What’s the Best Paint for Signs?

Carved Signs in Massachussetts | Danthonia Designs Blog

Question for you guys. This is a sign for a print shop I work with. I want to offer to repaint their carved signs. I believe the gilding is in good shape, but what paint would you suggest for the background? I have One-shot, but I’ve seen it fade on other outdoor signs I’ve worked on. Thanks for any help.

– Sign-maker

Dear Sign-Maker,

First of all, nice signs! Very classic in style. Did you make them?

Regarding paint…we’re based in Australia and we use a paint called Dulux Weathershield. It’s a water-based acrylic house paint, the best on the market. We’ve been using it since 2001, with almost zero problems. Fading is minimal, and we’ve had no problems with peeling or blistering. In short, it holds up magnificently, and we’re very happy with it. So far, it has always outlasted the gilding (unlike the paint used on the signs shown above).

Refurbishing an Old Sign | Danthonia Designs Blog

Refurbishing an Old Sign with Dulux Paint

The only problem for you is that Dulux isn’t available in the USA. Having almost no experience with American paint brands, I’m not in a position to make a good recommendation.

New Bohemia Sign Shop | Danthonia Designs

We think that New Bohemia Signs might have the only can of Dulux Weathershield paint in the United States. Can you spot it in this photo?

You could ask Francis Lestingi. He’s been making this style of sign since 1994. I’m sure he’d have a suggestion.

[In the meantime, I forwarded the question to Francis. Here’s his reply]:

When we do a restoration on our Signs, we generally coat the entire panel, including the gold, with black Ronan Bulletin oil-based enamel. (This, of course, is after repairing any failures). We then coat the entire panel with our custom-mixed One-Shot oil-based enamel. We then dust the letters with Kaolin, size, and gild.

A Sign by Francis Lestingi | Danthonia Designs Blog

A Sign by Francis Lestingi

We use only five colours which we have custom-mixed with One-Shot. Our colours are deep and rich and beautifully contrast with gold. We never use ‘out-of-the-can’ colors. They are too “cartoonish.”

– Francis Lestingi, Signs of Gold

OneShot and Dulux Paints | Danthonia Designs Blog

OneShot and Dulux Paints on the paint shelf at Danthonia Designs

Hope that helps!