What to do to seal this sign?


Last fall, my subdivision had this new sign built and we were told to wait 6 mos for the wood to dry out before sealing it. We plan to use a clear seal. To save money, two of us are going to do the work. To make sure we do it correctly, I wanted to check with people here. We're going to have an upcoming week of no rain and high temperatures so it's a perfect time to get it done. (middle Georgia) To make sure the surface is clean, is wiping with rags a suitable way to do that? The sign face isn't wood and has to be protected from the sealant so I figure we'll wrap it with plastic. Would one coat of sealant do or should we plan for two? And should we use real brushes or foam ones to apply the seal? After sealing, we'll put plants around the base.

q what to do to seal this sign
  14 answers
  • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on May 22, 2021

    Hello. I would assume your sign posts are pressure-treated wood. There are various proprietary finishes available in the paint department.

    I would suggest to read the instructions and follow your manufacturers instructions listed on your products can or pail.

    Some paint and stain and manufacturers have a warranty and will follow up with replacement product if your product should fail so it is important to have your fence clean or allow the appropriate time for wet green pressure-treated wood to age before applying a stain product.

    In my last situation I just stained an old split rail fence and a mailbox post and like the appearance the appearance of one coat of semitransparent stain. Used on nylon brush for application and it went on quite smoothly.

    There’s some general information about stain and sealer’s here. Hope this helps


  • Robyn Garner Robyn Garner on May 22, 2021

    First, is the sign itself treated so UV rays won't fade it? Check with the people who made the sign. If not, I'd recommend sealing the sign itself with Marine Varnish - it's clear but will keep the colors from fading.

    All the hardware used should be galvanized steel so those don't rust out.

    Finally, I would use the best outdoor sealant you can find. Marine varnish is probably the best for your situation.

    After 6 months, no I don't think just wiping the wood with rags is sufficient. If a hose will reach the location, spraying it down and scrubbing with a mix of white vinegar and water is best. Spray with fresh water and permit to dry out thoroughly. If no water is available, you could fill some hand pump sprayers to do this work.

    Finally, do try to keep chemicals from around the base of the sign for planting your flowers. Otherwise, you'll have to wait for them to dissipate before planting. Vinegar will dissipate quickly.

    Your subdivision will look fabulous once the flowers come up!

  • This video will show you how to seal an outdoor wooden sign: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95sKtnjXhGk

  • Dee Dee on May 22, 2021

    You sign needs to be cleaned really well before sealing. There are three surefire ways to waterproof your wood for years to come.

    1. Use linseed or Tung oil to create a beautiful and protective hand-rubbed finish.
    2. Seal the wood with coating of polyurethane, varnish, or lacquer. I like spray on Lacquer.
    3. Finish and waterproof wood simultaneously with a stain-sealant combo. Thompsons makes a good water sealer.

  • Lifestyles Homes Lifestyles Homes on May 22, 2021

    Buy a steel bristle brush for the scrubbing/cleaning.

    Then Blow off dust with an air bubble (tank) of compressed air.

    2 full coats Spar Marine Varnish with bristle brushes, as you're going to "work in" the finish.

  • Mogie Mogie on May 22, 2021



    One of these should work for you i couldn't tell if the sign itself was wood or vinyl.

  • William William on May 22, 2021

    Helmsman Spar Urethane should do the trick. Two to three caots would protect it for several years. it's used on wood boats

  • Cynthia H Cynthia H on May 22, 2021

    Hi! I would clean the wood, pressure washing if possible. Then after thoroughly dry, I would use an exterior sealer following the directions on the label for number of coats. I would do a minimum of two coats. Good luck!

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on May 24, 2021

    You should plan on re-sealing every year unless you are going to do something like a marine varnish. A regular sealant, like Thompson's (most popular I think) can be sprayed or brushed, depending on what you are comfortable with. Make sure you get it on the back side where the boards are facing inward.

    I'm unsure why you were told to wait 6 months for a sealant. Painting needs to be a 6 month wait for pressure treated lumber but that is to prevent peeling as the oils leech out.

  • We use a sealant on our fence every other year, we apply it with a sprayer. It looks great and stands up to the weather in a rough climate. We have also made kayaks from wood and use marine grade. It's thicker, it'll block UV, but in my opinion something like Thompson's Water Seal is easier to apply.

  • It depends on what kind of sealant you use but since it's pressure-treated wood (hence the reason they told you to wait), a clear Thompson's or similar is fine. All the directions on how to apply it will be on the can.

  • Holly Lengner - Lost Mom Holly Lengner - Lost Mom on Jul 02, 2021

    Your local hardware store would be able to recommend a good sealer.