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Old 05-10-2017, 11:38 PM
Agrayhorse Agrayhorse is offline
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Prepping wood for a barn sign?

I'm interested in painting some barn signs which would either be hung in a horse barn or outside and completely exposed to the weather. In either case they would be likely to get wet at times and of course dirty, etc. Is there anything special I should do to treat wood prior to painting? And is there any particularly good protective finish you would recommend for this kind of environment?

I did one last year from a board I bought at a craft store, but I don't believe the label even said what kind of wood it was. I'd actually like to find bigger ones for future though I don't know where to find them or if there is something in particular I should look for.

Any advice from those with experience in this type of project is appreciated.
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Old 05-13-2017, 07:25 PM
contumacious contumacious is offline
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Re: Prepping wood for a barn sign?

Does it have to be made of wood? Marine Plywood is made to be exposed to water. Teak is also pretty tough. Probably as important as preparing the wood before you paint on it and choosing the type of paint used, would be sealing it afterwards. You want a clear coating that will hold up to massive amounts of sunlight, moisture and temperature extremes.

A known very long lasting clear finish is 4 coats of epoxy sealer followed by 3 coats of Epiphanes varnish. You will need to use permanent pigmented paints that don't fade in sunlight for the graphics / lettering.

If you don't want to go that far with the finsh, a good urethane varnish with UV blocking will last several years. Follow the instructions on the can for prepping the wood. If it is in the sun all day, nothing that I have seen will last more than 5-6 years without being recoated. Once the coating has been compromised the sign will go down hill fast.

If it doesn't have to be wood, then consider ACM panels (Dibond) or sheet aluminum with a good urethane UV blocking clear coat.
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Old 05-13-2017, 07:51 PM
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Mike L Mike L is offline
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Re: Prepping wood for a barn sign?

A good quality house paint over Kilz or Zinser primer will last for decades inside the barn and close to that outside.

House paint was created to successfully face the worst Ma Nature can throw at it - snow, rain, humidity, sunlight, etc. It will outlast any artist's paint under any type of finish/sealer - and doesn't need any. Computerized color matching is simple, too. Usually the smallest container size is the quart.

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Old 05-14-2017, 11:49 PM
contumacious contumacious is offline
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Re: Prepping wood for a barn sign?

Where I live (high desert with 350+ sunny days per year, temps 100+ in the summer) house paint in direct sun on wood rarely lasts more than 3-4 years before it starts to fail. Most paints you would get at a hardware store start to visibly fade within a year. A good urethane or epoxy clear coat over whatever you use with UV block will add several years to that. Check them out yearly and re-coat if needed.
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Old 05-19-2017, 01:43 PM
Agrayhorse Agrayhorse is offline
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Re: Prepping wood for a barn sign?

Thanks guys! I'm not sure where I would purchase anything besides wood, but might be worth looking into if I get more interest in them. I thought that house paint would probably work best, the problem is I am hoping to do very detailed realistic pictures on them and I'm sure it would cost a fortune to buy as many colors as I'd want.

So far I just did one as a spur of the moment Christmas gift, but others who have seen it have asked me about doing more. I used acrylic paint, mostly cheap craft types stuff, and many of the colors I bought said specifically outdoor. I did spray a couple coats of sealer on it, but told them I'd keep it inside the barn to be safe.

It would be easiest for me just to paint future ones with the same acrylics, but wouldn't mind putting several coats of protective finish at the end, would the sealers/varnish mentioned above work over any type of paint?
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Old 05-19-2017, 01:49 PM
Agrayhorse Agrayhorse is offline
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Re: Prepping wood for a barn sign?

This is just an example of the first one I painted, if I'm going to do more on commission I better plan it out better.

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