Finishing an Outdoor Sign

      Penetrating epoxy sealer makes a good first coat under marine varnishes. July 15, 2014

I have made a sign with carving and gold leafing. It's going to be outdoors in a tropical environment. I need to know what type of varnish to use, and also what type of maintenance it will need in the future. The sign is made out of 8/4 cypress.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor R:
Seal with Smith's CPES. Scuff and use Epifanes gloss marine varnish. It contains some tung oil and is part phenolic resin. Of the materials ready available, these two will perform the job best. Don't forget the CPES it will nearly double the lifetime of the varnish (ideally 3 coats, thinned 10-20%). As you've no doubt guessed, I've dealt with a lot of boats.

From contributor R:
Varnish 3 coats, not the CPES.

From contributor C:
I'll second the use of CPES! I've used it under Epifanes and Bristol finishes. Itís definitely the way to go.

From contributor R:
On the varnish note, there is (are) manufacturer(s) that make 100% tung oil and 100% phenolic resin varnishes (the best choice for exterior/marine varnish). The only problem is one has to purchase in 55 gallon quantities.

From contributor W:
What is CPES?

From contributor R:
CPES stands for: Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer.

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