How to Make an Outdoor Sign Waterproof

Outdoor signage is one of the best investments your business can make! There’s no better way to catch the attention of passersby and make that valuable first impression.

But first impressions count, so it’s important to maintain your signs and keep them looking perfect. A good-looking sign is an effective advertising tool, a worn out, dirty or mouldy sign can have the opposite effect. When it comes to keeping outdoor signage looking great, waterproofing is the key.

Waterproofing your signs is usually handled by the sign maker. But there are a few things you can do to ensure your signage is protected and that it looks great for years to come!


How to Waterproof Outdoor Signage

Outdoor signage is made from tough materials like aluminium, steel, glass and plastic. These materials are low-maintenance and typically don’t require additional weatherproofing. Your sign maker will provide instructions on how to care for your sign, which will include:

  • Keep the sign clean. Dirt and other pollutants can damage your sign’s waterproofing. Where dirt builds up, it’s able to trap water, which can degrade waterproof coatings and paint, and it can cause metal to rust. Regularly cleaning your sign with water and soap is the best thing you can do to prolong its life.
  • Inspect the sign for damage. Keep an eye out for any signs of damage. This can include cracking or crazing due to sun exposure, or it may be more obvious breakages caused by things like bad weather and falling branches. Damaged signs may allow water to seep into the housing, which can damage electronics, lighting and internal components. Make sure you have any damage professionally repaired by your sign maker.
  • Reapply paint and coatings. Some parts of your outdoor signage will be protected with paint and other coatings (such as polyurethane). These coatings need to be reapplied every few years to ensure the sign remains waterproof.
  • Replace caulking. Electronic and backlit signs are often waterproofed using caulking. This caulking wears out over time and will need to be replaced every 5 years or so.

How to Weatherproof Timber Signs

Timber signs look fantastic, but they require more upkeep than other types of outdoor signage. Most timber signs have one of four main types of protective coatings: paint, oil, varnish or polyurethane. Maintenance requirements depend on the type of coating that was used.

Generally speaking, you’ll need to reapply timber coatings every 1-5 years. To reapply the protective coating and weatherproof your timber signs you should:

  1. Clean the sign thoroughly. Use soap and warm water to wash the exterior of your sign. If your sign includes electronics or lighting elements, unplug the sign and be careful not to flood these components with water.

  2. Sand back the surface. Lightly sand the surface of the sign using 120 grit sandpaper. This removes imperfections and any remnants of the old coating. Wash off any dust before applying the new coating.

  3. Apply the oil or coating. You can now apply the new coating according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This usually involves painting, rolling or spraying on multiple layers of the coating. This should always be done on a clear, sunny day that’s not too hot.

  4. Allow the coating to cure fully. Regardless of the coating product you’re using, you’ll need to allow the oil, paint or varnish to cure completely before putting the sign out in the elements. This typically takes 48 hours, but follow the manufacturer’s instructions to prevent the sign from becoming damaged.


Does Outdoor Signage Need Maintenance?

Professionally manufactured outdoor signage is supplied with all the weatherproofing and protective coatings it needs. That means you usually won’t need to worry about painting, varnishing or caulking your signs. At least, you won’t need to do those things right away.

Spending time out in the elements can quickly take its toll on signage. Sun, storms, dirt, pollution and other contaminants will degrade the protective coatings. That means you will need to invest in regular maintenance to keep your window signs or wall graphics looking perfect.

Happily, regular maintenance only involves cleaning the sign and looking for any obvious degradation or damage. Beyond that, you’ll only need to reapply paints, varnishes and protective coatings once every few years. A building signage company can provide instructions on how to care for outdoor signage or illuminated signs, and they will be happy to help with any touch-up work you need!


Keep Your Outdoor Signage in Perfect Condition with Signs Brisbane!

Outdoor signage is one of the best ways to make your business stand out from the crowd! Outdoor signs are striking and they look fantastic, but they need a little bit of TLC to ensure you’re putting your best foot forward. If you’re looking for signs that last, give Signs Brisbane a call!

Signs Brisbane is an experienced sign maker that works with clients all over the Brisbane region. We design outdoor signage for individuals and corporate clients of every scale. Whether you want simple A-frame signs for a small shop, or large-scale installations for a commercial building, we can design, fabricate and install outdoor signage that helps grow your business.

If you’re unsure about how to care for your promotional signs then give us a call. We’re happy to discuss maintenance requirements and how you can keep your outdoor signage looking fantastic for years to come!

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