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Custom Reflective Aluminum Signs for Businesses or Communities

Aluminum Sign

Now, for those of you who think that signs are ugly and barely a necessity, you may have a valid point as you wander around, lost, in the world you want without them. However, for the rest of us who like to know where the heck we are, they are the grandest invention for finding your way ever invented!

Just for definition sake, they are the kinds that are non-standard. Standard types, as discussed in the previous post, are the ones that include Stop, School Zone signs, or Speed Limit markers.

Of course, anyone can still get lost, even with a plethora of signs showing you where to go, which is why there are gas stations. You may’ve thought they were for gassing up your rig, and that’s a little bit true, but the main reason for gas stations is to have a place to stop and ask directions (if you’re a woman) or a place to zoom past (if you’re a man) ’cause you know exactly where you’re going!

At any rate, fortunately, most of us men are now kinder and gentler, thanks to George Bush the first, and have been trained to stop and ask directions (or at least that’s what our wives think we’re doing!).

Customized Aluminum Street Signs for Businesses, Private Communities, or Parking Lots

customized parking signageToday I’m discussing custom traffic signs.In the previous article I discussed standards for reflective signposts which are set nationally by the US Department of Transportation (USDOT), or by local states conforming to the USDOT’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices MUTCD).  This manual gives all the regulations for those various aluminum-based kinds, but doesn’t address non-standard or custom traffic signs.

Interstate Signs

So, when you’re driving down the interstate, and you see a signage for the next exit that says there’s a Shell Station, a Conoco Station, and a McDonalds restaurant, who sets the standards for these types?

Well, if you guessed your state DOT, you’d be correct…almost. Some states allow only copy on the display, whereas others allow full color logos for the business being advertised. Businesses pay an annual fee to have their logo or name displayed, and usually only gas stations, restaurants, and hotels/motels are eligible to be listed. Obviously, those that allow company logos like a McDonalds logo on the sign allow design standards that they don’t set, just size and material standards.

There are many other customized types though.  The US Postal Service has its own specs for its facilities, as do military bases. Private developments are able to customize according to their own specs as long as it’s approved by some money-sucking inspector from the county or state. HDU or wood signposts are used in some high end developments.

Standards on Traffic Sign Materials

Material-wise, repeating standards from the MUTCD, for interstate highways, the varying thicknesses of used are .080″ thickness, .100″ thickness, and .125″ thickness aluminum. As I also stated in the last article, the size of the signage and local environmental conditions will determine the thickness of the signage material to be used, and some states require extruded aluminum for those larger than a specific square footage.

The MUTCD specifies what types of aluminum to use on any custom traffic signs. One of the most used grades of aluminum is classification 5052-H38. The number refers to the purity and hardness of the material. All aluminum also must be alodized or anodized to prevent corrosion. Corrosion is to aluminum as rust is to steel, only faster. Check this to see a collection of those approved by the DOT.


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Barry K. Brown

Barry Brown has been in the Sign, Banner, Decal and Display Business for over 20 years. It isn't what he thought he'd do with his life, but he says he knows too much now to do anything else!

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