There are several factors that need to be considered if you are looking for extra durable, waterproof, fade resistant, long-term custom stickers. There are many different options available depending on the uses and an individuals perceived notion of what “durable” or “long lasting” means.
It should also be clarified whether by “durable” one is talking about the strength of adhesive on the back, or the longevity of the graphic on the front of sticker. For sticker adhesives there are a number of options depending on the level of stickiness and desired application. I wrote about various sticker adhesives here.
For durability on the printed side of stickers, again there are varying degrees of longevity and durability. Starting with the inks and how the sticker is printed, there are a number of digital full color printing methods with a wide range of durability. Screen printed stickers are still the most durable of print methods with an outdoor lifespan of 3-5 years.
Regardless of print method, durability/lifespan can be improved by adding lamination, textured plastic or polyurethane doming over the printed graphics. This is a good ideas if stickers need to be scuff resistant or protected from chemicals or abrasion (or just look and feel more heavy duty). Floor stickers for example need a durable non-slip overlaminate to hold up to heavy foot traffic, cleaning products, etc.
The base material will also effect durability. There are different degrees of flexibility with different materials. For instance a white vinyl will have more give and flexibility than a polyester. So when being applied to a surface that isn’t completely rigid or is curved, the flexible vinyl would be better for long term durability than a clear or chrome polyester. There are also different grades and thicknesses of vinyl.
If there are concerns with how a certain material or adhesive will hold up on a particular surface it is best to obtain samples and do testing. Websticker is here to answer any durability questions or send out samples for testing.