Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What are the advantages and disadvantages of HDU signs compared to Redwood or Cedar signs?
HDU (High Density Urethane) signs last longer and require less annual maintenance than Redwood or Cedar signs. It is a rigid, closed-cell, lightweight formulation of urethane, and typically weighs 15 to 18 lb per cubic foot. It is completely waterproof.It can be sandblasted, routed, carved, sanded, or machined. It will not crack, twist or curl after long exterior exposure, making it the ideal replacement for wood signs.It is made specifically for the sign industry. There are several manufacturers. We now use Precision Board, but two other manufacturers also make a high-quality product. Precision Board comes in 4 ft by 8 ft sheets that vary from 1 inch to 3 inches thick. HDU is lighter than wood, and a disadvantage is that it is not as rugged as wood and more susceptible to deliberate damage.However, we coat all our HDU signs with an epoxy resin fiberglass type coating, which provides a harder surface that resists scratches and dents.
The advantages of Redwood and Cedar are the natural beauty of the wood grain when it is varnished or stained. This cannot be duplicated by HDU.It is also more rugged, but does requires revarnishing or repainting every two or three years.Even then, it may split or crack, especially for large signs subject to freezing and thawing. Even though we use the finest all clear heart (no sapwood)kiln-dried Redwood, which is amazingly impervious to rot and splitting, it must be maintained through periodic painting or varnishing.
If you want a sign that is completely painted with oil enamels, we recommend HDU (Product Lines 1 and 2). If you want to stain or varnish your sign and give it a natural look, then you cannot select HDU, but must select Redwood or Cedar. Redwood has a more pronounced grain structure when sandblasted, so has a more dramatic look. cedar has more of a low-key look.