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Sign Posts : Frequently Asked Questions & Installation Safety Guidelines

Q. What exactly are signposts?

A.
Sign posts are pole-like structures used to mount signs. Signposts help you display signs which can be informational, directional, regulatory, or identificational. Posts are useful for areas where a mounting surface is unavailable. Signs posts are necessary to make your signs more noticeable. Mounting signs on a post gives them height and more visibility to the message on the sign from a distance. Sign posts are mostly made of steel or wood. Plastic sign posts have also become popular these days because they are lightweight. For smaller signs, both posts metal and wood posts will do the job. But for larger signs, metal posts would provide a lot more strength and support. Metal sign posts can be round, U-channel, I-beam, or square tubes, and are either galvanized or ungalvanized.

Q. How to safely attach a sign to a post?

A.
For U-channel posts:
Mounting a sign on the correct side of the “U” is very important. It is recommended that you mount the sign on the open end of the U because on the other side (bottom of the U), the signs can bend when pressure is applied. Have someone assist you to hold the sign in place while you put your bolt through the washer first, then the pre-drilled hole on the sign, and then one of the holes in the post. On the other end of the post, insert the second washer and screw on the nut. Repeat the same steps for the bottom of the sign. Now use wrenches to tighten the bolt and the nut, and you’re done.
For round posts:
Use sign mounting brackets. Attach the bar side of the bracket to the back of the sign by placing the bolt through the inside of the bracket and then through the back. Place the locking washer and nut on the bolt and tighten to secure the sign. Take the sign with the bar portion of the bracket attached, and place the semicircle portion against the round sign post. While holding the sign and bracket in place, attach the second half of the top bracket, and use the bolt, lock washer and nut to secure the sign. Loosen the bolts, adjust the mounting height of the sign and tighten the bolts.
Signs greater than 48 inches wide should be mounted on two posts for maximum stability. Always be careful of the sharp edges of a metal sign while installing the sign onto the post.

Q. How to correctly install sign posts?

A.
Choose a location where there are no trees or bushes which can obscure the sign from view. See that there are no underground utility lines at the desired location. Mark the spot where you’re going to install the post with spray paint.
Sufficiently dig the sign post into the ground so that the assembly is stable for years.
You can simply use a sledge hammer to tap the post so it goes into the ground. For a safer installation, climb on a ladder or the stand on the back of a pickup truck to do this. A post pounder is a helpful tool in driving your post into the ground. Just lift and drop the pounder over top of your post. The post fits into the hollow pounder that has an open end. Check whether the post is straight with a level.

Q. What are the common mistakes to avoid while installing sign posts?

A.
Some of the most common mistakes while installing sign posts are listed below.
Using Incorrect Size
Metal signs are expensive and therefore many people try managing with a lightweight post. The fact that lightweight posts measuring 1.12 lbs/ft. can hold only lighter delineators or property signs, is often ignored. However, for heavy-duty parking signs, it’s best to use at least a 2 lb. per feet u-channel posts, which will be a much more rugged and long lasting option.
Incorrect Depth
Not digging the post deep enough can cause the post to bend with strong winds and pressure. In normal conditions, sign posts should be installed at depths of 2-3 feet into the ground. In cement though, the depth can be around 1 to 2 feet. Always remember, "The bigger the sign, the deeper it will go into the ground."
Wrong Side of Sign Posting
Always install the sign on the correct side of a U-channel post, i.e. over the open end of the U and not the base of the U. This gives more stability to the sign.

Q. How to maintain metal sign posts?

A.
Careful inspection of sign posts should be carried out at regular intervals to make sure damaged or broken posts are identified and replaced. If a sign post is leaning, it means it is no longer stabilized in the ground or not properly attached to the slip base.
Our galvanized steel posts are maintenance-free and offer superior corrosion protection lasting at least 50+ years. The zinc coating on the galvanized steel post corrodes at a very slow rate.

Q. Does MUTCD recommend any particular sign posts?

A.
According to MUTCD, Sign posts, foundations, and mountings shall be constructed to hold signs in a proper and permanent position, and to resist swaying in the wind or displacement by vandalism. Ground-mounted sign posts shall be breakaway, yielding, or shielded with a longitudinal barrier or crash cushion if within the clear zone. MUTCD states that “where large signs having an area exceeding 50 square feet are installed on multiple breakaway posts, the clearance from the ground to the bottom of the sign shall be at least 7 feet.

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