Need Help Framing an outdoor wooden sign?

Chardesign

New Member
I am an artist, not a sign maker. But my kids charter school asked me to create an outdoor sign which I did using a sheet of plywood (with a finished side). I painted the heck out of it--primed, multiple layers of paint and then of course handpainted the logo. I used outdoor paint from Sherwin Williams. I finished the edges of the sign with a vinyl J trim. You can stop laughing now:) That was my big mistake. Of course a year later there is water damage. The plywood all along the lower edge of the sign is admitting water and the paint along the lower edge is bubbling. What is the recommended product to finish and seal the edges of an outdoor wood sign? I want to fix it! I am looking at "backhand trim" at my local lumber yard but don't want to make more mistakes. Please send your advice! Thank you in advance.
 

Billct2

Active Member
For signs you should use MDO, but it sounds like you use AC with one good side. Which is actually OK if properly prepped. There are lots of ways to seal the edge, exterior glue, paintable chaulk, fiberglass epoxy and then a good primer & paint. The mistake was probably putting the J trim on without embedding it in silicone or chaulk. You just trapped the water in there. I'd trim the edge if there's any rot, is it's just the paint failing, and prime & repaint. If you want to have a nice trim use a plastic molding and seal with chaulk.
 

geb

New Member
Whenever I see a plywood sign, whether cleared or painted, I know its going to look different soon, in a negative way. I too learned the hard way a long time ago with plywood, and also one sided mdo, plywood backer. All painted plywood failed. Like Bill mentions MDO is a good product for what you're doing, I have used a lot of it and prime, then caulk edges w/ paintable caulk, topcoat with bulletin enamel, then UV clear, never had to clear, but started 13 years ago.
 

Gino

Premium Subscriber
For the most part, there's no exterior grade plywood for first surface structures. Adding coats of prime or paint will not help. Years ago, with oil based paints you could get it to work for 20 or 25 years. I had many signs like that. However, adding J tracks, u channels and other silly edging will only generate areas for water, ice, mold and dirt buildup and fail rather quickly.
 

Chardesign

New Member
For signs you should use MDO, but it sounds like you use AC with one good side. Which is actually OK if properly prepped. There are lots of ways to seal the edge, exterior glue, paintable chaulk, fiberglass epoxy and then a good primer & paint. The mistake was probably putting the J trim on without embedding it in silicone or chaulk. You just trapped the water in there. I'd trim the edge if there's any rot, is it's just the paint failing, and prime & repaint. If you want to have a nice trim use a plastic molding and seal with chaulk.
For signs you should use MDO, but it sounds like you use AC with one good side. Which is actually OK if properly prepped. There are lots of ways to seal the edge, exterior glue, paintable chaulk, fiberglass epoxy and then a good primer & paint. The mistake was probably putting the J trim on without embedding it in silicone or chaulk. You just trapped the water in there. I'd trim the edge if there's any rot, is it's just the paint failing, and prime & repaint. If you want to have a nice trim use a plastic molding and seal with chaulk.

Bill, Can you be more specific about your "plastic molding" recommendation? Like I said in my original post I used vinyl J trim from Lowes. Where would I find plastic molding? Thanks for your time. Lisa
 
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