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Will 1"thick Excel Expanded PVC Warp With Exterior Use?

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by nikdoobs, Jan 23, 2020.

  1. nikdoobs

    nikdoobs Active Member

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    I'm thinking of using routed 1" thick pvc as a standoff mount for 30"h .063 Aluminum letters. Was planning on using double sided foam tape and silicone to mount.

    Will the 1" foam warp over time? Installation is in South Louisiana.

    TIA

    The website says it will not warp, but I wanted to check and see if anyone has actual experience using it outside. I don't ever see PVC used outside.
     
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  2. kcollinsdesign

    kcollinsdesign Active Member

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    Yes. It will warp. Route some channels in the back and stiffen it with some aluminum tubing (I braze mine together with a propane torch and "alumaweld" low temperature aluminum brazing rod). If you mount it directly on an exterior wall, make sure you have some play in the screw holes (I use a soft rubber grommet).

    Also keep in mind the surface will get dirty, and it is hard/impossible to clean. For best results coat with acrylic polyurethane.

    PVC sheets are versatile and useful, but the material has its own production quirks. I use it successfully, unpainted, for flat signs covered entirely with a digital print. It also makes nice, relatively inexpensive routed signs (easier to finish than HDU).
     
  3. WhiskeyDreamer

    WhiskeyDreamer Professional Snow Ninja

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    I wouldn't mount with just tape and silicone. 1" PVC is pretty heavy.
     
  4. nikdoobs

    nikdoobs Active Member

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    thanks for your response. Is there a different material I can get that's 1"thick that wont warp?
     
  5. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    What's the finished size of the entire sign ??
     
  6. kcollinsdesign

    kcollinsdesign Active Member

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    High Density Urethane (HDU) or an aluminum "pan" with 1" returns on a 1" frame.

    If the sign is small enough, it may not matter much. I had 3' x 4' .75" PVC panel warp, but only a bit and it was an inexpensive sign to begin with. That was when I started reinforcing with an aluminum backer or simple frame.
     
  7. nikdoobs

    nikdoobs Active Member

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    six 30"h Letters individually mounted. Overall sign size is 6'h x 15'w. It's a monument sign with flat aluminum face and no inside access. Can't really use studs on this, unless we maybe use toggle bolts. I'm open to other suggestions.
     
  8. TimToad

    TimToad Very Active Member

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    When you say a backer, do mean a background panel for all the letters to be mounted to and fit within?

    If so, why not just use a formed aluminum panface as suggested by others? You get a nice rigid panel that can be painted, powdercoated, wrapped in a vinyl print, easy to mount and it allows you to use threaded studs on your letters and nut them securely from the back. The cost, weight, professional look and finishing considerations are all positives.
     

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  9. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    Okay, so this sign is 6' tall and 15' wide and already in place with aluminum sheeting for the face ?? You can't get to the back so you cannot double nut them. The PVC backer is really like a return, just to give the aluminum letter some depth ??
     
  10. TimToad

    TimToad Very Active Member

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    I think Gino brings up a good question on the process being used.

    To me, if these are just .063 flat cut letters that big, with some 1" pad standoffs as it seems is being described, I'd be concerned about the aluminum eventually warping as much as the standoffs might. I'd be using at least .090 for letters that size and be very concerned about the shear on the adhesion method being proposed if it's just some pads.
     
  11. eahicks

    eahicks Magna Cum Laude - School of Hard Knocks

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    Acrylic will work. Tap for studs.
     
  12. Billct2

    Billct2 Major Contributor

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    yep, officially confused. I took it to mean he was bonding .063 faces to 1" PVC with tape & silicone.
     
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  13. nikdoobs

    nikdoobs Active Member

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    Sorry for the confusion guys. Thanks for your responses. I figured out how to remove these panels so we will be able to mount the letters with regular standoff mounts.
     
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  14. Zendavor Signs

    Zendavor Signs Member

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    Thread pirate. Tim, those signs are nice. I'm curious, how did you do the Kiwanis sign with the bubble top? Is that just a separate piece attached?
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. Rick Tennyson

    Rick Tennyson Member

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    Let us know what you decided to do and send pictures so we can all learn!!!
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. Rick Tennyson

    Rick Tennyson Member

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    Are these samples lit? Are these pan face with stand-off pvc letters?
     
  17. TimToad

    TimToad Very Active Member

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    Thanks. Instead of dramatically raising the cost of what was a partially donated project by having the panface itself include the rounded top, we just took a chunk of PVC the same thickness as the depth as the return on panface, painted it to match and adhered it with a LEXEL, VHB and a few screws to the back of the ACM panel and panface.
     
  18. Andy D

    Andy D Very Active Member

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    Are those your signs Tim?
     
  19. TimToad

    TimToad Very Active Member

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    Depends. If it's going to trigger the thread police and kangaroo court, then I've never seen them before in my life and just grabbed them off the internet to illustrate my point.
     
    • Hilarious! Hilarious! x 1
  20. Andy D

    Andy D Very Active Member

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    Not from me... I was going to complement you on them. Who would care if you post random pics to illustrate your point? I do it all the time.
     
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