Photopolymer Sign Painting with Matthews Paint
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Photopolymer continues to be a popular choice for ADA signage. And when this material is combined with Matthews Paint, the results can exceed client expectations in regard to appearance and performance.
Why Photopolymer Is a Good Choice for ADA Signage
Photopolymer offers a wide range of benefits that make it suitable for ADA signage.
- Photopolymer is an extremely durable material, which is important for businesses that don’t have the budget or desire to routinely replace their ADA signage. Also, photopolymer is better able to stand up to vandalism as well as general wear and tear.
- Photopolymer is an easy material to work with, so a client’s signs can be customized to their exact specifications. There is a lot more flexibility with photopolymer than other material substrates.
- Photopolymer is an environmentally friendly material. It’s considered to be a “greener” alternative to other materials because it’s water soluble. This means that potentially harmful chemicals aren’t required for processing.
- Photopolymer is ideal for a high-volume workflow. If the proper equipment is used, as many as 400 8” X 8” signs can be manufactured in a workday. This ensures that clients can receive even large sign orders in a timely manner.
- Photopolymer also provides a greater value overall. Though the initial cost is more expensive, clients who opt for photopolymer can look forward to attractive, long-lasting signs that will help them stay ADA compliant.
Why Matthews Paint Is a Good Choice for ADA Signage
Matthews Paint has been a top manufacturer of acrylic polyurethane sign paint for more than 80 years. The company continues to improve on its line to ensure that sign fabricators receive the highest-quality paint possible to complete their projects.
There are a number of advantages to using Matthews Paint for ADA signage, including the following:
- As with photopolymer, Matthews Paint is very durable. There’s less risk of chipping and fading than with other paint products available today.
- Matthews Paint is available in a wide range of colors and can be mixed to match virtually any shade a client wants.
- The Matthews Paint line produces low levels of VOCs, so it’s a more environmentally friendly paint option.
- Matthews Paint products are manufactured in the USA, so clients in the market for ADA signage can feel good knowing every part of their sign order was made right at home.
Tips for Photopolymer Sign Painting with Matthews Paint
Though the combination of photopolymer and Matthews Paint can produce high-quality ADA signage, sign fabricators must have the necessary tools and skills to yield the best results.
Required Tools and Materials
As with any sign painting job, technicians need to have the right equipment before they begin:
- Safety glasses
- Protective solvent-resistant gloves
- Photopolymer-specific cleaning solution
- Spray gun (either conventional or HVLP)
- Matthews Paint primer
- Matthews Paint topcoat
- Matthews Paint catalyst
- Matthews Paint reducer
- Mixing cups
- Paint respirator
- Paint booth (or other area designated for painting purposes)
Sign Painting Steps
- First, it’s important to clean the photopolymer by spraying it with a cleaning solution and using a short-bristled brush to gently scrub the material. All areas on the front of the material around the copy should be thoroughly cleaned. It’s also recommended to clean the second surface, especially if that surface will be painted as well.
- Second, the photopolymer should be dried so that no cleaner is left on the surface.
- Third, the paint should be properly mixed. Matthews Paint offers mixing cups that are labeled for greater convenience. Mixing 3 parts paint to 1 part catalyst to 1 part reducer ensures that the paint will dry correctly.
- Fourth, a tack rag should be used to remove any remaining surface debris from the photopolymer.
- Fifth, using a spray gun, the primer should be applied to the material.
- Sixth, using a spray gun, the topcoat can then be applied to the material. It’s important to spray from both sides and at an angle in front to ensure that the paint covers all sides of raised letters.
- Seventh, using a wet film gauge, the wet film thickness of the paint should be measured. Ideally, the measurement should be at least 4 mils wet.
- Eighth, if the second surface of the photopolymer is painted as well, a clear coat must be applied to the first surface.
- Ninth, if finished painting, all internal parts of the spray gun should be thoroughly cleaned.
- Tenth, the newly painted photopolymer should be set to dry overnight—ideally in a temperature-controlled environment.
When to Outsource Sign Painting
As shown above, there are several tools needed to perform sign painting, particularly with photopolymer. Given that not every sign shop has the budget or space to invest in such equipment, it often makes more fiscal sense to outsource an order to a third party. A business that specializes in producing ADA signage will have the in-house capabilities to complete an order from start to finish—including sign painting. As a result, sign shop owners are able to provide their clients with high-quality finished products without having to spend money on additional tools or equipment.
Further, sign painting is a delicate process that requires a certain degree of skill and knowledge. If a staff member doesn’t have sufficient experience with sign painting, there’s a greater risk of it being done incorrectly. For example, the technician could wind up creating the wrong shade, mixing the wrong ratio of paint to catalyst to reducer, or missing parts of the sign during the painting process. If there are no immediate plans to train an employee on proper sign painting methods, it would be in one’s best interest to outsource a project rather than potentially ruining a client’s order.
Photopolymer sign painting with Matthews Paint can result in durable, aesthetically pleasing ADA signage, but sign shops must be equipped with the appropriate tools and expertise. If sign painting is a task that can’t be taken on at this time, the best course of action would be to enlist the help of a business that can offer such services.