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How can I cover an old business name on an awning?

Posted by Joe Giral on

Brief guide to determine the kind of lettering on an existing awning and how to remove or cover over the old lettering


To start, you may need assistance, a ladder, smartphone camera and patience.
Review: Find out about the different kinds of awning materials and the most popular kind of lettering used so you can find the best solution for your project.

Kinds of awning materials

--canvas
Canvas awnings are light weight, flexible and made to last. They are good candidates for paint and self-adhesive fabric lettering.
--acrylic
Acrylic and acrylic-coated synthetic fabrics are capable of holding up much longer than traditional canvas. These are good candidates for vinyl lettering and paint.
--vinyl
Awning fabrics may also be coated with vinyl. These materials tend to be slightly heavier than acrylic and acrylic-coated materials. They have greater translucency, making them a good choice for backlit and illuminated awnings. These might be eradicated or decorated with vinyl.

Kinds of products used to put on business name

--painted names
These are usually the easiest to identify as paint tends to weather faster than the awning material and may appear cracked, rough or uneven. How to identify painted lettering: Run your finger over the lettering. If your finger is chalky (common with older paints) or the letter feels rough, it's probably paint. 
--vinyl names
These are usually individual letters that have been applied to vinyl awnings. How to identify vinyl lettering: You will be able to see a little ridge around the letters, as the vinyl and the awning materials are at slightly different elevations. Try lifting a corner of the letter to make sure it's vinyl.
--eradicated vinyl names
You can identify eradicated (erased color) awnings by the fact that the awning is rubbery vinyl and that the lettering is smooth, not raised. You can't feel it as you rub your finger across the letters.
--fabric names and panels
The most modern wording is made with self-adhesive cut fabric letters or fabric panels with customization. 
How to identify fabric lettering: You may be able to see some fraying on older sign lettering made of DuraStik™ or other self-adhesive fabrics but the best way to tell is by looking closely for a smooth woven fabric texture and by trying to lift a small corner of the letter or panel.

Now that you have the kind of fabric and type of lettering, let's look at how to cover them up or replace with a new business name (more on that below).

Painted letters: Until the late 1990s, this was the most popular way to decorate an awning. Depending on the condition of the paint and awning fabric, you may have to sand the paint down some. You can do this easiest by removing the awning fabric from the frame and sanding with the fabric against a smooth flat surface.
Once the paint is sanded enough, the sanded areas should be washed until there is no more reside. You will still be able to see the letters but not through a coat of paint the same as the awning or with a DuraStik self-adhesive fabric "mask" to cover it over. The DuraStik 'Mask' self-adhesive fabrics are available plain or decorated with new business name graphics.

Vinyl letters: These are popular on vinyl banners. Best practice is to remove the awning from the frame and work on a solid flat surface. Heat is a popular method for removing vinyl. Care needs to be used as excessive heat may damage or delaminate the vinyl awning. Using a heat gun carefully, warm up the letters a few at a time, and as the letters heat up you should be able to lift a corner and remove them one by one.

Eradicated lettering:
This can't be removed, only covered up. Try a vinyl background with new lettering or DuraStik 'Mask' self-adhesive fabrics, available plain or decorated with new business name graphics.

Fabric lettering and panels: These may require some diligence to remove. Whether they can be removed or not, they can be covered over with another DuraStik™ 'Mask' self-adhesive fabric panels, plain or decorated with new business name graphics.

Can I get a price quote for my project?

You can. Here's a checklist of what to know before asking.

_____ Size of awning: This is the Height and Width of the area that you will be lettering or masking.

_____ Photo of awning: A 'shot' of the entire awning and a shot of the area that will have your lettering are good to have.

_____ Exact wording you want. 

_____ Typestyle, letter height, color

_____ If there's a logo or artwork, send that file WITH HEIGHT AND WIDTH of the logo/artwork file. 

_____ If you're working with a graphic designer, include a mock-up or layout so the overall effect can be easily assessed. 

Any missing information will delay pricing. Send your request here.

 tips & tricks         cover-up old wording        lettering awnings         

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