Is Laminating / Lamination Film Waterproof?

Pouch LaminatorIf you are laminating a sign or a banner, there is a chance you may want to use it outside. If it is outside, there is a chance it could be affected by rainwater, snow, sprinklers and other elements. A question I frequently get from customers shopping around for a laminator or for laminating film is, “Is laminating film waterproof?” This is a great question. This is my answer.

To begin with, there are two primary forms of lamination. One is pouch lamination, which is done using a pouch laminator. The other is roll lamination, which is done by a roll laminator. While both formats produce results that are very similar, the method is slightly different.

Pouch laminators use laminating pouches, which look very similar to a folder. Products are placed inside and they are run through the laminator. Heat, rollers and pressure is used to melt the thermally-activated glue, finishing the lamination process.

Roll Laminating FilmRoll laminators use two separate rolls of film. One roll is for the top and the other is for the bottom. As a sign or banner is run through the laminator, a layer of thermally activated glue is applied to the top and bottom.

Pouch laminators are typically used for smaller items, up to about a legal-size sheet of paper. Roll laminators are used for mass laminating and for laminating larger signs and banners.

Laminating film is waterproof as long as there is a sealed barrier around the sign or banner. This barrier prevents water from seeping in and damaging the paper, photo or sign. If for any reason you use scissors and cut into the film and into the laminated paper, water can now soak in from the edge.

Laminating film will, however, deteriorate over time as hot sun begins to break down the glue. This process usually takes months of direct harsh exposure to the elements. If the laminated item sits under an eve or isn’t in direct sunlight, it could potentially last years.

The sun can also cause colors to bleach over time. For this reason UV film was created. While it is a bit more expensive, UV film can help filter out bleaching sunrays and dramatically enhance and preserve color.

You can find our entire selection of laminating pouches / film here and our entire selection of roll lamination film here. We also offer a great selection of laminating machines here.

Please feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions about laminators or film.

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4 Responses to “Is Laminating / Lamination Film Waterproof?”

  1. lisa budd Says:

    hi. you sound very knowledgeable about laminated paper. i want to know if you laminate a piece of paper (using the pouch technique and leaving a clear edge of laminate around it and inserted it in a wrist band that would be worn constantly by the wearer eg in the bath/shower, swimming, in the sun how long would you expect it to last?

  2. Dave Says:

    If it is in a wristband it could potentially last months without issue. The weakest point on a laminated pouch is the corners. As long as the corners aren’t bumping into stuff or experiencing direct contact, the laminated paper should last a while. If the corners do get banged around a lot, they could lose structural integrity and begin to peel apart. That would be my biggest concern.

  3. Rayal Says:

    What about a corrosive environment? Lets say potential contact with caustic soda, hot condensate, etc. Will a 5mil pouch type lamination be able to stand up to that type of environment? If no, are there any corrosion resistant laminating films that you would recommend to use instead? Thanks in advance

  4. mcloward Says:

    No. The lamination film that we sell is mainly intended for use in an office or school type of environment. Not aware of any films that would protect against the substances you mentioned.

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