Home » Vinyl Wrap vs. Paint Car: Which is Better?

Vinyl Wrap vs. Paint Car: Which is Better?

Owners who decide to beautify their cars often have a dilemma about applying vinyl wrap vs. paint. No one can tell the right answer about this subject. Whatever option you choose, you will protect your vehicle, make it stylish, and potentially increase its resale value.

However, the differences between these two options are significant. You should consider wrapping if you need to have your car done quickly and without spending too much money. On the other hand, painting implies a better result but at a much higher price. Let’s take a look.

Vinyl wrap vs. paint Car Quick Comparison Chart

Vinyl wrap vs. paint Car

Feature Paint Vinyl wrap
Variety Limited colors Limitless
Durability Depends on maintenance and way of use Up to 10 years
Installation time About three weeks About three days
Maintenance Regular polishing and waxing Standard car wash with soapy water
Price $3,000 to $10,000 $2,000 to $5,000 with installation
Resale value Depends on color and work quality Excellent


Car Wrapping

A car wrap is a film made of polyester or vinyl you should adhere over the car surface. Vinyl comes in 60 inches (1.5 m) wide and 25 feet (7.6 m) long rolls and a clear protective laminate.

One is typically enough for wrapping an average vehicle and costs $2,500, plus design and installation. Nowadays, you can find two types:


It is a thin film reminding of a sizable car sticker and cut in a specific way to conform to your car shape.


This rarer and thicker type doesn’t conform to the car’s edges and corners but comes in the desired design. You can choose digitally printed vinyl wrap in various patterns and use it for particular purposes.

Wrap coverage

The primary advantage of this option is the possibility to apply it over as much of the vehicle surface as you want.


In this case, you should use wrapping as a paint replacement for the entire vehicle. It is a quick way to change the color of your car.


Applying a partial wrap is an excellent way to accentuate your vehicle look. You can apply it over the roof, hood, mirrors, or spoiler.


Blackout wraps look like full wraps, but they include wrapping all existing trim pieces besides factory paint. In other words, you can cover wheels, grilles, and window sills.


Interior wraps are an excellent option for beautifying plastic trim pieces inside your vehicle.


The protective film is a ceramic, typically clear coating that protects the existing paint from damage.

Wrap finishes

Wraps come with several extra finishing options, such as:


This vinyl wrap finish type is a popular option that provides a look similar to the same kind of paint finish.


Both matte paints and wraps come with the same look. Matte wraps are convenient for upgrading the existing paint or color change.


Satin finish with a subtle metallic shine is an excellent mix of gloss and matte finishes. You can use it to upgrade existing finishes.

Carbon fiber

This wrap finish design with woven carbon fiber mimics carbon fiber body panels. You can use it to beautify a vehicle’s roof, hood, and mirrors.


This impressive finish is an enhancer of other options. It includes numerous patterns, including diamond, forest-themed, or camouflage.


Car Painting 

A paint job is a cosmetic car treatment that includes:

  • Sanding and priming
  • Painting and drying
  • Waxing or polishing

You can pick out a few options, including:

  • Custom paint
  • Satin clear (high-gloss) paint
  • Pearl paint

Paint types

You can find two car paint types on the market, but you should be careful when buying. Some sub-types, like acrylic lacquer and aliphatic polyurethane, are banned in a few states because of environmental concerns.


Most modern vehicles are painted with this paint type. It has stayed resistant to color fading for a decade but is pricey and hard to apply.

You can use it to cover any existing paint, but it is impossible to use lacquer over urethane paint. The downside of this option is that it is not convenient for a DIY project.


It is the affordable, easy-to-apply old paint type used for old-timers. Unfortunately, it is prone to fading and doesn’t last long. The most recognizable types are:

  • Acrylic lacquer – It was the first acrylic paint kind ever created. It is glossy and people love it, but it lasts for a limited period and is eco-harmful. Therefore, many states have banned its use.
  • Acrylic enamel – This acrylic paint forms a hard shell over the car surface, making it a durable option.
  • Acrylic urethane – It is a combination of these two paint types you can effortlessly apply. It comes with a long lifespan, an affordable price, and without legal limitations.


Car paint finishes

The paint finish determines the specific paint appearance by mixing it with specific particles until providing the desired result.

Gloss (solid)

The glossy paint finish is the primary and most affordable type available on the market.


This simple paint is a popular option these days. It shines less even when compared with a gloss paint finish type.


Getting metallic paint includes mixing it with metallic fragments for extra shine and reflectivity. The negative side of this expensive option is the impossibility of repairing scratches appearing on its surface.


This stunning paint finish is a result of ceramic fragments added to it. It is expensive and looks fantastic but is impossible to repair after scratching.


Car Wrapping vs. Car Painting

It is vital to understand the difference between these two options before deciding to beautify your vehicle.


Both options protect the underlying car metal, but vinyl applied over paint protects it from fading and chemical damage.


It can be challenging to paint a small damaged car area without noticing a difference from the original paint. On the other hand, you can quickly cover that damage with a piece of vinyl wrap.


The vinyl wrap comes in a better variety of designs, styles, and finishes. Spray paint is typically limited by the factory paint color range and the designer’s skill when you look for a customized look.


Car paint is widely available on the market, and you can find numerous professionals who can do the job. On the other hand, specialist vinyl installers are rare, particularly outside city areas.


Vinyl wrap can last up to a decade, while well-maintained paint lasts even longer.

Installation time

Spray painting is a long process that typically lasts about three weeks and includes:

  • Stripping the old rusted or peeled-off paint
  • Spraying the surface with a base coat
  • Drying the paint
  • Polishing

On the other hand, you will need to wait only three days to have your car wrapped.


Once you apply car wrapping, it will require occasional washing. On the other hand, paint requires regular maintenance, waxing, and polishing.


Spray painting is always more expensive than wrapping since the paint itself is more pricey than the vinyl wrap. For instance, you need to paint the entire vehicle, but it is not the case with wrapping.

If you want to apply vinyl, you can do it over the whole surface or only partially. Finally, spray painting is a time-consuming process, making labor costs higher.

Resale value

A new painting will increase the vehicle’s resale value, but it significantly depends on the chosen color and work quality. Car wrap protects the original paint, making the car’s resale value high after removal.


Vinyl wrap vs. paint – What to Choose?

Car wrapping 

There are several reasons why to choose car wrapping instead of painting:

  • Car wrapping is quickly removable, and you can effortlessly swap color and design
  • It comes in better quality and lower costs
  • You can find numerous designs, including a digital one
  • It increases vehicle resale value
  • Installation is faster, and wrap lasts longer
  • This option offers better paint protection and more texture options
  • Maintenance is simpler
  • Wrap preserves existing paint, but you can’t apply it over cracked paint
  • It comes with the possibility of customization, making it an excellent solution for branding cars

Unfortunately, this option has its downsides, including:

  • It is impossible to wrap every car
  • A market is overflood with low-quality car wrapping options
  • Sun often damages car wrapping, making it looks unsightly
  • Its removal can damage the underlying paint
  • It is vital to be careful when washing a vehicle

You should also consider that some car owners prefer paint look and dislike wrapping. 

Spray painting 

Painting is a permanent finish for your vehicle that comes with numerous advantages. A list of crucial ones includes:

  • Re-painting is not considered a modification
  • Correctly done, painting increases the car value and lasts longer
  • It is a better solution for vehicles with damaged paint and numerous imperfections, scratches, and dents
  • It is better to use paint if you want to improve a car’s appearance

Painting is an excellent option for your vehicle, but you can notice a few disadvantages, including:

  • It is a time-consuming process that includes more steps
  • It is necessary to remove old paint before applying the new layer
  • It is more expensive than wrapping



Since both car wrapping and painting have numerous advantages and a few downsides, choosing between them is ultimately personal. Wrapping is an excellent option to beautify your vehicle without spending too much money.

On the other hand, painting is costly but last longer. Besides your preferences, it is crucial to determine the original paintwork condition that will make your dilemma easier.

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