cure The Sealant

There is a difference between drying time and curing time. A sealant may be dry to the touch, but it is not fully cured until it has hardened and can still be susceptible to damage. 

Follow the manufacturers’ directions for drying and curing, keeping in mind that the humidity and temperature in your home can affect trying times. 

The curing process may require some patience from you. Acrylic sealants can take up to 72 hours to harden or longer. The manufacturer’s instructions on the product container will give you the curing time.

Keep traffic away from the wall until it is completely dry. Don’t forget to keep pets from brushing up against the wall.

how to protect your wall mural

Last Word

Vinyl murals can withstand temperatures from -20F to 150°. But keep in mind that weather conditions and overall care can affect the longevity of your mural.

Adding a sealant to your mural will stop it from accumulating dirt and prevent fading, extending its lifespan. 

If you want to know how much a wall mural costs or need expert advice on the best wall murals for a living room or even on how to reuse wall murals, make sure to give the experts a call. 

Decorating with wall murals is a growing trend. And with easy-to-clean vinyl wall murals, you don’t have to worry about tricky-to-clean hand-painted walls. 

While custom murals are easy to install yourself, you may need additional help for installation over large areas.

For a truly hassle-free experience, let Coastal Creative do the job for you. Our expert team is available to deliver and install their top-quality wall murals anywhere in Southern California, including San Diego, Orange County, and Los Angeles.

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