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Home >The tuvisio blog>5 Things You Need To Know About Built Up And Flat Cut Lettering

5 Things You Need To Know About Built Up And Flat Cut Lettering

Posted by Jasper McEwan Date: Thursday 24 August, 2017

Choosing the right material for your flat cut letters can be a difficult process. So many materials available and a whole multitude of different points to consider to ensure your customer gets, not only, what they want but also a sign that is going to stay looking good for a decent period of time.

So where do you start?

As TRADE only suppliers of flat cut lettering, we get asked regularly about materials and their capabilities, we thought we would put all the questions in one place and categories them by material. 

Aluminium Composite Material (ACM)

ACM is perfectly suited to a huge range of flat cut letter installs. It’s relatively lightweight, easy to handle and will last the test of time in both indoor and outdoor environments, but there are one or two exceptions.

Key points

    • Standard colours, including white would generally be supplied with a 5yr warranty, but ensure your fabricator is using a premium material that comes with this warranty.
    • Brushed ACM or bulter finish does not come with any external guarantee so if you are going to use it then make sure your client is aware of this. The only alternative options to achieve the same effect would be brushed aluminium or brushed stainless steel, we would recommend the latter as aluminium is softer and scratches easily.
    • Polished or Mirror effect like the brushed mirror ACM doesn’t come with any external warranty and isn’t recommended for outdoor use at all. The only alternative is polished stainless steel.
    • Wide range of colours / effects available
    • Cost effective lettering solution
    • Low maintenance
    • Lightweight

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Foam PVC / Foamex

Foam is a very cost effective solution, but it has it’s limitations. If it’s outdoors then forget this as an option. Although people do and will continue to do so, it isn’t designed for outdoor environments. Warping is a given and if colours are used then fading will also take place pretty quickly.

Indoors though is no problem and it works perfectly well for this environment. It’s lightweight and available in a wide range of thicknesses and a small range of standard colours. Due to the thicknesses available it can also be used to create a cost effective built up lettering solution up to 25mm.

Key points

  • Don’t recommend using Foam PVC for outdoor use, unless its for a genuine short term requirement.
  • Great for internal use
  • Limited colour range
  • Various thicknesses available
  • Low maintenance

Acrylic

Acrylic has been around for years not only does it offer exceptional durability, it’s available in a huge range of colours and various thicknesses. All of which can be used in both internal and external applications, apart from the mirror and some speciality effects.

Key points

  • Great for internal and external environments
  • Long term durability
  • Wider choice of standard colours available
  • Various thicknesses available
  • Mirror acrylic and some speciality effects don't come with any external warranty
  • Cost effective lettering solution

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is a very durable option for signage, but it will require maintenance and regular cleaning. It can be used in both internal and external environments but one thing to consider is that should the install be within 25 miles of the coast, 316 marine grade stainless steel must be used.

Key points

  • Great for internal and external environments
  • Long term exterior durability
  • Requires regular maintenance
  • Generally supplied in 2-3mm thickness
  • Can be painted
  • 316 Grade stainless steel must be used should the install be within 25 miles of the coast.

Aluminium

Aluminium can’t be used in it’s raw state so it will require powder coating or painting prior to installation. It doesn’t rust which makes it an ideal solution for external signage. In comparison to steel, it isn't as heavy and maintenance is much lower.

Key points

  • Great for internal and external environments
  • Can’t be used in it’s raw state, needs to be finished.
  • Long term exterior durability
  • Low maintenance
  • Generally supplied in 2-3mm thickness
  • Can be painted / powder coated
  • Doesn’t rust

As with most signage it’s imperative to fully understand your client's requirements before quoting. If you can get a site visit/survey in before quoting then great, if not then make sure you ask the right questions to avoid issues further down the line.

 Do you have any additional question you ask before recommending materials to a client? Let us know in the comments section below.