How Long Will A Sign Last?
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(Based on a tropical environment such as
A standard hardwood sign such
as a bed and breakfast sign or a well made hardwood residential sign will
normally last about 10-15 years. The first thing to go is the paint. Once
the paint fails moisture enters the wood and sets up the environment for
fungus, mold and wood rot spores the wood also checks and cracks. The
best way to prevent this is to treat the bare wood with a preservative
and to use top quality paints. The better quality the paint the longer
it will last. At the bottom of the paint spectrum is household latex and
at the top are two part polyurethane and epoxies.
Peel and Stick Vinyl
This covers a large
group of signs. Unfortunately peel and stick vinyl is the least durable
of signs. With a top quality vinyl, a peel and stick sign can last up
to eight (8) years however a lot of the vinyl used is the four year variety
and these signs fail very quickly here in Florida. They can fail in as
little as three years when exposed to bad conditions. The first symptom
is that the vinyl loses its gloss due to oxidation. The vinyl will start
to check and also the edges will peel up. At this point it is all down
hill and soon the sign is almost entirely denuded or partially denuded
of vinyl. This is not to say that peel and stick vinyl is horrible or
will not serve its purpose. There always has to be a low end sign that
people can afford and these signs can be made to last indefinitely with
a spruce up of new vinyl every couple of years. The trick with vinyl is
to insist on top quality 7 year vinyl when you have your sign fabricated.
Another cheap method of getting a top quality sign is to run stencil vinyl
through the vinyl cutter and then use a top quality paint which will certainly
last at least ten years. Illuminated plastic pan signs don't last long
here in Florida (there are always exceptions) Usually the first time these
signs encounter hurricane force winds they are the first to fail and become
hold up exceptionally well, They are impervious to sunlight and the rough
texture of the foam provides a grip which is second to none. Again the
quality of the paint will determine how long the sign stays attractive.
Theoretically an HDU sign could last a hundred years barring physical
impact damage. HDU is the same material used in the cores of surf boards
and fiberglass boats.
Aluminum Signs and
Channel Letter Signs
and channel letter signs are extremely durable and can last 50 or more
years. The limiting factors are paint film failures
and lighting failures. The neon lights which light these signs are very
durable but are fragile in nature. The neon can leak gas or suffer electrical
failures. An alternative is LED lights which can also last for years.
If you have a channel letter sign fabricated insist on colored acrylic
instead of white acrylic and an overlay of colored peel and stick vinyl
which is sure to fail or oxidize with age.
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