Estimating the Lifespan and Durability of Your Outdoor Signs

This blog post was originally posted on the Sign World blog

“Some business owners spend untold hours dreaming up the perfect logo and slogan, but default to the cheapest material option without considering how this affects the lifespan of their sign. In today’s post, Signworld shares some tips to estimate the lifespan of your signage to allow for smarter long-term planning.”

Understanding the Durability of Different Vinyl Sign Styles

  • Calendared PVC: Calendared PVC are largely considered the economy and intermediate potion for vinyl signage, and the lifespan reflects this categorization. You can expect a calendared PVC sign to have a short-to-medium outdoor lifespan depending on the unique weather conditions and mounting location you choose.Though it’s easy to forget about the sunshine in these winter weather conditions, the amount of direct sunlight exposure that your outdoor signage receives will also greatly affect its lifespan. Calendared PVC in particular is susceptible to fading from UV rays. However, not all pigments are created equally; some color options will be more vulnerable to fading than others. If you’re trying to get the most out of inexpensive calendared PVC, opt for standards colors like reds, black, white, or transparent. Metallic silvers and golds tend to fade fastest.
  • Cast PVC: Cast PVC is similar to its calendared counterpart, only more durable and with greater dimensional stability. The casting process produces signage with a lifespan of five to twelve years depending on the weather conditions, brand, and type. Metallic and ultrametallic films have shorter outdoor lifespans – three to seven years is typical – but these are used primarily in the automotive industry.
  • Metalized Polyester: If you’re interested in a metallic aesthetic for a temporary sign, metalized polyester might be for you. Rather than embedded metal flakes into the face stock, metalized polyester films use a layer of metallic foil. This allows us to control costs for our clients, while still creating dazzling effects like chrome, gold leaf, or holographic foil. This style of signage is fairly cheap, but should only be considered a short-term or “decorative” sign, as the lifespan is limited to two to five years at most.
  • Fluorescent: Fluorescent vinyl is at the bottom of the totem pole where durability is concerned, so limit yourself to short term applications to avoid disappointment. You can expect your sign to hold up for two to three years depending on the hue, though reds and yellows may fade even faster. This style is suitable for short-term retail promotions, one-time announcements, or indoor applications.

Factoring in Local Environmental Conditions

  • Climate: The weather conditions that you expose your sign to will drastically affect the lifespans quoted above. Businesses operating out of Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, or Southern Florida could experience as much as a 20% reduction in sign lifespan due to increased wind force. Heavy rain and snow may also reduce the lifespan of your signage, so please discuss your unique weather factors with your Signworld expert during the design phase to ensure you get the best material recommendation.
  • Pollutants: The southern desert areas of the United States contain more atmospheric pollutants than you’d encounter elsewhere in the country. These can negatively affect the lifespan of your company’s signage. Business owners in Southern California, Arizona, and the surrounding areas should be mindful of the accelerated over-laminate erosion that may occur as a result of atmospheric pollutants and “acid dew.”

What does this mean to you and your sign current signs or pending sign projects?  Contact Impact Sign Co. today to chat about the best materials for your sign or maybe it is time to replace a sad looking sign.  We want to help you make sure you don’t just get a cheap option, but the longest lasting, best made sign for your needs.