Clear resins for exterior use

      Ideas and sources of supply for clear epoxy resin topcoats. September 6, 2000

Need information on durability, ease of application, etc. for clear resins. I'm making an outdoor sign for our church using wood letters glued to a board and painted, and intend to pour a clear liquid resin over the works, but have never used resin.

I've had some experience using a two-part epoxy resin made by West Systems. Is there a marine supplier near you? This product is used for boat and fiberglass repair.

I've used it quite a bit to repair boats, but I also had an outdoor sign project I used it on. It can be rolled, brushed or poured on and levels out very nicely. Two coats of this stuff with a scuff sanding in between and your sign will be virtually bullet-proof.

West Systems has an excellent online manual for using their product line. They do also recommend their epoxy be coated over with a UV-resistant spar varnish or marine paint.

West System epoxy will work fine. There are also a number of other marine-type epoxies available. Raka is the least expensive I have found. I build strip kayaks and canoes and use these epoxies for construction and finishing.

Note: All the marine epoxy manufacturers recommend a high-quality marine spar varnish with UV inhibitors for a final finish! The epoxies do not hold up all that well outdoors with exposure to sunlight. Seems they haven't found a good way to add UV inhibitors to epoxy yet. I would therefore buy the compatible spar varnish from a marine supplier for sure. They are not inexpensive; starting from about $35, they range to over $80 (gallon) for the best UV protection.

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