How to Choose the Right Sign Material for Work Environment

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Your safety signs are meant to convey a message, but that message gets lost when the sign is damaged, chipped, or faded. 

An ineffective sign could mean that an employee enters a dangerous confined space without the proper PPE, touches a high-voltage electric fence, turns the corner, and runs into forklift traffic. Not only would you be facing a costly OSHA fine with an illegible sign, but you could seriously injure an employee or cause a fatal accident. 

That’s why choosing the right material for your sign is almost as crucial as getting the message right. As your supplier of choice, we offer various sign materials for every environment. But identifying the appropriate material for your needs can be a challenge. 

Several environmental conditions dictate which material is right for you. Will your sign be out in the sun? Will it be exposed to extreme temperatures or salt water? How flexible does it need to be, and what are the chances of machinery coming into contact with it? Will it be used for a short period, or are you hoping to have this sign for the long haul? These are just a few questions to ask yourself when trying to find the right material for your sign. 

Though the experts at AccuformNMC are always on-hand to answer your questions or match the material to your work environment, this quick guide should help you get started. 

The best materials for the harshest environments 

These materials are the toughest of the tough. They will hold up under direct sunlight, chemical exposure, high-pressure washdowns, and even industrial impacts. If you need a durable sign that can withstand even the most extreme conditions, go with Reflecta-Shield, aluminum, Dura-Plastic™, Dura-Fiberglass™, Adhesive Dura-Vinyl™, Aluma-Lite™, or a polycarbonate material like Accu-Shield™ or Accu-Shield™ FB-X. 

The best materials for cold environments  

Conversely, not every material can hold up under freezing conditions—significantly when the temperatures drop to extreme levels. Plastic Plus, Accu-Shield™, and Ultra Aluma-Lite are ideal for the coldest environments, and these signs will continue to promote your message in temperatures as low as -90°F. If you work in snow cleanup, sanitation, or food processing plants, look no further than these ice-cold finds.  

The best materials for wet environments  

If you choose the wrong material for a sign that’s subject to frequent washdowns or not rated for wet environments, your message will fade fast. Rather than continually replacing your signs, opt for a material that can endure repeated washdowns. Though you should always check the material's rating before making your final decision, most materials will hold up in wet environments except Dura-Shield™, Plastic Plus, and Adhesive Vinyl. 

The best materials for offices 

Your office signs might not encounter any harsh conditions—other than criticism if they’re dated—but you should still be smart about choosing the right material. Protect your budget by opting for a long-lasting material that doesn’t have the bells and whistles of more durable material. Dura-Shield™, plastic, and vinyl are perfect for office walls.  

The best materials for warehouses 

Warehouses contain a lot of equipment that’s constantly moving, so your signs need to withstand chips, scratches, abrasions, and cracking should it get knocked by a forklift. For that, you’ll need a tough, impact-resistant material like Diamond Plate Aluminum, Dura-Plastic™, or aluminum.  

For a more in-depth look at available materials, download our extended sign material guide. If you’re trying to order a specific sign but the material you want isn’t available online, place a custom quote request by contacting our dedicated customer service team at to get the sign that meets your exact needs. 

AccuformNMC is a leader in sign customization. With our Personalize It! customization services, you can build a sign from scratch or personalize any of our existing symptoms in any way you want. There are no minimum quantities for custom orders, no set-up fees, and unlimited design options. And most can be shipped within 72 hours, so you can get the signs you need when you need them. 

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