How will you mount your outdoor sign?
Highly visible outdoor signs lets customers know who you are and where to find you – which is the ultimate purpose for your sign, right? In that case, you want to make sure your outdoor sign is clearly visible – and securely mounted and supported for the long haul. So, how do you successfully mount a stand-alone outdoor sign? Good question. And, "on posts" is the answer.
Here is how to successfully post a sign:
- Decide the best posts for the job. Will you be using wood posts or steel posts? If steel, galvanized or non-galvanized? Wood posts are most popular because they are more economical and a little easier to install. They typically come in 4x4 (lengths 10-14 ft) and 4x6 (lengths 16-24ft), but can be custom cut to larger sizes if needed. Metal posts are more expensive, but they last longer. They can be round pipes (which are fairly common), U-channel or square tubes, and are either galvanized or non-galvanized. Galvanized metal just means there's a coating of zinc oxide on the outside of the steel that protects it from oxidation and corrosion. For smaller signs, both posts will do the job. Metal posts would provide a lot more strength and support for oversized signage.
- Determine the adequate number of posts. How many posts will you need? If your sign is less than 10 square feet, one or two wood 4x4s will suffice. From 10-20 sq ft., opt for one 4x6 or two 4x4s. Above 20 sq ft, it would be best to use two 4x6s. Signs greater than 75 sq ft. should definitely be mounted with steel posts. Signs greater than 4' wide should be mounted on two posts, and signs greater than 12' wide should be mounted on three posts for maximum stability. Once you've determined the type and quantity of posts, then evaluate your location.
- Consider the grounds. Are you mounting in soft or firm grounds? That will determine whether you can directly drive the posts into the ground or if you'll need to drill and back-fill. For most small signs mounted directly in front of your establishment or yard, direct driving is most common and fairly easy. There's also the option of using metal base plates for added stability when installing a sign on asphalt or concrete. So, gauge how compacted your grounds are…then you can choose your method of installation.
- Determine the depth. Once you know if you can direct drive the posts, determine the best depth for installation. You do not want your sign to arbitrarily fall over! To prevent this, be sure to drive the posts far enough into the ground. Here's a good rule of thumb to determine depth: dig the hole half as deep as your post is high. Therefore, if you have a 4' post, you'll need to drive the posts 2' deep. If you have a 6' post, to be safe, install it at a 3' depth, and so on. That ensures your sign will be secure – wind, rain, or snow – when mounted.
- Do an inventory of your hardware. You've got all the information to install your posts, but what about the sign? To adhere the sign to your posts, you will probably need some clamps or scroll or post brackets to successfully mount your sign. U-Brackets and T-brackets are great for installing and securing your signage to wooden posts. Band brackets or pipe clamps are ideal for installing small signs to metal posts. Be sure you have the installation kits necessary to put your signage up – order them online or make a quick trip to your local hardware store.
- Assess the surroundings. Wait! Before you install your sign, take a good look at your surroundings. Are there shrubbery, trees or any other obstructions blocking the view? Will you need longer posts? Do you need to mount the sign higher or move it entirely? Look at it from all angles! Make sure your sign can be seen near and far, and from both sides, if it's double-sided. The worst thing you can do is install a sign and realize it's blocked from clear view! Also, if your sign is roadside, measure its distance from the road. Does it clear the "clear zone"? Be certain that distracted drivers are able to quickly get back onto the road without potentially hitting your sign if they mistakenly veer off. Check with your city for regulations! Take great care in assessing the surroundings before you begin your install.
The ultimate goal is for your stand-alone outdoor sign to be clearly seen and well mounted. One of the most popular ways to accomplish this is to use either wood or steel posts. They are widely available and quite simple to install. Most of the free-standing outdoor signs you see are successfully mounted with posts – i.e. street signs, yard signs, realty signs, even corporate signs. Take your time – select the right hardware, choose your location, ensure visibility, and then post away!