When ordering exterior signage for your business, you really have quite a lot of options to consider. Which options are best depend on a few key considerations.
Your application is what really drives the type of material. Some exterior signage is intended to be temporary (such as outdoor banner announcing a grand opening); while other exterior building signage requires a much longer life span such as a permanent monument sign near the highway. Your budget and desired sign life span will drive the type of sign and materials we will recommend.
Material types include metal, wood, foam, vinyl, or plastic. Exterior signs can be fabricated using one type of material or materials can be combined for more unique designs. Examples of combined materials include a metal sign with acrylic lettering, or a sandblasted sign with digitally printed logos. Since we custom fabricate most signs in-house, we can provide innovative design ideas and large variety of materials to choose from.
Durability for any sign designed for exterior use will be somewhat high, otherwise it wouldn’t be intended for outdoor applications. Beyond overall durability against the weather elements, there are types of hazards that can impact the lifespan of your outdoor signage.
Solutions for common exterior sign durability challenges:
- If your signage will be in an area that is prone to graffiti damage, then we would recommend you consider a flat sign with anti-graffiti covering for longer durability.
- If a sign needs to withstand relatively high winds, we suggest staying away from vinyl and plastic sign materials
- If bugs and birds are prevalant near the sign, we suggest steering away from Cedar or Sign Foam since the woodpeckers and bugs really like these type of signs
- If the signage is in a location that may be prone to getting hit by cars, we suggest special posts that allow the post base and sign to become disconnected if hit which minimizes damage to the sign
Anticipated sign life span depends mainly on materials used. Some sign materials are rated for a year or two of outdoor life, some are rated for 15+ years of life. Some signs can be refurbished, repainted, or repaired after their typical life span is up. Exterior signs can run from $100 or less on up to thousands of dollars. The longer the outdoor life, the more the sign will cost.
Typical life span of materials used for Business Signage:
- Banner and thin plastic signage has approx. six months to two years outdoor life
- Vinyl or printed aluminum and wooden signs have approx. five to nine years outdoor life
- Sandblasted cedar or sign foam has approx. 12 years outdoor life
- Dimensional letters and cast plaques have a lifetime guarantee
A lighted sign can make a big impact, but how do you know if it’s the right choice for your application? If you are thinking about a lighted sign, it’s important to first check with your local zoning board to see if a lighted sign in your area is allowed. If so, then consider if your sign needs to be visible at night, or primarily during the day. A sign can be illuminated from internal lighting or external lighting, each giving a different impact. A lighted sign will also require that an electric source be available near the sign. If not already available, an electrician will need to be involved during the installation.
Visibility for drive-by traffic is important of course. Faster traffic requires larger letters for maximum readability. Additionally, the further the sign will be from the actual road frontage, the larger the sign, letters, and messaging will need to be. Consider surrounding landscaping when planning external business signage. Your landscape (or landscape of neighboring businesses) can grow quickly and negatively impact the readability of your signage.
Regulations in each locale dictate the type of signs you are allowed, sign sizes, placement of the signage, and whether illuminated signs are possible. It is very important that you check with local zoning boards to verify sign regulations prior to ordering outdoor signage.
Permitting is required for all exterior signs. We can file for your permit, or you may file for it yourself. If we file for your permit, we charge a flat fee for the application and then the city or county you are located in will charge their own fee, based on the size of your sign. If you choose to get your own permit, you will only pay the city / county fee. Permits in many locations take one to two weeks to procure. We can’t start production on your sign until your permit is approved. Please make sure and schedule this time into your projected timeline. If you have a tight deadline, talk with us about what options are available.
Delivery time for exterior business signs can take between five days and six weeks, depending on type and size of sign. Standard signs like vinyl graphics, banners, plastic signs, flat aluminum, or wooden panels take between five and ten business days to produce, after layout approval. Custom welded aluminum post and panel signs, sandblasted or routed signs, cast plaques and dimensional exterior lettering take between four and six weeks for production. The Blue Ridge Sign & Stamp team will want to know your time-frame when we start so we can watch for any potential timeline problems. Our design, fabrication, and installation are all done in-house which allows us to better address aggressive deadlines when necessary.