My dad is a do-it-yourselfer. Too proud to admit when he needed help, and too fiscally conservative to hire out a contractor, almost every project around our house growing up was completed by my father himself. From building the fence around our backyard, to painting the ceiling in our porch and installing replacement shingles on our roof, my dad preferred to get the job done on his own. Here at Office Sign Company, many of our customers have a similar mindset: they are a group of do-it-yourself signage installers. Operating as an e-commerce company, many of our customers rely on installing vinyl and signage that they purchase from us on their own. Although we are happy to install local orders ourselves, and are more than willing to contract out installation work for orders in other parts of the country, what we have found is that many customers like to take on the task of installing vinyl or office signage on their own. DIY sign installation is cost-effective and a great way to learn the trade–however, if done incorrectly, it can be more burdensome than you could imagine.
That being said, I wanted to make a post in honor of the DIYers. After speaking with our production manager at Office Sign Company, an individual who has compiled over 23 years of experience in the sign industry and has been involved in a countless number of installations, we were able to compile a list of tips for do-it-yourself signage installation. So if you are gearing up for your own vinyl installation, or interior signage installation, take into account these tricks of the trade!
- Tip #1: Clean Your Surface. One of the first steps to installing your vinyl is making sure that you have a cleaned surface. A variety of window cleaners should work okay with this task, but we use Rapid Prep to get our windows/glass prepared for install. Wipe the glass clean with a paper towel to ensure that all of your excess residue is removed, and that your glass is squeaky clean. If you do not clean your surface entirely, you may get dust, smudges, etc. that tamper the appearance of your finished good. A thorough glass washing should take care of most of that.
- Tip #2: Temperature Matters. If your glass surface is too hot, vinyl material will get gooey and may appear disfigured. If your glass surface is too cold, vinyl material will get brittle and won’t stick as well. When dealing with interior vinyl installs, you really shouldn’t face too many issues. However, if you are in a warmer climate with hot summer temperatures, or a frozen tundra like us in Fargo, North Dakota, you may experience difficulties with your vinyl installation. The ideal range for your adhesive to be installed is a minimum of 50 degrees Fahrenheit and a maximum of 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep this in mind when going to install exterior vinyl.
- Tip #3: Be Careful With Placement and Masking. Center your vinyl before removing the mask. This is crucial, as you would hate to risk having an unprofessional looking graphic on your glass or window. Make sure the distance from the edge of the glass to the left side of your vinyl is equidistant to the opposite edge of the glass and the right side of your vinyl. Do the same for the top and bottom. Centering your vinyl is imperative before unmasking. Ok, so you’ve got your vinyl placed on the glass–now its time to unmask. Make sure that you do not damage any of your lettering/design when you cut off the masking on the back of the vinyl. With the masking on the front of the vinyl, ensure that you remove at an angle (pulling the masking away from the vinyl and back at a 45 degree angle). Watch the video below to see how our production manager installed an etched vinyl on glass.
Want to see how the masters handle it? Here is a video of an installation that we did this past summer. After we were awarded Fargo’s “Best Small Business” honors, we put up some new window perf vinyl on our building’s streetside windows. Check out this time lapse video of how it was done:
- Tip #1: Prepare Your Wall. Just like you must prepare your windows and glass surfaces for a vinyl install, you also want to make sure that your wall is ready for sign installs. Proper wall preparation not only encompasses the wiping and (if necessary) washing of one’s wall, but also making sure no nails, screws, or peeling are evident. Furthermore, understand the surface of your wall to make sure that you are choosing the right mounting option for you. Proper installation will, in part, depend upon the type of mount that you choose to do.
- Screw Mounting: this is one of the more popular mounts depending on the surface of your wall, and the appearance that you are going for. For brick, stone, and other surfaces that may be uneven, a screw mount is a very popular option. The type of surface will also determine the type of anchor you will want to use for your screw mount. With any questions regarding this, contact us.
- Tape Mounting: the more common route for the DIY sign installer is the double-sided foam tape mount. Double-sided foam tape, a.k.a. “VHB tape” is easy to apply and works great with sheetrock and a variety of other smooth surfaces. The one thing to note with this adhesive is how strong it is. Beware that if you choose to remove this sign, you may risk peeling off wallpaper/paint in the process.
- Tip #2: Treat Your Sign Like a Baby. You should treat your sign the way you want to be treated. What other cliches can I throw in here? Seriously though, you really only have one shot to get your install perfect. The worst thing you can do when installing your sign is damage it–most sign companies will not warranty a sign that was improperly installed by its end user. Make sure good care is taken of your sign from the unboxing to the installation. Some sign materials are more durable than others, but regardless, you should handle with care. You really do not get a re-do; if you improperly install the sign, it is hard to remove it from the wall and try again without either damaging the wall or the sign, itself. That being said, treat your sign with care throughout the installation process.
- Tip #3: Keep it Level and Center. “Level” and “center” are two of the most important words when it comes to sign installation. Similar to the vinyl, you want to ensure that your sign is centered by making sure it is equidistant from the edge of the wall to the sign on top, bottom, left, and right. Level tools are certainly helpful to bring along in your installation bucket as well. Note that where you choose to place your sign is entirely your own decision. If you have a table against the wall you want your sign installed, for example, you might choose to have it centered from the top of the table to the top of the wall, rather than from the bottom of the wall to the top of the wall. Also, if your wall is slanted or not level, you may choose to install your sign in a similar fashion. Ultimately, the DIY installation process is up to you. But as far as having an aesthetically pleasing sign, you should keep centering and leveling in mind.
There are many different types of interior signs that you will be looking to install on your wall. Each sign operates slightly differently. Here is a quick time lapse video of a dimensional letter install that we did for Halvorson Company. Check it out to see how our process looks!
As always, if you have any questions regarding installation you can feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 701-526-3835. You can also connect with us on social media by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter, adding us on Google+, or subscribing to our Instagram.
Written By: Jack Yakowicz
Account Manager at Office Sign Company
Contact at email@example.com