Sign Materials

Choosing the Right Material, 3 Questions to Ask

Close up of various sign types on DCS printer

In the last couple of blog posts, we have been discussing the importance of design and what features you can add to your ADA signage while still being compliant. While the design is essential and other specifications like the size and the total number of signs needed are crucial there are a few details that sometimes get missed and can cause issues with your ADA signage down the road.

Here are three questions that will help you stay happy with your signage project over the years!

1. Will these signs be displayed indoors or outdoors?

Yes, there is a vast difference between signs that are indoor and outdoor. Since signs that are outdoor have to hold up against the outdoor elements (such as heat, rain, sunlight, etc.), there are a couple of things to look out for:

  • Make sure that the material used is UV stable and/or outdoor weatherable
  • Engravable plastics made from and Acrylic base tend to hold up better
  • Most of the time this information can be found in the Product Description; in case you don’t see it, reach out to the company before purchasing (you can find that information in our Sign Details in our Overview section for each project)

2. If the sign is indoors, where will it be displayed and what type of environment?

Even though the sign is indoors, it can still be affected by elements like the sunlight. You should consider using a product that is UV stable indoors if:

  • The sign is opposite of a storefront window that gets a lot of sunlight (or any place which gets a lot of sun)
  • If your sign is placed facing an East and/or West facing window

The second part of this question revolves around the environment of the location which your ADA signage is located. If this environment is high-humidity (even indoors) there are a few things to consider:

  • Signs made from brass or other metals may oxidize and rust over time
  • Consider materials that are plastic engravable which will hold up better in a high-humidity environment

3. How will the sign(s) be mounted or displayed?

Knowing how the final product is to be mounted our displayed is a huge factor that can be a determining factor when it comes to the material which is used. 

  • Signage that is flush mounted (like heavy-duty foam tape) can usually hold either plastic or metal signs (but it depends on sizes and weight)
  • A sign that is mechanically mounted should be durable and selected based on the environment, like having a fixture that material specifications match (UV stable and/or outdoor weatherable)
  • Signage that is ceiling mounted needs to be lighter to put less strain on the  on the mounting materials, thinner gauge plastic engraving stock tends to be a better choice

These three questions will help you as the customer and us as the signage professionals to be able to advise you on which material would be best for your project. We want you to be happy with your signage for years to come. 

As a bonus, did you know about the expansion and contraction of your signs when you fit them into a sign frame or mount with stand-offs?  There must be sufficient space to allow proper expansion and contraction without resistance, and many engravable sheets require approximately 1/64″ (.396 mm) for every 3″ (7.62 cm) of a linear sheet.

Visit Alpha Dog ADA Signs Shop Page

Leave a Reply