What Substrate Should I Use For My Sign? – Municipal Supply & Sign Co.
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What Substrate Should I Use For My Sign?

What Substrate Should I Use For My Sign?

The sign industry is nothing if it is not versatile.  We can make signs using a wide variety of substrates to achieve the look and durability to optimize a particular sign and budget.  In full disclosure, Municipal Supply & Sign Company has a sister company, Signarama of Naples.  Now you know why we can service any signage need.  Let’s look at some choices.

Aluminum Signs

Aluminum signs are a favorite of Municipal Supply.  We began life in the traffic industry making signs for use all over this country and internationally. Aluminum signs are lightweight, durable and strong.  They provide many years of service.  Think about it, Municipal offers 12 – 14 year guarantee on some of its better signs fabricated with 3M sheeting.   We use US based aluminum in 4 different thicknesses to perfectly match the requirements of each individual need.
  • The .125 gauge is for large and exposed sign projects;
  • The .080 gauge is the favorite of the traffic industry due to the blend of strength but reasonable weight;
  • The .063 gauge is for smaller projects such as parking lot signs and other lower speed areas.
  • The .040 gauge is used for interior signage and signs that are being placed within a frame.

Our aluminum is alodined, which allows it to be both painted and avoid any discoloration.  Aluminum is a favored substrate as it is only 1/3 the weight of steel and is easily recycled.

Aluminum Composite

Aluminum composite goes by many trade names such as MaxMetal, DiBond, etc. It is made of two thin pieces of aluminum joined by a polyethylene plastic core.  It shares the important characteristics of aluminum such as light weight (much lighter), durable and weather proof. Due to its light weight, it is more friendly to the interior and also suitable for longer term outside signage. The sign should be in a protected area or where traffic flow is light as it can easily be dented.


These are the showpiece signs generally used indoors in offices, lobby displays, and anywhere a modern, polished and finished look is preferred. The sign is usually mounted behind the acrylic face so it remains very protected in high traffic areas and can be backlit to enhance the sign further.


This type of sign is generally used for short lived projects such as promotional events, political signs, lawn signs, sales and contractor signs. The reason: very cost effective and looks good from a distance. 


This is a versatile product. It is very lightweight yet rigid and durable. Sign life is generally considered to be medium term. Great for interior signage and can be used outside where temperatures are not extreme. You will see these signs used at tradeshows, at stores for point of purchase and in offices.

Gator Board

Gator board is an enhancement to a foam board (a paper product). It is much stronger but weighs about the same. Gator Board is a melamine and wood fiber veneer with a polystyrene fill. Gator Board has a much harder outer surface than other foam core boards and resists warping. This is a very durable product and is also used as a backing for permanent signs.  Use outside should be limited so check with us.

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