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Sign Materials for Beach Sign... lots of sun, salt, sand and water!

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by Bigdawg, Jun 13, 2013.

  1. Bigdawg

    Bigdawg Just Me

    Jun 8, 2005
    Sunny Florida
    I am designing a monument style sign to go on one of the local piers - probably around 8' x 5'- however we don't want to just do a foam, hard-coated sign. The restaurant will have a lot of glass and chrome so I just don't think it will provide the look they want. I was thinking some type of aluminum/acrylic mix because they want something upscale and unique. However, the sign will damn near be right on the water - salt water - and I want to use materials in my setup that will withstand the harsh conditions. I have pretty much have free reign to design and produce the sign. While cost is always an issue... cost isn't necessarily an issue on this sign. The big drawback is the full-color logo that has to be on the sign... I know a print will fade pretty darn fast, so any suggestions there either???
  2. darby07

    darby07 Member

    Jun 12, 2013
    Unfortunately, it may not be very "up-scale" looking and won't necisarrily fit in with a lot of chrome and glass, but What about a 100 gauge polyethylene material with a UV inhibitor? We screen print on this material all day and it has outstanding outdoor longevity, including on saltwater beaches, piers etc... A UV clear coat on top of the print would give you 3-5 years fade free
  3. ThinkRight

    ThinkRight Active Member

    Nov 13, 2011
    Atlanta Ga
  4. Marlene

    Marlene Major Contributor

    Jun 8, 2004
    stainless steel +1

    anodized aluminum? not sure on that

    maybe combo of polished and brushed

    the full color graphic is a problem print in reverse apply to back of clear plexi?
  5. MikePro

    MikePro Major Contributor

    Feb 3, 2010
    Racine, WI
    what about a combination of materials intended to weather (steel, copper, bronze) layered with stainless/plexi?
    sun-dial of sorts? or a shape referencing the pier's location on the coast?

    or maybe tour the other piers and snap shots of their signage, picking apart likes/dislikes and offer to build one better than all the rest!

    my favorite sign project, recently, was for a friend opening a bar. I just told him give me a photo of a sign that really impressed him, and I would make it his. Turns out, the sign he pointed-out, I had also made... 30min layout, and a $3000 sign was approved the next day for a no-brainer approval by the city for a sign identical to one that they had just approved a few months prior.
  6. nwsigns

    nwsigns Member

    Jan 13, 2011
    Monroe wa
    Stainless is an obvious great choice but solid surface materials would be great as well such as Corian or paperstone - especially if you design them is a way that its easy to sand the face if needed.
  7. OldPaint

    OldPaint Major Contributor

    ANY METALS....near salt water dont last!!!!! lived in Sarasota for 19 years and did a lot of boats and marinas. stainless will hold up for a couple years, but salt will eventually stain it. your ahead of the game using fiberglass, plastics carbon fiber....or making a sign with metals but totally enclosed in clear plexi.
  8. John Butto

    John Butto Very Active Member

    Jan 9, 2007
    Stainless steel does not hold up that well in salt air/water, it gets a salt film on it after a couple of days and it does stain and rust over time. With the new two part paints on the market and powder coatings, aluminum is a good material to use. You can also embed the print in fiberglass, there are a couple good companies that do that, it will hold up a lot longer than just an overlam. Acrylics get a salt film on them but will hold up, but if you do not treat the exposed edges properly the sun will break them down. Starboard holds up really well, better than any woods or metals, around salt water but you have to know how to work with it since standard glues do not stick to it. If you go to any beach town you will notice old signs with aluminum cabinets and plastic faces and steel pipes holding them up from the 70's still being used. Also concrete is great but any rebar or steel has to be done properly so as not to break down prematurely with the salt getting in and rusting to cause pop outs.
  9. OldPaint

    OldPaint Major Contributor

    my years of painting around boats and marinas..........MARINE PAINT....to coat anything. it holds up longer, is algae resistant and i believe it still contains lead.
    ALUMINUM...bare..is a target for salt.....powder coated....aluminum.... ok............
  10. John Butto

    John Butto Very Active Member

    Jan 9, 2007
    OSHA watches over the marinas more that most. The only metal in boat paint today is maybe copper in bottom paint, but most prefer bottom paint modified epoxies and abiatives. AwlGrip, Interlux, Petit make most paints for the boating industry and the two part paints are the most durable. People will buy a brand new yacht and paint it with AwlGrip because it cleans better and looks nicer over time than the jellcoat which becomes chalky and dull with time. Even the best clears used on woods is the two part. Do not think that any paint made in US is made with lead anymore. Other countries probably still do but it would not be able to sell it legally here.
  11. ddarlak

    ddarlak Trump Hater

    are we talking fades or just complicated design?

    i'd go with translucent vinyl and make the logo work, especially if money isn't the first priority...

    as for the sign, i'd use aluminum

  12. Billct2

    Billct2 Major Contributor

    Mar 12, 2005
    New England
    Aluminum with metallic acrylic polyurethane w/clearcoat and embedded fiberglass graphics like Fossil makes.
  13. visual800

    visual800 Very Active Member

    Aug 4, 2010
    montgomery, alabama
    I would do pvc posts pinted with latex, aluminum sign with clearcoat with digital print under the clear and if there was any dimensional wording it it acrylic or routed pvc lettering painted with latex
  14. Rick

    Rick Certified Enneadecagon Designer

    Apr 17, 2003
    Valle Vista
    Very few materials can handle that environment, but if built well, an aluminum sign should last long enough for it's use. You really shouldn't expect any sign to last longer than 10 years in a that type of environment (and probably outlast the business) but I have seen a few last longer.

    I'd use aluminum too, design like a standard monument but use the highest grade aluminum you can, coat or finish appropriately, especially on the inside, make sure you have proper drainage, give them a maintenance procedure, and beware of dissimilar metals (galvanic corrosion).
  15. fresh

    fresh Very Active Member

    May 16, 2011
    Gemini has a "Naval Alloy" that we used for boardwalk bench plaques. Its supposedly designed specifically for use in marine environments. I can't really tell you anything about the longevity yet.. Sandy came along 5 weeks after we installed them. But somehow we were able to recover all 11 of the plaques the next day, and we just put them back up a few weeks ago.
  16. mark in tx

    mark in tx Very Active Member

    Oct 25, 2005
    Harker Heights, Texas
    I can't find her name or number, but you could look up the lady who does the signage for Schlitterbahn in Texas. The signage on South Padre Island looks great, you could find out what she uses and how long she knows things will last.
  17. Pat Whatley

    Pat Whatley Major Contributor

    Sep 29, 2003
    Wetumpka, AL
    This isn't gonna be one of those deals where the local digital hack lies to them and gets the job in the end, is it? You know, where you figure out how to do it right, tell them it's gonna cost $10,000 and they tell you the guy down the street said he can do it on material that will last 10 year outdoors for $1200 and you'll never convince your customer that the guy is full of doody. You'll go by there in a couple of months and see a digital print mounted on dibond. Next summer, when it looks horrible, the customer won't call you and say you were right....he'll find the next $1200 sign company and replace it.
  18. HulkSmash

    HulkSmash Major Contributor

    Sep 10, 2010
    best suggestion above.
  19. Bigdawg

    Bigdawg Just Me

    Jun 8, 2005
    Sunny Florida
    Good Lord I hope not...

    The sign looks like it will end up being dimensional instead of flat. The logo on top will be the flattest part of it... and for the base, I want it to look like a water spout with froth on the top and the logo coming out of that.

    Anyone got one of those fancy schmancy 3D printers???? (just kidding... kind of)
  20. John Butto

    John Butto Very Active Member

    Jan 9, 2007
    Was fishing yesterday and saw this channel marker ( about 20 ft tall from top of water to top of beam). Thought of the questioning by BigDawg and responses, so took a pic. It has been there for at least 40 years because I remember when they were installing them. It is embedded in saltwater and is a steel I beam. All the hardware and aluminum markers are gone due to exposure to the weather. It is still rock solid with chucks of rust as seen but not wearing through at any points.

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