All vinyl graphic products are removable, but the question will be "how much damage will pulling the wall decals off my wall cause?" And that is a valid concern, but not if you've prepped your wall properly before applying the wall graphics.
As I've mentioned in the past, your house "breathes" like you do, and even with good filtration systems, over time you will find that there is a greasy film adhering to your walls, because your house exchanges air about every 15 to 30 minutes (possibly less in older homes).
So, if you go to put vinyl graphics on your walls with no prep, your problem won't be removing them, but getting them to stick to the film-coated walls. So, you need to wash your walls.
Most paint stores recommend washing your walls before painting them for the same reason we do. If you want paint or wall decals to stick to them, they need to be clean. Most paint stores, at least in our area, also recommend using Trisodium Phosphate, or TSP, to clean your walls.
I would recommend doing both, cleaning and painting your walls if your budget allows, but if not, at least give them a good washing with TSP.
If you do decide to paint your walls with a standard latex paint, give it a couple weeks to cure/dry before installing any vinyl decals or graphics. That way they'll adhere properly, and you should avoid peeling paint when you do remove them.
Finally, if you find that the decals are wanting to pull paint or more off the wall, a little heat from a heat gun or hair dryer can be effective in coaxing the glue to release from the paint. But do be careful, as too much heat may also coax the paint off the wall.
Are there any surfaces vinyl lettering won't work for?
Yes & Sometimes. Obviously, you cannot stick vinyl stickers or lettering on a rusty old truck and expect them to stay for very long - as in as soon as you get the old rig up to 35 MPH.
Nor do vinyl stickers or decals adhere very well to bare wood. It is best to put some sort of varnish or paint on wood where you hope to adhere a sticker.
Oily surfaces are another place where decals just won't stick to, although some of the surfaces may be easily cleaned, at which point you could place vinyl letters or graphics to.
Then there are certain types of plastics that simply don't work with standard adhesives. Polypropylene can be difficult to get decals or vinyl letters to stick to due to its slick, almost oily feeling surface.
When clients ask me for vinyl stickers or letters or decals, I always ask, "what are you using these for?" I need to know this because I don't want to sell something to my clients that won't work for their application.
Aside from the above though, vinyl graphics should stick to pretty much anything you want to stick it to, but always inform your vendor what the end use of any adhesive vinyl products is going to be to alleviate future headaches.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Barry K. Brown has been in the Sign, Banner, Decal and Display Business for over 20 years. It isn't what he thought he'd do with his life, but he says he knows too much now to do anything else!
He has been marketing these products online since 1998, and the company he was general manager of in 1998 was the first sign company to be listed on Yahoo!