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’ll begin by talking about PVC or, Polyvinyl chloride. Wikipedia has a detailed description of PVChttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyvinyl_chloride, specifically they mention that it is “cheap, durable, and easily worked”. Unlike the PVC used in pipes and even clothing, sheet PVC which is what we used 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.
PVC signs can be cut using a saw or router. It 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, it is a bit more difficult to get perfectly sanded edges on carved signs or the edges of dimensional letters due to the porous nature of the material. It does however make a very durable carved sign as it will never delaminate, rot or split like wood. Being porous does provide a benefit in that you can provide a thicker material without the additional weight and cost of thicker wood or HDU. For an additional charge, edges of the sign can be sealed with an epoxy to create a smoother edge.
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.
PVC is also great for painted and shaped signs as well. Once painted, you can not tell this difference between PVC and wood. It does however offer a longer lasting product as it cannot rot or split. In some cases, in the hot sun, a long thin PVC sign between posts or on a wall could present a problem with warping if it is not carefully mounted to prevent this. It is also highly recommended that both the front and back of a painted PVC sign be painted as the drying paint on one side only could lead to warping issues.
For mounting our PVC signs, we use many of the same methods as we do for a wood sign. Angle or flat stock brackets are a nice way to hang a wall sign without seeing screws in the face of the sign. For ground signs, matching PVC posts and caps are a great way to finish off your sign. Digital graphics printed on vinyl and applied to PVC, or Direct to Substrate printed are great for menu boards as shown in this photo.