How long do signs last for?

Mark Woolmer

When ordering a sign, the length of time a sign lasts can often be an afterthought. It’s easy to get caught up in the interesting aspects of sign production including the design, messaging, branding and even the placement of the sign.

If you’re looking to install an outdoor sign, one of your key considerations should be the length of time that the sign will be in situ for. This will influence the type of material you need. We understand that outdoor signs are an investment, and you want to make sure you and your customers/attendees can enjoy the sign as long as needed. With that in mind, we break down the lifespans of three common types of outdoor signs: recycled plastic, wooden, and metal.

Recycled Plastic Signs

These signs are made from, you guessed it, recycled plastic. They’re a great choice for those who want to be eco-friendly, as they’re made from materials that would otherwise end up in a landfill. Recycled plastic signs are also durable and weather-resistant, making them a great option for outdoor use. We’ve created recycled plastic signs that can last up to 25 years due to the type of material used – a pretty impressive lifespan! You can see our recycled plastic signs here. 

View some examples of our recycled plastic signage: 

Recycled Plastic Interpretation Lectern
Recycled Plastic Interpretation Lectern


Wooden Signs

Wooden signs have a certain earthy charm that can add a lot of character to your site or outdoor space. They can be classy and modern as well as wholesome and rustic – especially if you opt for oak signage. However, they may not last as long as their recycled plastic or metal alternatives.

As is common in all wood products, wood can warp, crack, and rot over time, especially if it’s exposed to moisture or not treated properly. That being said, if you take good care of your wooden sign and protect it from the elements, the lifespan can be significantly extended. We’ve installed well-maintained wooden signs that have lasted upwards of 10 years!

View some examples of our wooden signage here: 

Bowman Combination Petersham Common
Bowman Combination Petersham Common

Metal Signs

Metal signs are a popular choice for those looking for a robust, classic look, as they can be very eye-catching. However, as you’ve probably guessed, they offer high levels of durability too and they’re also relatively easy to maintain.

The lifespan of a metal sign can vary significantly depending on the type of metal it’s made from and how the metal is treated. Aluminium signs, for example, can last for up to 10 years, while stainless steel signs can last upwards of 100 years! We have metal signs in situ that have stood the test of time and still look great today.

View some examples of our metal signs:

Interpretation Display Staunton
Interpretation Display Staunton


Signage Lifespan summarised:

Material Lifespan
Recycled plastic Up to 25 years
Wood Up to 10 years
Aluminum Up to 10 years
Stainless steel Up to 100 years

What can affect the lifespan of a sign?

Of course, these are just rough estimates, and the actual lifespan of your outdoor sign will depend on a variety of factors, such as the quality of the materials, the weather conditions in your area, and how well you take care of it. Typically, the lifespan of your sign is affected by:

  • Exposure to the elements: Outdoor signs are exposed to sunlight, rain, wind, and other weather conditions, which can cause them to fade, warp, crack, or rust over time.
  • Quality of materials: The quality of the materials used to make the sign can also affect its lifespan. Signs made from high-quality materials are likely to last longer than those made from cheaper or lower-quality materials.
  • Maintenance: If you skip regular maintenance, such as cleaning, painting, and repairs – the lifespan of your sign will suffer. Neglecting to maintain a sign will, of course, cause it to deteriorate more quickly.
  • Location: Where will your sign be located? Near the sea or in the City? Signs located in areas with high levels of pollution, salt air, or other harsh environmental conditions may deteriorate more quickly than those located in more sheltered or protected areas.
  • Type of use: Signs that are subjected to frequent or heavy use, such as those on busy highways or in heavily trafficked areas, may deteriorate more quickly than those that are used less frequently or in quieter areas.
  • Installation: Proper installation of a sign is also important for its lifespan. When we attend sites, we often find that signs that have not been installed correctly or securely have been subject to warping, cracking, or falling over, which causes damage over time and reduces their effectiveness.
  • Vandalism: Is your sign likely to be subject to vandalism? Vandalism, such as graffiti, scratches, or physical damage, can not only decrease the lifespan of a sign but also lead to premature replacement of the sign if it’s no longer able to do its job! A good signage company will install vandal resistant features that can help protect your outdoor sign such as protective coatings and tamper resistant fixings.

How does Fitzpatrick Woolmer extend the life of a sign?

We’ve been producing quality signage for over 25 years and learnt a thing or two about increasing the lifespan of our signage so that our customers are 100% satisfied that it will be fit for purpose. Here’s how we extend the life of our signs:

  • Preservative finish – we treat our signs with a preservative finish designed to extend the life of your sign.
  • Anti-vandal features – Our signs are equipped with vandal-resistant features to prevent damage.
  • Quality craftsmanship – our sign makers have years of experience and know how to make a robust, quality product.
  • A range of materials – we offer all three materials as explained above and will advise on the correct material for your project and needs.

We hope this article has given you a better idea of what to expect when it comes to the lifespan of outdoor signs. If you need any assistance for your next signage project, get in touch with us on 01634 711771. 

Mark Woolmer

Mark Woolmer

With a strong background in art and design, Mark is passionate about the capacity for excellent design as a communication tool, leading the Fitzpatrick Woolmer company and focusing on strategy, business development and continual improvement.

Get a Quote

Get a Quote