Introduction to van wrapping

Here we will look at typical van wrap cost using a VW Transporter as an example. We will look at the van wrapping process and costs to get a decent DIY wrap on your van.

Vinyl wrap is an adhesive-backed plastic sheeting. Also known as color change wrap, it was born out of the demands of wrap advertising business.

3m is one of the best wrap product available and is the choice of most professional and DIY wrap projects however some of the cheaper Chinese copy products have improved significantly in recent times.

The example product linked below has air release technology that helps avoid bubbling when applying the vinyl making it much easier to apply than other products. Take your time in selecting your vinyl as there are subtle differences between manufacturers.

A great example of a unique VW T5 wrap

Van wrapping has now evolved into a very popular low cost way of changing the look of VW transporter vans without the need for a complicated and potentially expensive paint respray. 

On new vans and lease vans especially it is a popular way to change the vehicle look as it can be removed at point of sale to restore to factory finish.

Reasons to wrap a Transporter

Van wrapping involves completely or partially covering your van with a vinyl film. This film can be used to overlay the vehicle with a different color or design, add a gloss or matte finish, or simply add a protective layer. 


The wrap can help protect the vehicle’s original paintwork from light scratches and chips, and can also protect from UV damage.

Van wrapping started out as just sign writing for commercial use. In the last few years, the vehicle wrap industry has come a long way from solid colors, and innovators. The materials to wrap a van your self can now be as low as £300 depending on colour!

Wrap suppliers have developed metallic, reflective, matte, gloss, pearlescent, color-changing, even factory-matching, and pantone colours, not to mention beautiful, stunning, and complex patterns and combinations.

Full van wrap cost – Transporter

The prices of professionally applied van wraps range from  £1200 to  £3500 depending on the type and quality of wrapping and the condition of the van.

The latter decides the preparation needed to be done.

Half van wrap cost

The cost of half wrapping your VW Transporter ranges from  £1000 to  £2000

Can you do VW Transporter wrap yourself

Vehicle wrapping process has improved to a point where you can wrap your van pretty much like the professionals do, following the same steps.

Previously, the biggest concern was that of the bubbles marring the surface of your beautiful new vinyl wrap or a permanently crooked application.

Today’s vinyl is designed to let the air out as you apply and the adhesive doesn’t set right away. You can apply, adjust, and eliminate bubbles quickly and easily. The commonly used cast vinyl conforms well to curved shapes and strongly retains their original shape.

How hard is it to wrap van?

Allow lots of time and patience, it is a semi skilled job but can be done at home with good results. If you have the time and inclination, wrapping your VW transporter can be fun. A good tip is to order 10% to 15% more of the material to allow for errors!

Of course, if it’s not done correctly.  it will end up as a fiddly job that won’t look great. You have to be methodical in following each step mentioned below

  • Take the correct measurements
  • Get the right type of vinyl wrap and in sufficient quantity. For example for your VW transporter, you need a 152 cm wide roll of vinyl wrap about 20- 25 meters long
  • Remove the blocking parts like liners, moldings, handles, badges, seals etc to apply a clean wrap
  • Gather all the material, tools, and supplies like grease remover, general cleaner, isopropyl alcohol
  • Remove the scratches, chips, dents, etc from the van body
  • Practice by applying in a small area first
  • Once you are confident, peel the vinyl backing off and start wrapping
  • Start in the middle and squeeze out
  • Tuck the edges
  • Heat the wrap with the gun and set it

A clean work table keeps everything off the floor and reduces the chance of picking up dust. This is a great project with a buddy, for holding larger sections of vinyl wrap and for moral support.

Tools needed to do a van wrap yourself

How to wrap a van
You can buy complete kits on eBay

If you only need a few of the tools it is cheaper to buy individually. As a minimum, the mid-sized VW transporter requires the following tools to complete a decent DIY wrap on your van.

How long does it take to wrap a van

Depending on how much you want to wrap and the complexity in the design of your van, it can take between one and five days to wrap. Even the temperature outside could have a bearing on how long it takes.

Add to it the time that goes into preparation and resting. Additionally,  once the work is complete, the van has to be left for 12-24 hours to let the adhesive set.

Van Wrap Cost vs paint

Let’s first look into the pros and cons of Van wrapping

VW TRANSPORTER WRAP Great example t5.1 with wrap
Wrapping is easier to get a nice matt finish

Advantages to Transporter wrapping

  • More economical and less time consuming than Painting
  • It gives you more room to experiment with different patterns and designs for a unique look.
  • Once the vinyl starts to look worn, it’s relatively simple to replace it.
  • Vinyl car wrapping can help protect the vehicle’s original paintwork from light scratches and chips, and can also protect from UV damage.
  • It’s flexible. If you don’t like wrapping, it can be easily removed without damaging the paint underneath. The same goes for the advertisements that you put along with the wrap.
  • The previous point helps maintain the future resale value of your van.

Disadvantages to Transporter wrapping

  • It’s easy to ruin your Van’s looks with a badly applied wrapping. Cheap services or materials can result in the wrap looking bubbled, thin, cheap, and ragged at the edges.
  • If the vinyl is not properly fitted then water could become trapped underneath it, leading to rust. In the event of water damage, you may also find the paint is removed alongside the wrap when it is taken off.
  • Even if you have a professional car wrap, you may still face issues. Bird poo can corrode the vinyl much more easily than regular paint. Brushes and bristles, if not used gently, can degrade the wrap
  • Wrapping counts as a modification, so you’ll need to inform your insurer.

VW Transporter painting

Now let us look into the pros and cons of Transporter painting

Advantages to VW Transporter painting

  • A good paint can last for a lifetime
  • It can not be damaged by brushing or waxing.
  • Paint protection treatments, with chemical topcoat, can offer the kind of defense to your van which wrapping cannot.

Disadvantages to VW Transporter painting

  • Painting can take a longer time – from 3 days to 3 weeks, depending on the preparation needed and waiting time
  • Painting is almost permanent. Once done, it is not easy to change like the wrap
  • If you are doing the painting yourself, it can have ill effects on your health,  pollute your surroundings, and even affect your home with the fumes.

Conclusion wrap vs paint

Wrapping, as we saw above, is easy, economical, and flexible.

However, it completely depends on the condition of the paint on your Transporter. Any imperfections on the original paint job will show through the wrap.

In this case, repainting is definitely a better choice. If the paint condition is good, go for wrapping. It will keep the original paint intact so you can always change your mind.

FAQ’s on Van wrapping

How long does a van wrap last?

If you look after your vinyl van wrap, you can expect it to last for 5-6 years.

VW t5 half wrap cost

Most van wrap companies charge about £ 1000 + VAT

vw t5 half wrap idea
A lovely example of a half and half T5

VW T5 full wrap cost

It costs about £1400 + VAT with high-quality vinyl, like 3 M

VW t5 two-tone wrap cost

It costs about £1900 + VAT but the prices swing in a huge range depending on a lot of factors

VW t6 half wrap cost

It can cost about £1145 plus vat

VW T6 full wrap cost

It costs about £1200 + VAT

VW T6 two-tone wrap cost

It costs £1850 + vat

You may also like