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How Long Will A Sign Last?

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(Based on a tropical environment such as Florida)

Hardwood Sign


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 sign


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 airborne debris.


HDU Dimensional Signs


HDU signs 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


Aluminum 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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