Mounting HDU Signs – Did You Know?

Did you know that Precision Board HDU is very effective for creating dimensional signs due to its long exterior life and ease of use?  Due to its closed-cell structure, high density urethane must be treated differently than wood. Unlike wood, Precision Board has no grain, cuts easier, sandblasts and routs faster and smoother and carves quicker with less effort and wear on the carver. It also does not absorb moisture, rot or warp.  This cell structure, however, requires special consideration when mounting and attaching a sign. Here are some tips and tricks specific to HDU signs.

1. Signs Mounted Directly to the Building Wall

Flat mounting directly to the wall is best accomplished using studs as hangers. The first step is to put the studs into the wall. Concrete nails work well in masonry walls as do galvanized nails into wood walls. After the studs have been installed the sign should be leveled and pushed back onto the studs with enough force to cause a small locating indent at each stud. Be careful not to damage the sign. Using these indents for proper hole location, drill a hole about 2 times larger in diameter than the stud. Depth of hole to be about 1/4″ deeper than attachment. Fill the holes with silicone caulking and slide the sign over the studs. Verify sign is still square, support as necessary, and let cure overnight before disturbing. Leaving the heads on the studs allows the silicone to grip the sign and keep it from being pulled off the wall during high winds. The silicone maintains a strong yet flexible attachment that allows for any wall movement. This type of installation also keeps from having to drill and repair attachment holes through the sign face.

2. Hanging Signs

Do not attach a weight bearing screw or bolt directly into high density urethane. Because urethane has a cellular structure and doesn’t have grain, any weight bearing screw or bolt must have extra support around the threads. Hanging signs are typically hung from eye bolts that are either screwed directly into the sign or that are welded onto the supporting steel framework that is screwed into the periphery of the sign. Attaching eye bolts or weight bearing screws into urethane should be done by drilling a hole about 2 times larger in diameter than the shank of the screw and about 1/4″ deeper than length. Fill this hole with a structural 2 part epoxy, such as EP-76 and insert the eye almost flush with the surface.

Need help keeping the fastener in the center of the hole and at the right height? We’ve got you covered.

No, this is not a Rube Goldberg invention, but it will keep your fastener centered and at the right height while the epoxy dries.  Give us a call and we would be happy to send you one of these contraptions to try out for yourself!

Excess epoxy can be smoothed around the eye with any suitable tool dipped in mineral spirits. The epoxy holds the threads of the fastener and greatly increases the holding surface around the inside of the hole. This makes the fastener able to take much more load and eliminates the loosening effects caused by expansion and contraction of the fastener.

3. Strengthening Wide Expanses of High Density Urethane 

Because urethane does not have grain, it also has less beam strength than wood. Wide, unsupported, expanses need to take this into consideration. This situation can be addressed in several ways depending on the design of the sign and the unsupported expanses.

Three possibilities are:

1. Add a metal band around the periphery of the sign and attach it as mentioned above.

2. Add a metal extrusion in the shape of a T along the entire bottom edge of the sign. A slot is cut up into the bottom side of the sign that is a 1/4″ wider and deeper than the leg of the T. This slot is then filled with a strong, hard, two part epoxy, like EP-76, and the T inserted into it. The excess epoxy squeezed out of the slot welds the other two legs of the T to the bottom edge of the sign adding rigidity without any visual impact.

3. Bond urethane sheets to a center sheet of exterior grade plywood, Dibond or equivalent. Make sure that the bonding adhesive is waterproof (i.e. PB Bond 240 or PB Fast Set). Call us for bonding tips.

Get in touch to request free samples of Precision Board HDU, get a quote or talk to our technical support team for more information. We really like to hear from you!