Sign Damage | Minimizing Effects of Vandalism

A common question we receive regarding new sign products is how well they hold up to vandalism. This is a frequent question regardless of the sign product the customer is interested in. The good news is vandalism is extremely rare. We have been selling sign and advertising products in Lawrence for the last five years and in that time I can count on less than 2 hands instances of blatant and purposeful vandalism. However, occasionally it will happen, and if vandalism does occur it is good to know that there are sign products which can deter vandals and minimize some of the clean up process.

The Difficult Life of a Parking Sign

Among the most common targets of vandalism are “No Parking” and “Reserved Parking” signs. These signs are normally 12” wide by 18” tall and are placed on U-channel posts, wooden posts, or against walls. Parking signs live a rough life. They are often in low lit areas with little pedestrian traffic. Another factor contributing to sign vandalism is that No Parking signs often reference towing. Someone who parks illegally and has their vehicle towed often take out frustration on the innocent parking sign. Parking signs are inviting targets for punches.


Vandal Proof Sign Hardware

We offer one way bolts and breakaway nuts which make it impossible for a sign to be removed without a specialized tool or a mechanical grinder. The one way bolts work by allowing the bolt to be torqued in a clockwise tightening direction, but the head is filed down and smooth on the opposite side of the head, which doesn’t allow a screwdriver to grab when turning counter clockwise. In short, the bolt can be tightened, but not untightened. One way bolts work exceptionally well when paired with break away nuts. The break away nuts feature a 2 piece design which is lightly connected, once force is applied the hexagon piece breaks away leaving only the smooth conical shape. It is difficult to grab the conical shape with pliers or a wrench, which deters vandals from removing the sign hardware. The only way to remove the signs would be with a power tool grinder, and if you vandals are using those, you have bigger problems than some parking signs theft!


Heavy Duty Metal Signs

Another factor that helps aid against vandalism is using a heavy 080 gauge aluminum sign blank for parking signs as this material is much thicker than a cheap aluminum or plastic sign. While thinner materials can be bent or broken easily, the 080 aluminum is very difficult to bend for anyone not named Arnold Schwarzenegger.

More information on heavy duty parking signs.

Graphic Protection | We’ve Got You Covered!

The final element of a vandal resistant parking sign is an anti-graffiti laminate film. 3M 8991 Anti-Graffiti Overlaminate is the option we look to first. It allows paints and markers to be easily wiped clean from the sign graphic surface. Most mild cleaners can be added to a rag and then the graffiti will easily wipe clean. Voila! Your sign is brand new again.

If you have a sign that has painted graphics rather than printed or vinyl graphics then you can use Rapid Remover. Most sign shops use Rapid Remover to strip adhesive residue off of older troublesome graphics. However, by placing a little on a rag you can also remove graffiti, markers and paints from sign faces. Let the Rapid Remover penetrate for a few seconds and then wipe clean with a rag, you may need to repeat this process a few times. After the majority of the paint or marker is removed, you can wipe clean with isopropyl alcohol. This method will only work if they graffiti is fairly recent, so get to it as soon as you can, and you should always spot test before applying large amounts.

Have specific questions? We’re happy to discuss and make recommendations!

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