How To Keep A Painted Wooden Sign Looking Sharp
A painted wooden sign can do a great job of advertising your business, but only for as long as you're able to keep it in good shape. To ensure that your sign does not start chipping or peeling prematurely, follow these instructions for care and maintenance.
Display the sign under an overhang if possible.
When properly painted and sealed, a wooden sign can withstand outdoor use. However, its lifespan will be greatly reduced if it is left to sit directly in the rain and sunshine. If you have an overhang on your building, display the sign under it if possible. If you purchased the sign to display by the road or in another exposed area, consider attaching a board that's a little bit wider than the sign to the top of the sign. This way, the rain will hit the top of the board and fall off the sides of the board instead of coming into direct contact with the sign.
Re-seal the sign with polyurethane every few months.
Polyurethane finish does a good job of keeping the rain and sun from damaging the paint and wood – but even it can be worn away in the elements. To extend the life of your sign, re-apply polyurethane every six months or so. Wait for a dry day, when the weather report is not calling for rain for a couple of days. Wipe the sign down thoroughly, and then wait for it to dry. Use a foam paintbrush to apply a thin coat of polyurethane to the entire sign, working quickly so that the layer goes on clear and thin, rather than becoming sticky and gloppy.
Re-paint the sign before it starts looking dingy.
If you wait until the paint is peeling and chipping to re-paint it, the paint won't go on evenly, and your sign won't look as professional. Thus, it's best to re-paint your sign once a year whether or not it appears to need it. If you don't have the original colors left from the sign, you can take a small chip of each color of your paint to a paint store, and they can use their color-matching technology to make paint for you.
Wait for a dry day to re-paint your sign. Use masking tape to outline any areas if you think you might have a hard time staying "in the lines." Only apply a thin layer of paint – you're just touching up the work – too thick a layer of paint will just encourage more chipping. After your paint dries, apply a new layer of polyurethane.
By keeping your sign out of the elements as much as possible, re-applying polyurethane regularly, and re-painting it before it starts to look worn, you'll extend its life and ensure it never starts to look worn down.