Benefits of Different Sign Substrates

The sign substrates you use for your project can have a major impact on the quality of your final product. While vinyl is the most common option, polyester and polycarbonate are also relatively common, and they’re better suited to certain applications than vinyl. To help you choose the right sign substrate, here is an explanation of the benefits of these three types.

Benefits of Sign Substrates


Sign Substrates
Vinyl Sign Substrates

Vinyl is the most common and cost effective material for sign making. Vinyl is flexible, durable and appropriate for both indoor and outdoor applications. It adheres to nearly any surface, including concave and convex surfaces. Vinyl is available in several thicknesses and colors, and there are even special types of vinyl – like glitter vinyl – on the market. The downside to vinyl is that it tears easier than some other substrates, and it isn’t resistant to chemicals.


Polyester is an excellent substrate for projects that require a bit more durability. It’s lightweight but resists tears better than vinyl. Polyester does not shrink as it ages, and because it is chemical, solvent and oil resistant, it works well in numerous environments. It’s ideal for outdoor use as well because it can withstand damp and humid conditions.


When strength and durability are your top concerns, choose polycarbonate. Polycarbonate offers a high-end look that is scratch-resistant, lightweight and incredibly strong. It’s commonly used indoors, but there are also options for outdoor polycarbonate applications.

Choosing the right substrate is an important step in any sign making project. Vinyl is the most flexible and cost-effective solution, but it isn’t the strongest. If your sign will be exposed to harsh weather, chemicals, oil or gasoline, you may want to consider using polyester or polycarbonate instead. Understanding the differences and choosing the right material ensures a successful project and long-lasting sign.

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