Note: In most instances, it is possible to remove vinyl lettering with no residual damage to the applied surface. While this is typically the case, different substrate materials can react in different ways, so if you're unsure of the resulting reaction, it's important to test an inconspicuous area of your surface before applying the following techniques to the entire area. The upside is that most surfaces, including vehicles, respond well to the vinyl removal technique outlined below, with no resulting damage to the surface.
(Note: When working with decals that have been in place for a significant length of time, there is the slight possibility that the paint around the decal will appear discolored or faded upon removal. Usually this only occurs in cases where the decal has been exposed to the sun for extreme periods of time. This significant sun exposure will result in a tan line effect on the surface, whereby the unexposed area under the decals will appear nice and shiny next to the faded, exposed surface.)
In the case of an old wooden sign, where the paint is already chipped and peeling, it is important to keep in mind that the paint will most likely peel off with the vinyl letters when you remove them.
The following step-by-step instructions provide a good basic plan for removing old vinyl decals, stripes and letters.
Heat the surface of the decal with a heat gun. Then take aPlastic removal squeegee and scrape vinyl from the surface. (Note: if the vinyl is old and brittle, it will most likely come off in small pieces. If the vinyl is not that old you may be able to pull it off in bigger chunks.)
Once you have peeled all of the vinyl off, you will have to clean the adhesive off the surface with a product designed to remove adhesive without damaging the paint. We sell a Adhesive remover fluid that works well for this purpose.
Clean the surface with soap and water then check to make sure there are no remaining pieces of vinyl or adhesive stuck to it.
At this point, you are done. If you intend to apply new vinyl to the surface, be sure to clean it thoroughly, then wipe it down with alcohol to insure that none of the adhesive remover is left on the surface