Removing old vinyl
The big DON'T: Don't use your fingernails. You won't notice any pain at the time, but you will later.
It is easier in hot weather as the warmth makes the vinyl that bit softer. Soften the vinyl with an ordinary hair dryer (Take care which setting and avoid dwelling if working on glass). It then lifts easily with a palette knife. (Not the price or difficulty to get hold of that they used to be. Available in 'The Works' discount art and bookstores at a fraction price)
If there's no glue or outline dirt left on the substrate, all you need to do is wipe the surface with meths and you've a clean surface again.
Depending on the substrate, the vinyl and how long the vinyl has been on there, you may get a residue of glue. For a little residue meths and a washing up sponge/abrasive is effective. Car body shops that resell commercial vans use a proprietary product: 'Panel Wipe'. It is available from most car spray distributors. Last lot I bought was £9.50 + VAT for a 5 litre can. Don't leave the top off for too long or it isn't cheap. It's tempting to use acetone but apart from other risks, it can take the colour out of some substrates.
Flat Signs to walls
A frame or not?
Is your banner a one off or will you regularly put a banner in that location?
For one off banners, the cost of a frame support may be more expensive than the banner, in which case insist that your banner has eyelets (eyelets at 2' intervals is usual) and support the banner with cords or cable ties at all four corners for a small banner or inbetween for larger banners. Floppy banners can become difficult or impossible to read, and are not good for the image.
Proprietary banner frames are expensive. The DIY system is not only cheaper. It is easier to use and more effective. Fix a length of the standard road sign extrusion channel (about £5 per metre) to the wall, across posts or to a home made frame. Put ordinary M8 bolts (about 2p each) through the eyelets with nut attached. The nuts will slide along the inside of the channel. Bolt heads can then be tightened when the the banner is in position. Whilst we don't mind supplying the extrusion we have to add on postage costs and the Royal Mail will not take items longer than 5 ft. so that's realistically only an offer to local customers.
Signs to poles
Look on the back of any 30mph sign or almost any other standard road sign and you will see the ideal system for fixing signs to round posts. We will supply any of the components but we have to add on postage costs and the Royal Mail will not take items longer than 5 ft. You should beware of the following problems. The straightforward nut and bolt clips (£1.85 each) are only available for poles of diameter up to 3.5 inches. 3'' is the most common and easily available. The clamping system for larger diameter poles is more expensive and needs a special hexagonal tool or a binding machine. Clamps for square poles are hard to source and expensive as is square section pole. If faced with square poles, it is worth considering the bolt straight through sign and pole fixing. The alternative is to make your own from one of the proprietary strips on the market with a hammer and a metal workers vice.
Signs to fences
Treat the fence as the core of a sandwich between the board and a back bar, bolting through the sign into the back bar with the fence clamped between. I use either coach screws with a roofing lath as back bar or coach bolts with a 3mm mild steel back bar. For small signs on lightweight fencing, nut and bolt fixing using corner plates may be adequate. BEWARE boards that are not rigid: you will need a strengthening bar to support the back of the sign.
House for Sale signs
On a post in the garden: The big question is do you need the sign to face both ways. A one way sign is as straightforward as fixing a sign to a post, BUT if you are using correx use fixings with a large head or create a large head by using a washer.
For two way signs you cannot print back to back on correx without show through. It needs to be two signs but since correx is so cheap it makes little cost difference. To fix both side of a post, I double sided tape the two sides, so they end up supporting each other. The other method favoured by estate agents is to cut a slit in the middle of the post and clamp the sides of the sign in a the slit. If you intend this method, you need to let the signmaker know so he can leave the necessary space on the signs for the width of the post
The cheapest route to an A frame is to buy just the boards and make your own A frame, to suit your budget, presentational needs and carpentry skills. The ultimate in low cost without detriment to functionality is two pieces of shuttering ply top hinged with correx boards pinned on them. You would be advised to talk to your signmaker first about size because most signmakers and screen printers keep standard sizes of correx (for myself it's 32x24 and 24x16 inches)
Potential problems to bear in mind: Weight for routine carrying; Exposure to high winds; Exposure to theft; Size and suitability to vehicles that might carry it around.
ALWAYS make sure sandwich boards have a tie chain, bar or cord to prevent them falling flat from the bottom.
Using Cut Vinyl
Cut vinyl bonds to some substrates more firmly than others
You will achieve a firm bond easily on aluminium composites, vinyl, acrylics (perspex is an acrylic), correx and sheet metal vehicle panels. Glass and PVC foamboard can be difficult in cold weather. There are some very cheap unbranded foam boards around that I won't use because of poor bonding.
Gloss painted timber surfaces are okay provided the timber is smooth (don't even attempt to use shuttering ply), it is close grained (african mahogany face exterior ply is usually good; fibrey surface ply is not) and the painting is thorough ( bits in the paintwork become mountains when cut vinyl goes over the top of it; a well primed surface is essential)
1. Clean the surface completely. Use meths or similar to pick up any grain of dust. Failure to do so will show as a lifted area around every particle on the finished sign.
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