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What is the best material to use for printed outdoor signs?


What is the best material to use for printed outdoor signs?

There are four materials which we use for printing outdoor and temporary signage on, these are Correx, Foamex, Dibond (ACM) and Banner PVC. All of these are popular for their own reasons and we have detailed some of the key factors that need to be considered before choosing one of them for your outdoor signage. Below are some of the questions we are asked and a summary to help you to choose the right material for your requirements.

What are the different materials available?

We work with four types of materials for printed outdoor signs: Dibond, Foamex, Correx and Banner PVC. We’ve found these to be the most reliable, weather resistant and cost effective.

What is Dibond?

Dibond is a trade name for Aluminium Composite Material (ACM). It is made up of 2 sheets of aluminium surrounding a polyethylene core. Unlike aluminium, it doesn’t have any scrap value, and is therefore unlikely to be stolen, unlike signs made from valuable aluminium.

What is Foamex?

As with Dibond and Correx, Foamex is also a trade name. The product is a rigid PVC foam board, that is available in a range of thicknesses including: 2mm, 3mm, 4mm, 5mm, 6mm, 8mm and 10mm.

It has a very white surface and is ideal for directly printing, either on one side or double sided.

What is Correx?

Correx (again a trade name) is a lightweight corrugated material made from extruded polypropylene. Correx is 100% recyclable, and is available in a wide range of thicknesses and weights. It is perfect for the printing of short to medium term weatherproof outdoor signage, where cost is an important consideration

What is Banner PVC?

Banner PVC is a tough but flexible sheet, often likened to tarpaulin, used to print outdoor banners. The strength of banner PVC comes from the fine mesh of nylon fibres within it’s make up. It is normally double hemmed at the edges and fitted with strengthening eyelets for hanging and fastening.

What material is the most suitable for outdoor use?

Of the four products we are discussing: Foamex, Dibond and Banner PVC, they are all suitable for exterior use in all weathers.

How do you make a weatherproof sign?

Looking to source a sign that is suitable for use with the British weather? All of the materials we are discussing (Dibond, foamex, and Banner PVC) are waterproof so suitable for outdoor/ exterior signage and banners.

Which material will last the longest outside?

Dibond is the most the most suitable for longer term temporary signage, hence it is regularly used to create hoarding panels and other signage and graphics that need strength and durability.

Are there any size restrictions for outdoor signs? And can you print large format banners, panels and signs?

There are no real size restrictions we can print signage as small as a6, a5, a4 etc. right up to full site hoarding boards that surround buildings. For large format signage like hoardings, the graphics are printed in (8’ x 4’) panels that are joined, when installed, to create one large image.

Banners can be printed in any size up to 5 metres wide, please speak to our team to discuss your requirements if you require large banners.

Will the surface of the printed signage be smooth?

If you need a smooth finish for your signage, then Foamex or Dibond are the most suitable options. Correx is a fluted corrugated plastic and the flutes can be seen on the finished signage.

How much does it cost to make signs? And which material is the most cost effective for temporary signage?

The cost of printing and producing the signs depends on several factors:

  • The artwork designs
  • The size / dimensions of the signs
  • Number of colours in the design
  • Total quantity required
  • Material that the sign is printed on

Having said that, if we assume that all the other factors are the same for each sign and we are just to compare the cost of the materials, dibond would be the most expensive, then foamex, correx and the most cost effective option would be to use the PVC banner material.

Being the second cheapest option Correx is a popular choice for temporary sign boards, especially if they are displaying an event i.e Country, game & steam fairs, beer festivals or open gardens or if the campaign they are advertising is short term e.g. election campaign boards.

For a free quote please contact our team.

Which material Dibond, Foamex, Correx or Banner PVC would be the strongest for use on outdoor signs?

Whilst banner PVC is the cheapest option for printing the temporary signs, it is also the least rigid, in fact the banners can be rolled up! This is great for storage but not if you are looking for something that will remain rigid. For this reason, you sometimes see banners displayed on walls or on a wooden backing board, to overcome the flexibility of the product.

Correx is a fluted material so is easily bent in the direction of the flutes but much harder to bend across the flutes, this therefore needs to be considered in the design of your signage to ensure the signage is printed correctly so the signs don’t bend easily in the wind.

The strongest material would be Dibond (ACM) as this is very rigid.

How easy is it to install outdoor signage and banners?

Most of these materials are easy to install. PVC banners can be supplied hemmed and eyeletted so they can be fasten to fences or posts with cable ties or even tied with string. Banner frames are available to purchase which also offer a simple free standing display option when there is no fence etc available.

Correx signs can be supplied pre-drilled if required and even with eyelets on request. Corex is easy to display by screwing or nailing it to walls, posts etc. The same applies to Foamex signs.

Dibond is the most rigid of the four materials and is also the hardest to display. Having said that, we can supply your signs pre drilled with holes so it can be screwed to the wall or post as required.

When I’m out and about where am I most likely to see examples of the different materials used in outdoor signage?

Dibond is used for outdoor signs that are temporary but likely to be there for a while, such as trails and information boards. Dibond is widely used for Hoarding boards, where many small panels are printed to create a large graphic when all installed together, around buildings and construction sites.

Correx is widely used throughout the country for printing Estate agent boards, advertising For sale and to let properties. Next time you see one, look and you will see the fluted corrugated texture of the material. Another popular use of Correx is temporary road signs, which are widely used when surface dressing teams are working on the roads. The uses really are endless; open gardens, beer festivals, shows, festivals etc…

Foamex is commonly used for header boards on display stands in garden centres etc.. and for directional signage.

Banner PVC is seen everywhere often advertising charity events, markets, fairs, galas and promotions. As it is cheap to buy and easy to display this is a popular choice for local events.

How quickly will my temporary signs fade? Can you print lightfast signage?

There are several factors to consider that affect how long your signs will remain lightfast including; what type of ink is used to print the signs – is it UV stable?, the print method, the material used, the colours used in the image and where the signage is placed i.e. will it be in direct sunlight or not.

At Screenprint & Display have various printing options available and we can print with UV stable inks, call our team for advice on lightfast signage.

Can outdoor signs be recycled when they are no longer required?

If you are looking for outdoor signage that can be recycled after use the best material is Correx . The fluted plastic is fully recyclable in Waste Stream 5. Take a look at our recycling policy here.

Dibond, foamex and banner PVC cannot currently be recycled. As people become increasingly aware of the environment and look to source recyclable signage and point of sale material, there is a continuous stream of new products entering the market, please speak to our team on 01347 823230 to discuss your requirements further.

Comparison of Dibond, Correx, Foamex and Banner PVC for use on outdoor temporary signage?

Foamex£££Header boards and logo / stockist signsX
Dibond££££Hoarding BoardsX

Material Cost Uses Recyclable
Banner PVC £ Markets, Events & Promotional signage X
Correx ££ Placards, Estate agent boards, Beer festivals, open gardens, fairs, fetes and shows. 100% in waste stream 5

How do I order outdoor signage?

That’s easy! Just email or call our team on 01347 823230 and we can discuss your requirements, answer any queries and offer a free quotation.

How quickly can I get my temporary signage printed?

We offer a fast turnaround on all signage. Call our team today and we can work with you to meet your deadlines.

Email or call 01347 823230.

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