Continuing on from our previous article 'Preparing for installation' we shall now be detailing to you the best method of installing acrylic sheets onto a substrate surface. To quickly recap, ensure that both your acrylic and substrate are properly readied, and that all the machining has been fully carried out; if you have not done this yet and are unsure how to then please refer to the previous article.
The method of installation that we shall be describing is one that shall permanently fix the acrylic to a substrate. This means once you have applied the acrylic to its new under-layer any mistakes made cannot be corrected; it is for this reason that we suggest you carry out a series of practice runs with the protective film still on, before removing it and attempting it for real.
One thing you should most definitely do before applying your acrylic sheet is to ensure your chosen surface can actually support the acrylic sheets that you wish to mount. We suggest you do this by taping the acrylic to the substrate, which should give you a clear indication of whether or not the surface has the load-bearing capacity to support the sheets and the tape which shall be used in the permanent fixing.
Once you have been able verify that it is capable of supporting the load without any hassle, you can now remove the protective film from the side of the sheet that will be facing the wall and clean it, preferably with petroleum ether or isopropyl alcohol.
At this juncture you can resort to a number of bonding agents, including double-sided tapes, silicone, acrylic adhesives, etc. we suggest using double sided foam tape, the strength of which is more that sufficient to connect an acrylic sheet to a wall. For the best results we suggest you apply the tape in evenly spaced horizontal strips along the width of the sheet.
Before removing the paper from the other side of the tape hold the top edge of the sheet at a 45° angle along where you want it to be. This is your last chance to make sure that everything is as it should be before you apply the sheet to the substrate, so take your time to make sure that it is the right size, that it will fit properly, and that you are happy with how it should look.
So long as you have met the 3 criteria set out above, go ahead and remove the paper from the rows of double sided tape and once again hold the top edge of the sheet against the wall, at a 45° angle. Once you are certain that it is straight against the wall, preferably with the use of a spirit level, gently reduce the angled gradient of the sheet until all of it is completely flat against the substrate.
Press the sheet firmly against the wall, allowing the foam tape to spread and adhere to the largest surface area possible, then leave it for a time until the adhesive has fully taken effect and you are certain that the sheet and the substrate are securely bonded. Once you have made sure, you can go ahead and remove the protective film from the outward facing side of the sheet, and you should be good to go!
We hope that both parts of this guide have been helpful to you, and that you are now the proud owner of some beautifully (and securely) installed acrylic cladding.