On the eve of my 26th winter living in the Midwest, I’ve gotten pretty good at my cold weather routine. The new winter coat has been purchased, gloves and hats have been pulled from storage, cars have had new tires added, and the Apple Music playlist has been heavily Bon Iver-influenced. Though yours truly is prepped for the cold season ahead, it’s safe to say that a lot of preparation work is left for us in the sign world in advance of our impending cold front.
- Thrice this week, I’ve had clients requesting rush jobs on exterior vinyl installs. The challenge? We have a very narrow window (no pun intended) of days left to install signs before our three, four, five, eight months of winter in Fargo, North Dakota. Although vinyl installations can happen year-round (if you’re daring enough), the longevity of your vinyl signage is almost entirely reliant upon the conditions in which you apply it. Cold weather (just like extremely hot weather) can create complications during install, in which your vinyl lettering and logos may be more prone to peeling, crinkling, or falling off altogether. With so much pressure on the installation of vinyl, today’s blog is related to what you should know about cold weather vinyl applications and what alternative sign options you should consider in advance of the cold months.
When is it “too cold” to apply vinyl?
There are a few factors that go into answering this question. The type of material (standard/opaque, versus digital, versus etched, etc.), the size of the lettering/logos, the type of surface it’s being applied to, and the brand of material are all major factors in the longevity of your vinyl install. That being said, we can begin to draw some generalizations for the sake of answering this question.
In most cases, it’s stated that the “optimal” temperature for exterior vinyl installation is 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. In other words, there’s about two months in an entire year in Fargo, ND where we can expect temperatures to be “optimal” to install. But, that doesn’t scare us, and it really shouldn’t scare you either. From our experiences (and many other sign companies like us), vinyl lettering, logos, and panels should all be suitable for installation in temperatures of 50-90 degrees Fahrenheit. So when is it ‘too cold’? Well, realistically, it’s difficult to guarantee any installation that takes place in temperatures that are less than 50 degrees.
Even with this in mind, it doesn’t mean that we can’t install vinyl in lower weathers. It simply means that we can’t warranty it. We’ve installed plenty of vinyl in the winter whereby the longevity of the vinyl still can be as great as 5-10 years. In fact, our 24-year vet of the sign industry (Jamey) would tell you stories about himself installing vinyl in -20 degree weather. The only thing we cannot do is any vinyl that requires a ‘wet apply’ (where vinyl must be installed with heavy application fluid/liquid) in sub-freezing weather. This mainly applies to etched vinyl and some digitally printed vinyl products. If you have any concerns, feel free to call us directly at 701.526.3835.
So what should I do instead of vinyl in the winter?
As my brother says: “sometimes you gotta risk it to get the biscuit.” If you’d like to still give the vinyl installation a try in the winter months (understanding that warranty options become null and void), we’d certainly still encourage it! However, if you’d rather play it on the safe side (“don’t risk it, get more biscuits?”), we have a plethora of alternate options for you and your signage needs. Below are a list of alternative products to consider for your windows if vinyl application becomes too much of a problem:
- Banners. Hanging banners from inside or outside your building are almost always a prospect for the windows. Though you won’t get the same sharp, tight look, your messaging will still be legible. They can be readily hung with screws/bolts on the outside or inside of your building, running through grommet holes.
- Suction Cup Window Signs. Looking to get simple messaging (i.e. “open/closed” or store hours) across to potential patrons? You can hang engraved or printed signs from a suction cup (with a hook) from inside your window. This is a really elegant looking solution that will work regardless of the temperature!
- Static Cling/Removable Window Graphics. Note: these should really only be applied from the interior (facing out) side of the window. You may run into these peeling slightly, but the investment is much less than actual vinyl and if you need to have it replaced at a later date, it’s less daunting a concern.
- Custom Sign Solutions. We pride ourselves on our ability to produce custom solutions for virtually any need. Feel free to reach out to 701-526-3835 for other ideas!
As the cold comes upon us, don’t let it ruin your hopes for producing state-of-the-art signs in time for winter! Whether it’s a matter of taking the risk of having warranty-free vinyl added, or you’d like to try some of our alternate solutions, we’d be happy to have the opportunity to produce your next signs. Call us today to work with one of our talented team members!
Written By: Jack Yakowicz
Contact at: firstname.lastname@example.org