If you are planning to install a flag during the summer and in Texas, it's best to do it during right when the sun rises or right when it sets. The purpose of this blog is not only to tell how we installed a flag on a Suburban, but how we did so in challenging conditions.
To clarify, we were not installing a normal American flag decal. The design our customer wanted on his Suburban was a distressed blue line flag. Distressed flags are far more difficult to install due to the fact the you can't peel off and retry if you make a mistake. Our customer also lives in Texas and we were doing this install in the middle of summer. I did say that the best times to install a flag is during early mornings or late afternoons, but they were currently moving and we were restricted on time.
- Flatten decal as much as possible.
- By using a squeegee, apply pressure to the decal, this is to get rid of air that may have seeped between the decal and the transfer paper (off-yellow covering the decal) when it was rolled up. It's best to start in the middle and push the air bubbles out to the sides.
- Find helping hands. There were already 2 of us, but with how long the flag was, a third pair of hands would have been helpful. An alternative to helping hands is tape. Best placed on the upper corners and a couple in between to hold the flag to see if you placed it straight. After you positioned the flag parallel to the edges of your window, add more tape to the side with just stripes. A precaution with using tape is it may rip the transfer tape, so if you don't like both options, there are magnets strong enough to stick onto cars. They're just more tedious to move.
- Clean both windows, but we also recommend to clean a window just right before you install a flag. Use a car window cleaner. Rag doesn't have to be lint free, but it will certainly help with preventing bubbles. Since we were installing in the summer, bubbles were inevitable.*
- Spray soapy water onto the window and on the decal (adhesive side) because it was scorching. Half the water we sprayed on the window evaporated by the time we aligned the flag.
- Always install the side with the stars first. It is the hardest portion to fix, so it's the easier to install them before the stripes. Start by peeling the backing paper on the upper corner and squeegee as you peel. Once you peeled about 3-4 stars, start peeling the rest of the backing paper along that side (so you are peeling left to right for the driver side and vice versa for passenger side).
- As you pull the backing paper and squeegee the decal onto the window, fold the backing paper so it doesn't scrape the soapy water you sprayed. If this is hard to do, once you get to the halfway point, pull the backing paper completely and spray more soapy water on the window and on adhesive of the decal.
- After we completely had squeegeed the flag onto the window, we continued to go over it about 3 more times. This is because it was a distressed flag and if we didn't eradicate all of the air bubbles, some of the decal can fold over itself.
- Gently peel the transfer tape from the upper corner you started to squeegee. This was the most difficult part because we made sure we were not creating huge air bubbles.
- Lastly, we trimmed any excess decal, gently got rid of any air bubbles, and tucked in the excess decal around the edges of the window.
That Texas heat was the worst condition we have ever installed a flag in. Make sure if you are going to embark a similar trial that you choose the best timing, have a reliable source of shade, and lots of water (and not just to cool your windows).