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All About Substrates

There are several different substrates you can choose from when designing a sign. Each material has advantages and disadvantages depending on the application. The following chart and descriptions should help guide you in the right direction when choosing a sign substrate. If you find that you are still struggling, no problem! Our staff is only a phone call away, and they are here to help you make the most appropriate choice for your project.


Vertical grain Western Red Cedar is ideal for blasting and carving. It is naturally insect repellant, and is durable to moisture and rot. It is well suited for outdoor applications when maintained properly.


High Density Urethane is a lightweight closed cell foam product ideal for blasting, carving and sculpting. Large signs may require additional support for added rigidity. HDU is a cost effective option if Cedar is too expensive for your budget.


Aluminum is most ideal for one-dimensional modern and durable applications. It is very strong, versatile, and does well outdoors.

Aluminum Composite

Aluminum Composite is 2 pieces of aluminum sheeting that sandwiches a plastic core. It is most ideal for one-dimensional signage where aluminum is too expensive. It is very cost effective, and the least labor-intensive substrate we offer.


MDO (medium density overlay) is a multi-layer laminate. It is primarily used for temporary construction signs as it does not sustain any type of longevity. It is easily weathered, and does not do ideally in outdoor elements.

Wood Composite

Solid wood composite is chemically treated to resist moisture, rot, and insects. It is the most labor-intensive substrate we offer due to its low workability. It is most ideal for blasting and carving.