The Secret Life of Signs


It isn’t easy being a sign. While some don’t suffer as many bumps and bruises as others, most can benefit from some extra love to extend their useful lives, sometimes beginning when they are new and other times they need some TLC in the field. Either way, delivering that extra care may not be all that easy.

For example, there is an increasing volume of new, smaller size signs, such as those for room numbering and identification. Some of these may have both conventional numbering and letters as well as Braille. Produced using photopolymer technology or digital printing, all require a protective top coating for appearance and durability. However, many smaller sign fabricators and franchises don’t have spray booths and cannot easily add the professional grade protective coatings that help ensure durability.

Signs already out in the wild, exposed to wind, weather, atmospheric contaminants and accidental damage, often need periodic repair to brighten faded colors or renew protective topcoats. Such work has long been a time consuming and costly process, often requiring signs to be removed, prepared for painting, placed in a spray booth, painted, and remounted. As a result, companies needing their signs refreshed may ignore fading or damaged signage, or resort to temporary measures such as consumer-grade spray paints. Neither option is ideal and the result can reflect poorly on the business the sign represents. Luckily, there are five simple ways to extend the life of your sign.

No Spray Booth Required for a Longer Sign Life

Matthews PaintThese dual needs are behind the development of EZ-Spray, a new product from Matthews Paint that addresses the challenges of both old and new signs, enabling needed work to be done after fabrication or in the field without the use of a spray booth. All that’s needed is a clean work area where a sign can be placed, sprayed and allowed to dry.

EZ-Spray draws on more than 70,000 Matthews colors and as well as clear topcoats to give older signs a new lease on life and enabling easy job-site topcoating of new signs. Best of all, this is not a cheap rattle-can paint solution that neither matches key colors nor delivers needed durability. Instead, it provides long-lasting professional results with minimal effort.

For example,NovAcryl PT Series Clear Based Photopolymer uses a unique, clear PETG sign base designed for interior use, that is resilient and shatterproof. Most photopolymer signs using this material are painted on the first surface. If they are also decorated on the second surface, then a clear coat needs to be sprayed on the face of the polymer. EZ-Spray makes topcoating new signs after processing or field touch-up and repainting of existing signs faster and easier. It also works with Nova’s traditional clear PT series when color is applied to the second surface using a digital print, vinyl, or when a clear coat is needed for additional protection.

EZ-Spray is also a compelling solution for more sophisticated architectural signage applications. For instance, the wood grain, marble and granite patterns available with NovAcryl LP Laminate Base Photopolymer can be enhanced with NovAcryl ECR. NovAcryl ECR uses 3form® Varia Ecoresin as a base for additional textures, patterns and images. These products already have color but like all photopolymer signs, still need to be clear coated. EZ-Spray lets fabricators apply a clear coat after a sign is processed without needing a spray booth.

Paint and Hardener in One Can for a Longer Sign Life

One of the challenging parts of ensuring topcoat durability is applying the hardener, which makes the sign more resistant to the elements and accidental damage. EZ Spray’s 2-component technology combines Matthews Paint Conventional/SVOC paint, a catalyst, and propellant in a special aerosol can. This eliminates concerns about the accuracy of mixing in the field and provides a durable two-part, professional polyurethane system. The hardener is integrated in a separate cylinder and is released only when a drive pin punctures the cylinder. This provides an accurate mix and complete control over the painting process, helping ensure the best possible results with minimal efforts. Each can holds enough paint and hardener to cover 8 – 12 square feet.

Longer Pot Life

While paints used in conventional spray processes typically need to be used promptly, EZ-Spray paints have four times the pot life, offering a more economical approach to sign maintenance with less waste. For convenience and easy reference, the color of the paint is automatically placed on the cap of the can during filling.

No-Clean Aerosol Filling System for a Longer Sign Life

The filling system used with EZ-Spray canisters delivers perfectly blended aerosols without the need to clean between fillings. Matthews Paint is available in a variety of gloss finishes and has the largest selection of 6H-compliant primers for application over almost any substrate used in the sign market. Furthermore, the environmentally friendly, high-performance polyurethane paints used in the EZ-Spray system provide longer durability, better gloss retention and greater hiding than standard acrylic polyurethane paints.

Three Videos for a Longer Sign Life

Formulated exclusively for use with Matthews Paint, EZ Spray is for professional use only and requires the use of standard personal protective equipment. Training is very straightforward and can be accomplished in just 30 to 60 minutes. Matthews has three videos available online showing how easily paints can be loaded into a special container and be ready for immediate application. About the size of a household coffeemaker, the filling system requires minimal space, an electrical outlet, and an air hose with a recommended pressure of 110 psi. All the paints for the system are available in both MAP Conventional/SVOC and MAP Ultra Low VOC. Because VOCs may be areas of concern in some locales, you can find information on Matthews Paint commitment to the environment here.

EZ-Spray, along with NovAcryl PT and LP Series photopolymers, offer a compelling way to enhance the level of service a sign fabricator can offer customers, and provides an attractive option for sign owners looking for fast, economical ways to extend the useful life of their signage.

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