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Choosing the Right Substrate for Your Sign
Beginning this week, we will be posting blog articles about the many different sign materials we use. There are so many substrate options for interior signs, exterior signs and even banners. In an effort to help our customers with determining the right material for their sign project, we’ll explore a new product each week. This week we will discuss using PVC for Signs.
Using PVC For Making Signs
This week we’ll begin by talking about PVC or, Polyvinyl chloride. Wikipedia has a detailed description of PVC, specifically they mention that it is “cheap, durable, and easily worked”. Unlike the PVC used in pipes and even clothing, sheet PVC used for sign making is a very durable formed flat sheet. PVC boards are available in a variety of thicknesses including 1/8″, 1/4″, 1/2″, 3/4″ and 1″. Most commonly PVC is available in 4′ x 8′ sheets, but some thicknesses can also be available in 4′ x 10′ for larger projects.
Can You Cut and Shape PVC?
We can cut and shape PVC signs using a saw or router. PVC can be cut into sign shapes, sign letters, or logos and it can even be carved like wood or High Density Urethane (HDU). Unlike wood or HDU. With PVC, you do see the pores of the material when it is V-Grooved. However, priming and painting often fills these pores so they are not really visible on the finished sign product.
PVC is a very durable material for carved signs. It will never delaminate, rot or split like wood. Because PVC is porous you can make a thicker material without the additional weight and cost of thicker wood or HDU.
Vinyl is another form of PVC that is a plasticized PVC that is very thin and can be cut using a plotter…but that’s for another week!
PVC offers an exceptionally smooth surface which is ideal for applying digital graphics. This is why we use it for many of our Site or Project signs. It allows us to create up to a 4′ x 8′ sign with full color graphics that is durable and fast to manufacture. It requires no painting unlike MDO or wood and makes turning around a quick job easy for us.
Let’s be clear and as non-technical as possible in the description of PVC signs. The chemicals and the molecular makeup are the same as the pipe referred to in the opening of this article. The best way to help in differentiating the two as that the signs are more lightweight and porous, meaning full of pores. How does this translate to what you want to know? With all those tiny little pores in a PVC sign, it means it will accept liquids. In your case, it means they can accept ink, and thus we can create graphics on the sign you want for your company.
PVC signs have a matte finish, which means it eliminates glare or reflection. It makes your graphics easier to read. If you really feel you want a shinier gloss finish, we can do a decal print and affix it to your sign.
Because of its composition, these signs don’t tend to crack, split, or rot like most traditional wood signs. PVC signs are similar to acrylic ones, but don’t have the glare and aren’t as expensive. They’re also a bit more durable than acrylic, as well. On the note of durability, PVC is a bit more expensive than coroplast signs, but much more long-lasting. It is more affordable and easier to handle than aluminum. In all, PVC comes with a greater flexibility than many other sign materials, which makes it a well-round choice for indoor sign usage.
Indoor vs Outdoor:
PVC signs are ideal for extended messaging inside. They should only be put into play outside for a very temporary length of time. While they are better at handling precipitation than their traditional foam board sign cousin, they are still susceptible to water if exposed for any real amount of time. If the sun is left to beat down on PVC signs, they will end up warping. Having to replace a product because of that can certainly get frustrating for you, and we don’t want that to happen. Being vigilant in your efforts will help maintain and extend the longevity of your sign. Overall, like foam signs, PVC is not produced to have to deal with outdoor elements. If you require something like PVC for outdoor use, call us to go over some details. We have many government agencies who use an alternative version of the PVC Palight product we generally use. There are a few different ways for displaying your sign inside. It can be at ground level resting against a flat surface. It can be hung, but common sense says that the thicker, heavier a sign is, it should be anchored by mounting it on a wall. This can be done easily and in a few different ways. You can use screws, double-sided tape, an adhesive, or our handy blind fastener system, which adds a bit of class to the display.