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Painting awnings

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by Cynosure, Aug 9, 2019.

  1. Cynosure

    Cynosure Member

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    Downers grove
    I was asked to replace some vinyl address numbers on some sunbrella style awnings. Has anyone had any luck or recommendations on just painting new numbers on? I need to make sure I cover the old fade marks, and I just feel vinyl will wind up failing again. As always, any input is appreciated.
     
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  2. TimToad

    TimToad Very Active Member

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    I just hand lettered a couple of awnings in the last few weeks and as they have always been, Sunbrella awnings are a pain to do any other way but hand lettering. Unless you can coating the working area with some kind of sealer, paint, etc.. vinyl and paint masks will not stick to them.
     
  3. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    I just had a thread about a sunbrella awning I did earlier this week.....(titled not really hand made). When the material is new, it's much easier to hand paint, but as with yours, it's old, so your paint is gonna wanna wick out, so you'll hafta be careful. I pounced it and then used an old fitch, which is just stiff pig bristles. Double coated it and it should be good for at least 10 or 12 years. I got into the habit of using latex or solid stain for the paint. Do not thin it, not at all. There are some vinyl materials out there that work and I've used them with really good success. I think it's called dac-tac or something similar. There are two versions and it comes in colors. I know that stuff will last 5 or 6 years without a hassle.
     
  4. Cynosure

    Cynosure Member

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    Thank you Tim. What kind of paint did you use? I had someone tell me regular latex paint, but I'm not sure if that sounds right to me...
     
  5. KSTrooper

    KSTrooper Wrapper, designer, illustrator

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    Painting is really the only way to go on Sunbrella fabric. At my old shop we always used a single stage enamel paint, bulletin enamel or 1-Shot works just fine. Usually takes a couple of coats, the first one will just soak in. We would use a high tack vinyl for the mask, as paintmask will NOT stick to Sunbrella well enough to prevent bleeds. Apply the mask with a heat gun, but even then it won't stick great so be careful peeling the transfer tape.

    I paint the first coat just enough to cover the openings in the mask and cover the edges. Let that dry completely before the next coat. Once the first coat is dry the subsequent coats will build up. Also, if possible try to get a match color for the awning so you have some touch up paint. You will very likely have bleeds regardless of how careful you are.

    I painted this awning a couple years ago, this one is all 1-Shot enamels. Since it has multiple colors this one took a few days to paint everything.
     

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  6. Cynosure

    Cynosure Member

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    Thank you Gino. I couldn't find anything on dac-tac online, but I had been told before about regular latex paint, I just didn't know if I should believe it since I never tried it.
     
  7. Cynosure

    Cynosure Member

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    Thank you KS! I am familiar with one shot, so that should be an easy choice. Thank you for the info.
     
  8. KSTrooper

    KSTrooper Wrapper, designer, illustrator

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    One other thing I forgot to mention - on your first coat of paint in the masks, use a color similar to the awning. That way the paint will keep subsequent coats from bleeding out and minimize the amount of touchups you might have to do.
     
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  9. TimToad

    TimToad Very Active Member

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    I use a 50/50 mix of a good quality water based primer and industrial grade exterior acrylic latex paint for my first coat. I thin it quite a bit so it saturates into the material. That seems to give me a better thin coat and less ridges, build up and overlaps in the final coats.

    Our shop really likes Inslx-STIX brand primer for most uses and I've always liked B.Moore paints for their superior quality over most other similar types of paint.
     
  10. TimToad

    TimToad Very Active Member

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    I was about to add that good tip. Thanks for thinking of it and sharing.
     
  11. kcollinsdesign

    kcollinsdesign Member

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    The Sunbrella Graphics System works really well. There are also professional screen printing solutions that perform ok.

    For the hobbyist, or when on a limited budget, high body acrylic artists paint (Liquitex, Golden, etc.) can be used with a degree of success. More liquid acrylic can be used (Nova, etc.), but they are harder to handle and have less plasticizer, resulting in a less flexible film.

    The best technique is to mask the graphic, then stipple the paint on to avoid seeping through the mask. Do not thin the paint, Sunbrella is an acrylic material (plastic), so nothing "soaks" in. Using a stencil brush or stiff fitch, "pounce" the paint on in a thin layer, allow to dry to touch, then pounce again until coverage is obtained. Do not let the paint build up; it will crack.

    Use the same color paint as the awning for a first coat, or, alternatively, use clear gloss medium until the edges are sealed (gloss is more flexible than matte). Keep at it until the desired coverage is obtained, and when dry to touch, carefully remove the stencil. Do not let it dry too long, or the paint will tear when removing the stencil. I have had awning graphics last 5 years plus using this technique.

    I would not use alkyd or latex paint; both will likely suffer from plasticizer migration, and are likely to crack and begin to fail in short order.

    https://www.sunbrella.com/en-us/textiles/shade/collections/sunbrella-graphics-system
     
  12. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    Those are all good suddestions and will work, for a seasoned sign painter, but I highly doubt the hobbyist or someone starting out will do good job. I've been painting awnings for well over 40 some years and the latex in most cases, has lasted at least 10 or 15 years. In the beginning for me, one of my boss's good customers was an awning manufacturer and I did 10 to 15 awnings a week at its peak season. They'd last at least 12 or more years. They were all pounced powder and handpainted on. Still doing it that way and not having any problems.
     
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  13. TimToad

    TimToad Very Active Member

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    The system you've shared is one to be purchased by a full time awning fabricator in order to justify its cost and space requirements. It's also meant for pre-fabricated awning panels, not to letter an already installed awning which is usually the scenario most of us face.
     
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  14. kcollinsdesign

    kcollinsdesign Member

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    Of course, but it works well. I would be sure to order the graphics when I put new fabric on the awning. But more likely, I would have ordered them in the first place and advised my client against using vinyl which I know will fail.
     
  15. visual800

    visual800 Very Active Member

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    if you paint this awning use latex do NOT use one shot as it does not withstand element like latex with. We do awnings with behr ext satin or semigloss. make sure you charge enough because it is a PITA especially for an address
     
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  16. Southpaw1

    Southpaw1 Member

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    I have always pounced a pattern and then used a primer like Cover Stain then lettered over the top with one shot or Ronan. For Sunbrella I'd prime out with Anchors Flexi- Coat. It has more polymers to cover well and make the base flexible as awnings aren't static. I do reccomend the first coat after primer to be one that closely matches the awning. I've had awnings painted with stiff fitches last nearly 15 years with only bright color touch ups.
     
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