Will a Vinyl PVC Banner Float in or on Water?

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Floating Vinyl Banners on the Ocean, Lake, or River? Why Would You Even do That?

I have a client asking if a vinyl banner will float on water, presumably in a lake, river or ocean.

First, I would have to ask why would you want to put a printed vinyl banner in a lake in the first place? Are you advertising to aircraft that are flying overhead? Or boaters going by on the lake or river or ocean? Or are you afraid that it may fly off your large boat (maybe it’s for sale and you have a banner attached to the side of your craft).

The answer to that question, though, quite simply, is that while a banner is water-proof, and if it were to be glued together in a pillow shape and pumped full of air, it would float, dropping a PVC banner into water and hoping it would float – it won’t.

However, I will say that PVC vinyl banners are inherently water-proof and thus make a great temporary out-of-doors advertising banner sign and will last for months and years in that capacity as long as it doesn’t blow into the river or lake in your vicinity.

Vinyl Floating Banner

The things that destroy a vinyl PVC banner the most quickly is wind, then sun. Sun is inevitable and there’s little you can do to protect your banner against the UV rays that will eventually harden the polymers in your banner material, although we’ve seen them last 10 plus years when installed so that the wind could not move the material much.

Wind, on the other hand, can damage a banner quickly, particularly if not fastened securely to a wall. Banners hung between objects are the most susceptible both to being damaged and to damaging the structure they’re attached to.

If a banner is attached to a pole, for instance, using a cable passing through a pole pocket on top and/or bottom of the banner, and it is too large to bear much wind, a wind storm could possibly take out the weakest link in this set-up, which might be the pole, the cable or rope, or the banner. If the banner and cables are stronger than the pole they’re attached to, the pole may get pulled over, causing damage to anything in the way such as a car or a home or a building.

There are materials that will allow a banner to have a small degree of wind slippage. Perforated mesh vinyl banners have a loose weave that has actual holes in the banner, is still printable, but allows up to 20% of the wind to pass through the mesh. While I personally am not a fan of mesh banners, it is better than any other alternatives. Have a quick visit here for more about these type of banner displays.

The only other wind slippage alternative is cutting wind pockets into standard PVC banner material. With this method, a V-shape or U-shape is cut into the banner every two or three feet which is supposed to allow wind to pass through, but a lot of these pockets will only reduce the wind load four to five percent, which isn’t much, and it leaves a lot of unsightly holes in the banner. Not like.

Back to the original question, though. I’ve gotten off track a bit, but there’s some good info here. Do not try to use your vinyl banner as a boat. It will sink. Hopefully you’ll find a better way to use your banner.

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