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How to Choose the Right Material for Outdoor Signage: A Comprehensive Guide

outdoor signage made with the right material

Table of Contents

Choosing the right material for outdoor signage is key to ensuring signs are able to withstand external elements and remain attractive. Making a knowledgeable selection can be difficult with so many options, but this thorough guide on “how to choose the right material for outdoor signage” has all you need: it considers significant aspects when selecting materials for your exterior signages, some of the most commonly used ones, specialized products suited specifically for such purpose, as well as advice about safeguarding these kinds of displays outdoors.

Short Summary

  • Consider weather resistance, durability and maintenance, cost and budget, UV resistance when selecting outdoor sign material.
  • Popular materials for outdoor signs include aluminum, corrugated plastic, acrylic vinyl & Dura-Wood.
  • Protect your signage with regular maintenance, protective coatings, proper installation tools & techniques.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Outdoor Signage Material

Outdoor sign materials - a variety of materials to choose from for your outdoor signage

Choosing the right material for outdoor signs is a key decision that should be made after taking into account factors such as weather resistance, maintenance and cost. Ensuring these considerations are met can help in achieving aesthetically pleasing yet low-maintenance signage solutions.

Weatherproofing materials like aluminum or metal composite panels have become popular choices because of their durability and endurance against various elements. UV protection finishes ensure colors on your sign will remain vibrant over time while also offering some fade-resistant properties from harsh sunlight exposure too!

In summary, an informed decision regarding which type of material would best suit the needs for your particular outdoor signs is essential to achieve desired results without having to incur additional expense or upkeep over its lifespan.

Weather Resistance

When creating outdoor signs, factors such as durability, UV resistance and cost must be taken into account. An extremely versatile material that is suitable for long-term use outdoors should have enhanced weather resistance in order to maintain its appearance despite rain, wind or sunshine.

Materials like aluminum, Dura-Wood wood composite panels, corrugated plastic and acrylic are all popularly used in temporary signage applications like real estate signs or political campaigns due to their excellent weatherproofing qualities. Out of these materials, vinyl tends to be the most budget friendly option while still providing good protection from external elements over time.

Durability and Maintenance

Outdoor signs and signage for businesses require both durability and regular upkeep. To maximize their use, you’ll need to pick the best materials that can sustain severe weather conditions while still being relatively easy to maintain over time. Selecting a highly durable material will save on resources in the long run. With regards to maintenance, frequent cleaning of outdoor signage is important as this serves not only its aesthetic appeal but also ensures its continued functioning even under harsh environmental elements.

Cost and Budget

When looking to invest in outdoor signage, cost and budget should be taken into account when determining the right materials. These elements play a big role in deciding how well-made the sign is, its longevity, as well as its efficacy.

Size of the final product along with level of complexity needed for production determine the price tag associated with it. It is important not only to balance quality and affordability, but also take the lasting value of more expensive material into consideration since investing upfront may result in savings down the road by requiring less upkeep or replacement later on.

UV Resistance

When it comes to outdoor signage, UV resistance is an essential factor for sign materials that will be exposed to the sun. If not selected properly, signs may fade or become damaged due to insufficient protection from ultraviolet light rays.

To prevent this happening and ensure a long-lasting display with vibrant colors and graphics, aluminum and vinyl should both be considered as these are known for their superior ability in defending against fading caused by sunlight exposure. Investing in such resistant material now can help keep your outdoor signage looking great while also extending its lifespan overall!

Popular Materials for Outdoor Signs

Outdoor signs made of aluminum - a durable and weather resistant material

When selecting the right material for outdoor signs, it’s important to know about all the materials available and their advantages. Popular options include aluminum, corrugated plastic, vinyl, acrylics and Dura-Wood. Each has unique benefits that should be taken into consideration before making an informed decision on what is best suited for your signage needs.

Aluminum provides a sleek appearance as well as resistance from corrosion while being lightweight yet durable at the same time. But can also come with some disadvantages such as corrosion due to humidity of air or saltwater (near coastal areas). On the other hand, there’s corrugated plastic which offers low cost options durability & versatility plus excellent clarity in print images.

This may lead to fading over years depending upon usage environment type i e sun exposure/ temperature etc Vinyl offers great color vibrancy good water proof property also no peeling ability if not exposed too much sunlight, but unfortunately couldn’t withstand extreme cold temperatures. Acrylic is a popular choice when looking for high quality visuals that need sign longevity.


Aluminum is a lightweight, durable and weather-resistant material that makes it ideal for outdoor signage. Many businesses prefer this robust material to craft their street signs, parking lot markers or business logos because of its strong construction and metallic sheen finish which gives off a professional look.

This versatile product also has different gauges depending on the strength needed -.040 gauge being best suited for small thin signs while.125 gauge works better with heavier duty ones. With proper care these aluminum sings will remain outdoors looking great and lasting through several seasons ahead!

Corrugated Plastic

When it comes to outdoor signage, corrugated plastic is an inexpensive and lightweight option that offers great benefits for temporary signs such as real estate or yard signs. Its resistance to the elements like UV rays makes it suitable even when used outdoors over a short period of time.

Compared with other materials like aluminum or acrylic, corrugated plastic provides affordability in terms of cost while still being customizable. Making this material attractive for businesses who seek reasonably priced options on their temporary outdoor signs.


Acrylic is an especially strong and weatherproof material widely used for illuminating signs, giving them a sophisticated look. Because it stands up to bad weather conditions and maintains its hue, acrylic makes an ideal pick for external signage that requires a smooth aesthetic.

Signs crafted of this durable material such as channel letters or lightboxes are great choices for those wishing to have a quality outdoor sign with maximum visual appeal. The glossy finish along with its resistance against environmental factors ensure your markers stay in good condition despite time outside in nature’s elements!


Outdoor signs, constructed from vinyl material, are characterized by their flexibility and weather-resistance. Vinyl banners, A-frames, window clings and vehicle graphics all benefit from this durable sign material’s ability to provide vivid colors with high definition while maintaining its low maintenance requirements.

It is an affordable solution for businesses looking for temporary outdoor signage that won’t break the bank. It makes a great choice due to its portability, perfect for portable promotional events or temporary campaigns!


For businesses wanting a rustic or traditional appearance for their signs, Dura-Wood is the ideal solution. This vinyl material designed to imitate real wood offers all of its classic beauty without any high upkeep costs associated with it. Making this product low maintenance and extremely weather resistant.

It also provides durability that stands up to everyday wear and tear, allowing business owners access to an aesthetically pleasing look while reducing extra time spent caring for it by offering a resilient alternative to natural wood elements found in signage projects.

Specialty Sign Materials

Signs made for outdoor use sometimes require specialty materials. Two examples are Medium Density Overlay (MDO) and Aluminite, while a third is called DIBOND®. All of these provide specific benefits suited to particular signage needs that don’t come with regular sign materials. Let’s take a closer look at what they offer in terms of their applications and features outdoors.

Medium Density Overlay (MDO)

MDO is a hardwearing, glossy material that looks just like wood and can be used for outdoor signs needing an organic feel. This material has better durability than other options out there as well as the benefit of a shiny finish which makes it perfect for businesses requiring exterior signage with a natural look.

Its resilience to changing weather conditions Guarantees its suitability in this domain allowing your signs to stay put against elements such as wind or rain. With MDO’s luxurious glossiness highlighting all the amazing features of your sign, you are sure to capture attention instantly wherever they may go!


Outdoor signs can benefit from DIBOND®, a material which combines aluminum and plastic. This combination provides an extremely durable, weather-resistant solution to stand up against the elements over time.

It is composed of two sheets of lightweight yet strong aluminum bonded with polyethylene for added robustness while remaining rustproof and temperature resistant too – ideal for any sign outside!

Customers who are looking for reliable signage outdoors will find that this aluminum composite offers them all they need: high durability even in varying conditions such as heat or humidity, plus long lasting outdoor performance since it resists corrosion due to its construction materials.


Aluminium is a form of aluminum composite material that has the benefit of being customizable in terms of thickness and printing options while also offering protection against unfavorable weather conditions. This makes it an ideal choice for businesses searching for specific outdoor sign materials with long-term durability.

The versatility associated with aluminum allows customers to create exactly what they’re looking for when constructing their signs, from its combination or multiple layers to various types of print designs, all this ensures your custom signage will stand up perfectly under whatever Mother Nature may throw at them!

Tips for Protecting Your Outdoor Signs

Taking care of your outdoor signs is essential for ensuring their quality and appearance. By implementing a few precautionary measures, such as proper upkeep, adding shielding layers, and making sure the installation process was correct, you can make certain that your signs will last long-term and look amazing all the while. To dive into these tips:

Regular maintenance should be carried out in order to keep up with any small damages or debris built-up on signage outdoors due to weather changes, protective coatings act an additional layer of security when it comes shielding them from prolonged exposure outside, Ensure they are correctly installed.

Regular Maintenance

Outdoor signs need to be regularly maintained in order to extend their life and preserve optimal condition. This means examining them for any wear or tear, giving them a thorough clean with mild detergent and water, lubricating all moving parts, tightening loose pieces as needed and replacing broken ones promptly.

By engaging in sign repair & maintenance practices, you can avoid costly repairs or replacements down the line on your signage system outside. Inspecting the outdoor signs along with caring for them will help ensure that they look great over time while also prolonging its lifespan greatly.

Protective Coatings

Adding a protective layer to your outdoor signs can offer added protection against the weather and ultraviolet rays. Different coatings that may be suitable are acrylic, polyurethane or epoxy, which will help increase its longevity while shielding it from rain, snow and other environmental conditions.

When applying these layers of coating on the signs you have outdoors, make sure to use brushes, rollers or spray according to instructions given by manufacturers in order for them not only look great but also stay protected over time.

Proper Installation

Outdoor signs must be installed correctly to ensure they are secure and stable, lessening the likelihood of harm from weather or criminal activity. It is advised that tools like nylon hammer-in anchors, concrete screws into plywood backing behind stucco, toggle bolts as well as lag bolts/screws drilled directly into wall studs should all be used in this process.

It is necessary for designs of outdoor signage to include letters at least one inch (1’) tall per twenty five feet (25’) with a position which corresponds with the most common viewing angle i.e. forty five degrees up or down relative to eye level no farther than about 5 feet away. Also following SAD Chapter 703.4 rules regarding height when hanging these signs will contribute towards correct installation and visibility optimization purposes. Hiring a professional sign company in San Antonio for proper sign installation is probably one of the most important steps in any signage process.

Wrapping it up

Choosing the correct outdoor sign material is critical for success, lasting impression and protection against elements. All factors such as durability, cost-effectiveness, UV resistance and weatherproofing must be taken into account in order to make an educated decision on which one works best. Popular materials should also be explored alongside specialized options while following maintenance tips along the way – ensuring that your signs can stand up to time’s test!

At City Signs – San Antonio, we are committed to offering our customers the finest quality materials, ensuring your signage retains its exceptional appearance for an extended period. Ready to work with us? Give us a call at (210) 616-1038 or fill out our online form for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most durable outdoor signage material?

Aluminum is an effective and durable material for any outdoor signage project, providing resilience, structure, and minimal weight. Its resistance to corrosion ensures it will have a prolonged lifespan when exposed to the outdoors, making aluminum your best option if you need something that can withstand time outside.

Plus, its reflective qualities make it perfect for signs that require visibility even in dim light settings! Aluminum provides all of these features plus cost-effectiveness, what more could you ask from such a reliable material?

Whether on business or personal grounds – this versatile metal has become increasingly popular due to its great characteristics suited perfectly to outdoor use.

What is the best material for CNC outdoor sign?

When it comes to CNC outdoor signs, PVC and High Density Urethane are the two top materials. They both offer excellent weatherproof qualities as well as long-term durability that makes them ideal for signage outside. Aluminium Composite Material is another option, but nothing beats PVC if you’re looking for an extremely reliable sign material for outdoors use.

What factors should be considered when selecting material for outdoor signage?

When choosing a material for outdoor signage, factors to take into account include weather resistance, how long it will last and the need for maintenance or not, as well as keeping an eye on cost/budgeting and UV protection.

How can I protect my outdoor signs from the elements?

For your outdoor signs to survive harsh conditions, it’s vital that they are regularly looked after and properly coated. Not only is maintenance key, but installation should also be taken into account for the best protection against the elements. The more attention these exterior signage receives from you.

What are some specialty sign materials?

Signage that is designed to last a long time can be created using specialty sign materials such as MDO, DIBOND®, and aluminum. These sturdy materials provide optimal protection against weather and other elements so your signage will stand the test of time.