A sign just outside a museum that reads "Museum Open".

Every physical business needs a sign that catches attention and lets people know what goods or services it provides. Without it, possible customers might remain unaware of the business and pass it by, even though they could find what they need inside. A sign outside the building can also build up the image that the business wants to portray to the public based on how it is designed. It could create an air of professionalism or one of lighthearted fun, as well as target a specific demographic. For all the given reasons, you should take to heart these tips for choosing the best material for outdoor signs. The material you select will shape how effectively your sign performs for your business.

Know What Type of Sign You Want

An initial factor to consider when deciding on the material for your sign is what type of sign you want to have. Your sign may need to be attached to the front of your store or building itself, or you might make a sign that stands by itself nearer to the roadway. For the former purpose, you might go with a material that is more light-penetrable and can be backlit so that the sign is clearly visible at night and during the day.

You may also want the sign to be made up of individual letters that are fastened to the outer wall of your building to form its name. You would need a material that is easy to fabricate into unique shapes while maintaining sufficient hardiness, in this instance. For those signs that are meant to stand alone, such as pylon or monument signs, your emphasis may be on durability above all else. Materials that form hard stakes, poles, and sign faces are fitting for them.

Think About Your Area’s Climate

Outdoor signs must be capable of remaining legible and attractive even after exposure to the elements. Reflect on what natural conditions your sign will contend with in your geographical climate. Do you receive a lot of snow in the winter? Are heavy storms typical? How much sunlight or dust does your area get? Are there drastic shifts in temperature? The answers to these questions will shape your final decision on sign materials.

Some materials might be impervious to water, others may have UV resistance that prevents discoloration, while others may be able to remain unmoving in strong gales. Look at the material’s properties and align them with the environmental needs of your location.

Figure Out Your Maintenance and Longevity Preferences

With that being said, you might not always want your signs to possess the maximum durability available. Therefore, you should figure out what you want out of your sign material in terms of longevity or maintenance requirements. Sometimes, a sign might be temporary, or you might prefer to switch out your sign every few years.

An example of the first kind of situation is when you want to let customers know of a limited-time sale. You could hang up a banner sign made of a cost-effective material that will last only for the shorter time period that it will be up on your storefront. It wouldn’t make sense to pour out ample funds on such a sign.

If you do want your sign to remain striking in the long-term, though, investing in a robust material would be wise. In addition to choosing it based on the weather, you should think about what you will need to do to maintain it. Wood, for instance, may need maintenance to protect it from water-related damage as outer protective layers placed on it wear off. Moreover, certain materials might be more difficult to clean than others due to their surface texture. You might want a material that is smooth so that you can keep it looking spotless over the years.

Get Familiar with the Material Choices You Have

Once you have an idea about the characteristics you want from you sign material, it’s time to familiarize yourself with the options out there. This is a tip for choosing the best material for outdoor signs you can’t skip, as you cannot make an optimal decision without at least some knowledge on each material.

Acrylic

Acrylic, also known as plexiglass, is a material that is popular for signs due to several features. Chief among them is that light can be seen from behind them, so it’s great for signs you want to be seen at night. Acrylic is also durable and will not break down when it comes into contact with chemicals, water, or UV radiation. However, if it does sustain noticeable damage, it is hard to restore.

Medium Density Overlay (MDO)

MDO is made of plywood covered in a resin substance to give it resistance to water and wear. It is designed so that you can paint it in whatever color you want, and the paint will remain vibrant for a longer time than it would on regular wood. The downside is that MDO will eventually warp and degrade from water, even with the initial resin coating.

Aluminum

Being a metal, aluminum is hardwearing yet also lightweight. It can be formed into all kinds of shapes, as well. When you are making a sign in an irregular shape or one that is composed of individual letters, aluminum is a good way to go. You should make sure that you like the shine that it gives off, though, as this may not be to everyone’s stylistic liking.

High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

HDPE is a type of plastic that is also used in detergent bottles, milk jugs, and some other household items. It is suited for signs that are free-standing, as it is made for structural applications. You can find HDPE in the form of lumber that you can cut and assemble into a sign, similar to wood. Unlike wood, though, it is unaffected by moisture, chipping, and excessive warping. It will also hold its original color outdoors without any additional treatment or paint, as it is also made with UV-resistant properties.

If you’re sifting through HDPE lumber suppliers and looking for the best one for your sign-making needs, get in touch with Bedford Technology today. We can answer your questions and help you find the most fitting HDPE lumber with the many color and texture options we offer.

Tips for Choosing the Best Material for Outdoor Signs