The chrome finish on my door cards were shot and most of it had flaked off. Based on what I have read here on the FAQ, I decided to try to refinish them myself with the chrome vinyl that others have posted about.
I ordered the following role of vinyl from Amazon, if for no other reason than this was the one that shipped for free with my Prime account. Based on the reviews, they all seemed like similar products.
First step was to scrape off the last remnants of the flaking chrome. I tried to be as careful as possible to not scratch the surface because any imperfection will show through the vinyl. I used a combination of some plastic trim remover tools and my finger nail.
Once the old chrome was removed, I thoroughly cleaned the surface, first with a solution of water and Dawn liquid soap, then second with some rubbing alcohol. Last, I used a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser pad to smooth out the surface and minimize any imperfections. Then another quick wipe down with some rubbing alcohol to finish them off.
Next, I masked off the area where the vinyl goes.
Then I measured and cut a strip of vinyl. I've never done this before so the first strip I was very generous and cut plenty of extra to give my self enough material to play with. After the first one, I ended up cutting just enough to leave about a half inch all the way around. The version of vinyl I bought has a grid printed on the back which proved to be very helpful.
The vinyl has three layers: the backing paper, the vinyl itself, and a clear top protective cover. Make sure to keep the top cover on until after you're done forming it to the surface and trimming the edges.
To apply, I started at one end and slowly pressed down to adhere the vinyl, pealing the backing off as I went. I didn't use a squeegee, I just used my finger to press out air bubbles as I went.
Next, I heated up the vinyl with my daughter's blow dryer - I don't have a heat gun ?. Then I formed the vinyl to the edges and pushed out any remaining air bubbles using the plastic trim tools. I actually did this while using the blow dryer at the same time. Some folks who posted about doing this had trouble with the edges coming loose. I didn't have any issues and I think it's due to keeping heat on the vinyl as I formed it with the trim tool.
Once formed to the edges, I trimmed the excess off with a razor blade, then peeled away both the top protective cover and the unwanted vinyl.
Here's a picture of the finished edge vs the grey uncovered trim.
And here's the final door panel.
All and all, not too bad for the first time doing this. I'm pretty happy with how they turned out.
One tip, the manufacturer says that the product will stretch. It does but not as much as they claim. Regardless, I don't suggest stretching the vinyl much at all because it actually changes the reflective finish. I noticed this when I pulled the vinyl up to remove an air bubble in an area that I had already heated and formed to an edge.
Hope this was helpful. I'm headed back to Patrick's tomorrow to finish up the Dynamat.
More to come.