Do Not Use Wood For Signs – Protect Your Investment

Signage is an investment. Your sign represents your image, and you need to consider the long-term affects of how you look.

Traditionally, signs were made from wood, or a wood by-product. Such examples include:

  • Redwood – tradition material used in sandblasting wooden signs. For decades, old-growth redwood hasn’t been allowed to be harvested.
  • Cedar – the alternative to old-growth redwood. Clear-grade heart (center of the tree) cedar gives a lesser grain pattern to old-growth redwood.
  • Soft-Wood – Pine, poplar, balsa, etc. are easy to sandblast but do not give the grain pattern relief for dimensional effects, and are not materials that last outdoors.
Wood Signs Will Have Issues - warping, cupping, splintering, mildew, etc.

Wood Signs Will Have Issues – warping, cupping, splintering, mildew, etc.

It’s common sense – wood is a product of nature and has no predictable longevity. When considering different areas have different climates that effect the expansion and contraction of natural wood, why would you want wood as the material for your expensive sign? Ask yourself – how often does the exterior of a wood faced house last before requiring repainting?

It is misleading to tell people that there is ANY commercial grade primer and top-coat finish, in any paint industry from local paint franchises to commercial grade sign enamels, that will prevent or protect wood from deteriorating from expansion and contraction. It’s simply a matter of time before it fails.

A CNC v-groove routed wood sign with the finish failing.

A CNC v-groove routed wood sign with the finish quickly failing.

While you may receive a wood sign that is primed and painted, keep in mind that the finishing system is compromised when you screw through it to mount to posts or your facade, thereby exposing the material to the elements.

There are other products that sign shops offer to reduce the wood failure. While these are cost-effective for the sign producer, they still fail. MDO (marine grade plywood) is a common wood product offered in commercial franchise sign shops. MDO is basically plywood. MDO does offer structural strength of cross-grain laminate layers like typical plywood, but instead of wood glue, MDO uses a fiberglass-style resin. Again, this wood product will fail in a matter of a few years.

Another wood substitute is High Density Urethane, or HDU. HDU is a synthetic wood product and is available in different densities and thicknesses. A typical HDU application is on a front entrance monument in brick masonry at 1.5″ thick and 15 pound (per cubic foot) density. HDU can be CNC routed or sandblasted in a variety of dimensional effects. HDU does not expand or contract, so the primer and top-coat finishes will typically last longer. HDU is a great product solution for exterior commercial grade signage. There is however an issue… HDU being a synthetic material has no natural grain structure for strength but rather is an open-cell foam product. This means it’s easy to break. A 2″ thick HDU sign between posts can be snapped in half easily.

Broken High Density Urethane (HDU) Sign

Broken High Density Urethane (HDU) Sign cracked and faded after short-term use.

The solution for signage substrate is a combination of more current technologies and finishes. Our Best Sign Monuments are made to order, not stock sheets of material pulled off a shelf. This means if you want a sign that will last the test of time, our product can be made (for example) to mount between posts at any thickness required. We can easily produce an 8″ thick sign on 12″ diameter posts that will not expand, contract, or snap on impact. Or better yet, for stand-alone solutions, a sign monument as an architectural form:

Solid Sign Monument Solutions

Solid Sign Solutions – Architectural Monument Forms that impress and last.

Fior more information on how our product is made, visit the how they are made section of our web site. To request a free quote on your next sign project, complete our online contact form with as many details as you can provide. Be sure to include a picture of the intended sign location, or even a rough sketch of what you have in mind with your quote request.

Our experienced sales team and award winning designers will be certain to come up with a cost effective solution that will impress, and protect your long-term investment.

Break Away Faux Stone Sign Monuments for Beehive

Beehive is a national assisted living franchise with numerous locations. The entrances to these facilities typically have real brick and mortar block stone monument column marquees with suspended embossed sign panels under wooden post arms that welcoming incoming traffic.

There is an ongoing issue with sign monuments and liability for businesses (and all other entrance-style sign monuments including city municipalities). The monument owner may be liable for driver injury and vehicle damages incurred by vehicle impact, especially in fatal incidents. So if an elderly driver hits your sign and is injured – the facility owner may be liable.

There is a simple solution to this situation which is referred to as a “break away” style sign monument. This means on impact, the monument itself will literally break off the ground and move out of the way, causing minimal vehicle damage and preventing fatal injury.

All of our sign monuments are a break away solution, and in our company history there have yet to be any injuries on impact.

Beehive Homes franchise owners wanted to update their existing entrance marquee signs to a break away style solution, which we easily matched in our faux masonry (foam core base). Here is a picture of the original block stone (real masonry) column-style monument:

Beehive Block Stone Sign Column Monument

Beehive Block Stone Sign Column Monument

And here is our break away style sign monument column in faux masonry before it left our shipping docks:

Beehive Break Away Faux Block Stone Sign Column Monument

Beehive Break Away Faux Block Stone Sign Column Monument

As you can see the faux masonry is a fantastic match to the real stone and mortar. We attached the embossed sign panels we fabricated in a permanent method (versus hanging from chain) to prevent theft or wind damage.

 

Wentzville Missouri Sign Monuments

The City of Wentzville, Missouri has numerous highway entrances. These entrances typically had real brick and mortar block stone monument marquees with cast aluminum oval plaques welcoming incoming traffic.

There is an ongoing issue with sign monuments and liability for city municipalities (and all other entrance-style sign monuments). The monument owner may be liable for driver injury and vehicle damages incurred by vehicle impact, especially in fatal incidents. So a drunk driver hits your sign and is injured – you may be liable.

There is a simple solution to this situation which is referred to as a “break away” style sign monument. This means on impact, the monument itself will literally break off the ground and move out of the way, causing minimal vehicle damage and preventing fatal injury.

All of our sign monuments are a break away solution, and in our company history there have yet to be any injuries on impact.

The City of Wentzville wanted to update their existing City entrance marquee signs to a break away style solution, which we easily matched in our faux masonry (foam core base). Here is a picture of the original block stone (real masonry) monument:

Wentzville, MO real masonry City entrance sign monument

Wentzville, MO real masonry City entrance sign monument

And here is our break away sign monument solution before it shipped from our docks:

Wentzville, MO break away Cirty entrance sign monument

Wentzville, MO break away Cirty entrance sign monument

As you can see we are a perfect match in faux masonry and signage style. Please note the City shipped us the cast aluminum plaques to attach to our product before shipping to the job sites. This ensured a more perfect overall match as we do not cast aluminum.