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Thread: Paint/Coating question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2005

    Default Paint/Coating question

    Hello all,

    I have a question that I could use some help with. I have used Komacel and really like it. The glossy white is awesome because I don't have to paint it for any signs that need to be white. How can I get the same glossy look on material (like signfoam) if it's not white? When I research signs that others have made, I see nice surface finishes on the exterior, almost like acrylic. In those cases, I'm wondering if perhaps they sandwich thin acrylic around foam, almost making their own version of Komacel with an exterior color other than white. Or....are they simply using a high quality paint?

    The reason I'm asking is because up until now I've been using generic paint. I have a job coming up that is requiring a double sided black sign engraved. I was hoping to find PVC/foam combo that is available in black.

    Any recommendations on black materials, or paint? I've been reading a lot about 1-shot as well. I'd prefer not to paint, however perhaps that's the way to go.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Corning, NY


    Im interested to see what the actual sign makers say on this one. If your doing a black sign with white lettering King ColorCore may work well for you. I have some on the way for testing as a customer wants green/white lettering signs and after reading up I thought this may work perfectly with little to no finishing required.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    New Jersey


    There are black glossy materials, but not too many. ACM, Aluminum and Acrylic are the only ones that come to mind, but I'm sure there are others. It's hard to say whether or not you'll be able to use them for your purpose, but my guess is you won't be able to.

    Now you're left with paint. The "nicer" the finish, the more work you have to do. High gloss black will show any flaws you have. To achieve high gloss black, you need to prep your surface well getting it as smooth as possible. Assuming you're doing a V-carved sign, PVC will be the easiest to achieve this. HDU will require more work because the surface is not as smooth. You'll likely want to throw a couple of coats of primer and sand between coats to get the desired smoothness.

    Next is your paint. You have a bunch of options. It almost boils down to preference. Black enamel paint will probably be your best option. Spraying it on is the best way to get a really smooth, glossy finish. Ronan paint comes highly recommended, although I've never used it. The next most common option is automotive paint. Although this likely will give you the best finish, it really should be sprayed in a booth. The next option is one I haven't tried but would like to is 100% acrylic DTM paint glossy finish. I've used the paint and it goes down very smooth and hard compared to your average 100% acrylic paint. It's almost a hybrid between enamel and "house" paint. I've read that thinning it down and putting on several thin coats gives you a very durable coating that can be very smooth after all is said and done. The last choice is latex paint with a clear coat. The only reason I put this last is because in my experience, latex doesn't lay super flat like you'd typically want in a glossy sign. I always get a slight texture. This option will look great from 10' away and maybe even closer, but if you get right up to it, it won't have a "glassy" finish like the other options have the potential of achieving.

    There is a lot of technique involved in getting a killer glass glossy paint job on a sign. I'm not the guy to ask, but hopefully that info will get you started. Also one other thing to mention, you need to really think how you're going to mount these signs, regardless of material. Black is going to soak up the sun and cause any material to expand. Your mounting has to accommodate this.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2016


    IMG_2558.jpghow glossy are you looking to go ? how perfect of a sign are you looking for ? I paint and finish sign foam with some flawless coating, and very high standard automotive finishes, perhaps I can help you.

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