5 Things to Know When Buying a Metal Sign

Maybe you can relate to this...

You're at a boutique, trade show, or art festival. You see a booth with beautiful art, nick nacks, or memorabilia. You “ooh” and “aah” over the quality craftsmanship or general brilliance and suddenly your inner voice stops you and says "you love this, but where will you put it?" 

This is the most common dialogue we have with our prospective customers. Each one of us has our own style, whether we know it or not. We like to decorate our own way, our own colors, our own layout. Some are more simple, some like to fill the wall with pictures and intermingle signs in a collage-type fashion. 

There is no right way to buy and use our metal art, but here are things you should consider when buying a metal sign. 

1. Where will you put it? 

2. How do I install it? 

3. What type of maintenance will be needed if mounted outdoors, or indoors?

4. What is "powder coat" and does it protect the sign from rain or salty air? 

5. How long does it take to make a sign and ship it to me? 


Each one of these questions is important to note. 


1. Where will you put it? 

Home decor style ideas vary based on the perception of the decorator and their ideas of comfort or ambiance. For address signs, there are generally not a lot of options to mount a sign to but inside the home, there are usually a lot more options. Inside, you'll want to note that if you have vaulted ceilings, your 24" sign will look small, so you may want to go with something larger. Its always best to measure your space and order your sign in the dimensions needed. Outside, there may be a facia board, porch post or pillar, mailbox post, or you may prefer a sign that sticks in the lawn. Whichever option you choose, you're likely to love it because the sign was made for you, and it will find its right place in your home.

 Tattered flag

2. How do I install it? 

This is a very common question that can be very easy to answer. If you don't feel comfortable installing a metal sign, you may choose to have someone qualified do the installation. The last thing you want is the sign to fall and someone to get hurt. 

That being said, indoor metal signs generally weigh between 4 lbs - 12 lbs, and can be easily hung by following the instructions on a wall hanging kit from the local home improvement store.  In drywall, cement, or stucco, you can pre-drill and install wall anchors into the pre-drilled holes. Then screw the sign into the wall anchor rated for the weight of the sign. Each wall hanging kit usually discloses how much weight it is rated for and some have general instructions to use their product.

Mounting hardware - Screws and Anchors

If any of this doesn't make sense, or if you still don't feel comfortable mounting your sign, its ok to ask for help. The kind folks at the home improvement store are always ready to give pointers and make sure you haven’t the right tools for the job. :) 


3. What type of maintenance will be needed if mounted outdoors, or indoors?

This is a great question. One that is asked fairly often. Most of our plasma cut signs are cut from mild steel, which in the raw (unpainted conditions) will rust when exposed to moisture. One way we prevent the rust is by adding a coat of paint or powder-coat. Since everyone already knows what paint is, you may be curious to know more about powder coat. Powder coat is generally made from colored polyester/plastic, ground into fine powder, and is sprayed out of an electronically charged gun. The metal sign hangs from a rack that has a grounded connection, and so the electrically charged powder exits the gun and clings evenly onto the metal due to the attraction of the positive and negative electric charge it has. Pretty cool huh? Once the powder is on the metal, the piece is baked in the oven which melts the polyester/plastic powder and creates a consistent and durable barrier which is stronger and longer lasting than paint. 

Freshly powder coated signs hanging from rack

While powdercoated signs won't need maintanence for many years, non-coated (raw) signs will rust quickly. Raw metal signs have character and they are growing in popularity throughout the United States for home decor or outdoor signs. It is important to note that while many like the look of rust, there are often times where the sign is hung above a sidewalk or entry way. When it rains outside, the rusty water will drip off of the sign and stain the concrete or land on people walking underneath a hanging sign. To prevent the dripping rust issue, you can spray a clear coat of paint over your rusty sign which will last for quite some time. Just reapply every few years or as often as needed to prevent rust drips. 

Finally, mill scale signs (Hot Rolled Mild Steel) have a blue/gray hue to them and many would like to preserve that look and not let them rust. There are a few ways to do this. Paint them with a satin clear paint made for metal, or, get some 3-2-1 oil and rub it into the sign with a paper towel (or even better, a microfiber cloth). The oil rubbed signs are my personal preference because they absorb the oil and still look a bit raw while not forming rust over time. As general maintenance, rub with oil every 3-6 months, depending on humidity levels the sign is in. 


4. What is "powder coat" and does it protect the sign from rain or salty air? 

While we talked about what powder coat is above, we did not mention the durability or protection from rain or salty air. Powdercoat is applied with a UV rated resistance to last for many years in outdoor environments, so generally, you'll be safe in a rainy state or salty air area. Keep in mind, in areas where sand blows regularly, this could essentially remove the coating (any coating) over time due to being "sand blasted". In this case, you may want to look at purchasing a sign made from aluminum or stainless steel because those do not rust even if the powdercoat starts coming off due to blowing sand. Powdercoat is durable in the hot climates and cold climates alike, and is the most popular coating on metal signs and other metal structures. 

Powder coated address sign - will not rust

5. How long does it take to make a sign and ship it to me? 

The time it takes to make a sign and ship it varies based on the project. For the most part it is around 2-3 weeks for custom signs. If we stock the inventory for common signs or numbers, we can often ship within a few business days. If you're worried about the time frames, its always best to send a quick message to us before placing the order to work something out. 


While these are very common questions before ordering your sign,  you're sure to have more. If that is the case, please reach out to us anytime and we will be glad to answer them. We look forward to doing business with you and making your next favorite sign! 

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