Sign Mounting Hardware and Systems

A sign isn’t finished until it’s mounted to the customer’s satisfaction.
Entry sign at “La Rocca,” an ancient fortress in Vignola, Italy

What is the most difficult aspect of signmaking? Sometimes it’s the design process, or fabrication methods, especially if your shop is lacking skills or equipment. Or, it can be the part we take for granted, i.e., installation and mounting, the labor-intensive but critical finishing segment that can either enhance or cost your earnings. Fortunately, unique, pre-made mounting solutions, both simple and complex, are available for both indoor and outdoor applications. Consider, for example, the temporary wire-frame sign holders used for real estate signs and compare them to construction-site signs that are bolted to wooden posts that require a posthole digger to install. (Remember to call the underground utility locator service before digging.) Wood is OK, but a kit comprising extruded aluminum posts, sign frames and faces looks sharper and lasts longer. Such extruded frames and faces can be purchased off the shelf or ordered to your specifications. Many can be assembled on a simple work table – no special tools required. 

Indoor sign installations may seem like a nonissue, but they, too, can be tricky. Upscale businesses want sophisticated-appearing signs, looks that simple frames or shop screws can’t provide. Fortunately, commercial standoff sign mounting devices offer an attractive solution, with many varieties readily available. Customarily, decorator-type rod heads reach through the drilled signface, or the face itself is short-tapped to receive machine-threaded screws from the back, with the mounting and wall mounts not visible from the front. Other options include decorator cable-and-rod systems that provide innovative clamps and cables that affix the signs between them.

BANNERS AND SOFT SIGNAGE

Banners, largely a cash cow for commercial signshops, are typically completed and then handed to the customer who installs them; thus, installation isn’t usually an issue. There are, however, exceptions to this rule. Business owners know that suspended banners provide valuable advertising, but it can be a pain for them or signshop installers to install grommet hooks and hang the banner, especially if the hardware is installed into the lightweight sheet rock found in most commercial buildings. One unique banner mount method incorporates a magnet system that allows you to mount or remove the banner using a telescoping wand. The magnets hook into the banner grommets, which attach to a drop-ceiling frame. Other systems use surface-mount frames that apply tension to the banner. These hold the banner taut and the manufacturer says its system will stand up to reasonable wind force.

We can’t mention banners without also looking at soft signage, the emerging tradeshow and interior display favorite. The classic question is, once you print on fabric, how the heck do you mount it? One method is to order extruded frames that include a tensioning system, e.g., the frame incorporates a silicone or PVC strip that grips the material. With this, your fabricator overlays the frame with the fabric and, using a manufacturer-provided tool, presses the fabric between the frame and the silicone or PVC strip. Once inserted, the fabricator simply trims the excess fabric. Another method is to use a silicone-edge graphic (SEG) frame and apply an adhesive tape that attaches to the edge of the graphic. The edge is tucked into the frame, which makes a finished product. For more diverse shapes, it’s best to contact firms that provide brackets and mounting systems for oddly shaped (and stretched) fabric signage, with the necessary cut and sew patterns.

We’ve just skimmed the surface on sign mounting systems, but hopefully we’ve presented concepts that add ideas, value – and ease – to your installation plans.

Signs of the Times October 2018

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