Popular Materials for outdoor House Signs
List of the most popular Materials used for outdoor House Name & Number Plaques
With over 22 years experience in house sign making we have tested many materials to create house name and number signs for properties in the UK and overseas. As we specialise in manufacturing quality products that are made to last in all climates worldwide, there are some materials we will not use to make outdoor sign from. In this article we have detailed the pros and cons on most base materials commonly used for manufacturing home signage in Great Britain.
Wooden house signs can be made from timbers of different grades of hardness. Lettering and numbers can be painted on, burnt on by either a laser or pyrography or alternatively engraved with a v shaped chisel or router bit. Wooden signs tend to look rustic and can look quite smart depending on what wood is used and if they are varnished. The downside of wooden plaques is that they tend to need regular maintenance to keep them looking good outdoors. Wood will rot quickly if not regularly sealed with varnish and the house names or numbers don't stand out as well as on other materials. - That's why we don't make any wooden house signs.
Acrylic & Plastic Signs
These signs are a modern cheap alternative usually made from perspex , foamex or similar plastics. Usually made with standoff fixings, they mainly have a shape cut out of 3mm clear perspex and a coloured backing of perspex or plastic foam board. The house numbers and text or graphics are then usually cut out from a sticky vinyl which is then stuck onto the clear front perspex shape. These products tend to give a modern contemporary look. The drawbacks on perspex is it can be brittle and shatter easily and the vinyl letters will shrink and distort over 3 to 5 years. - We don't make acrylic or plastic signs.
Metal House Signs
House signs made from metal have been around for centuries. There are several types of metals used. Cast iron, aluminum, rolled steel and brass are the most common. The advantage of metal signs are that they are more durable outdoors compared with wood or even acrylic products. The disadvantage is that metal corrodes over time. Depending which metal the plaque is made from and where it is located (south facing, near the sea is the worst location for metal plaques) it will start to get pitted through corrosion or rust and can become unsightly and illegible over a few years. Metal house signs are usually the most expensive materials. - We don't make our products in any metal but we do make a range of signs which look like traditional cast iron but won't rust like metal does.
Natural Slate, Granite or Stone
Most stones can be made into house signs. Probably the most popular stone is slate because of its great outdoor weathering properties. Other stones are Granite, Marble, York stone and many other types but slate is the most popular. The advantage of natural stone is it will weather outdoors very well lasting for decades. The disadvantage is that they are heavy and can be brittle so they should be securely fixed against a flat surface like a wall or brick pier. There are three main types of engraving methods for stone signs, laser, sandblasting and v-groove engraving. - We make a large choice of V-groove engraved house names & number in smooth slate.
Ceramic & Pottery House Signs
There are many styles of ceramic, pottery & terracotta house signs available. Some are hand made by artisan potters and others are mass produced in ceramic tile factories. Some ceramic house plaques are hand painted and some have printed decals which are then fired in a kiln with a glaze. There are some really lovely pottery signs about but they can craze and become unsightly quite quickly due to rain soaking into the pottery. Sharp frosts can craze the front glaze and eventually crack the whole ceramic base. We don't make our products in pottery, ceramics or terracotta. - Our ceramic style signs are actually made from cultured marble which is completely waterproof & frostproof.
Polymer Resin Signs
There are several different kinds of resins that house plaques can be made from. Glass Fiber, Polyester Resin, Epoxy & Polyurethane. They are all very durable outdoors in all weathers. They all have different qualities for different purposes. - We manufacture several types of home signage from polymer resins which is mixed with marble or slate powder and hand cast into moulds of different shapes & sizes resulting is solid tough plaques which will shrug off anything nature can throw at them.
Corian, Solid Surface House Signs
Solid surface signs are becoming popular for outdoor signage because of their outstanding durability. They can withstand knocks and bumps without damage and so are ideal on swinging gates or any location which may be prone to shocks, vibration or vandals. - We make a comprehensive range of white solid surface house signs with deep engraved lettering and a choice of 7 inlay colours.
Recycled Eco House Signs
These products are made from a solid block of recycled throw away plastics like coffee cups, seed trays, bottles etc. These plastics are melted and mixed with various powder fillers and give a natural stone effect look and feel. They are a relatively new addition to the home signage market. We have yet to see what advantages or disadvantages they bring. The environmental advantage is that the throw away plastics don't get dumped into landfill.
So which is the best material for a house sign?
That depends on your personal taste, budget and life expectancy from your house name or number plate. Some cheaper plastic and wooden plaques on the market will only last outdoors for 3 to 4 years and other better quality signs will look great and last for decades.
Our advice: You usually only fit a house name or number plaque once to your property so choose a sign that will look great and last outdoors for longer than a decade. This way you won't need to drill too many more holes in your brickwork in the future.
We don't make wooden, acrylic, plastic or metal signs - not because we can't make them but because we started this company specializing in manufacturing quality house name and number plaques that will last outdoors with little of no maintenance. The materials we use have stood the test of time and one can see many examples of our products throughout the UK and other countries which are over 20 years old and still look pretty good.