How Long Should My Sign Last?

The lifespan of a sign is versatile and varied, depending on its use and your preference! Some customers want a permanent storefront sign that will withstand the sun and elements for years, while others may only need a vibrant banner for a one-weekend event. 

So, how long should your sign last? The answer is as individual as your order. 

How Long Will My Sign Last? 

To make a long answer short: it depends. This is not a marketing tactic or a way to avoid answering your question—there truly are a number of factors that determine the lifetime of a sign or banner! Here are just a few factors to consider:

Is the sign painted, printed, or made from cut vinyl?

Dimensional letters and logos are usually painted with a durable, UV resistant finish that will last for many years. Some even come with a lifetime guarantee. 

Flat, two dimensional signs are usually printed or made from contour cut, adhesive backed sign vinyl. There are two main types of vinyl on the market today: cast and calendered. Calendered vinyl is rolled out from solid form until it is a few millimeters thick. Cast vinyl is created from a liquid pour. Cast vinyl is often referred to as “high-performance” vinyl. It has a higher price point, but also provides nearly double the lifespan of calendered vinyl in many situations.

Printing is a great choice for intricate logos or multicolored designs. However, ink fades faster than solid-colored vinyl, so keep in mind that your printed signs may need to be replaced more often than a solid vinyl sign would. Inks used for printed signs are UV stable and can last up to three years unlaminated and may last twice as long with a quality laminate.  

The substrate

The substrate, or base material that the image is printed on or vinyl letters applied to, varies, depending on how the sign is being used and how long it needs to last. When we first started our business almost all signs were made from vinyl letters cut with a plotter from rolls of adhesive backed vinyl,which were then applied to the substrate with transfer tape. 

Thankfully, the signage industry has come a long way! Even though we still make many signs using cut vinyl letters,  we make most of our signs by printing directly to the substrate.

Common sign substrates include: 

  • PVC/Coroplast — best for indoor or short term outdoor use. 
  • Acrylic — best for backlit outdoor signs. 
  • Aluminum or Aluminum Composite Material (ACM) — best for long-lasting signs. 

For example, a printed Coroplast sign might last a few months in a particular location, while an aluminum sign with high-performance cast vinyl could last for many years. The type of sign you should choose depends on your preferences and needs.  


Sun is the top factor in a sign’s lifespan. Western-facing signs fade the fastest, so if you can choose your sign’s location (or at least its direction), consider north, south, or east-facing signage. If direct sunlight is a concern, ask about our metal exterior sign options!

How to Prolong the Life of Your Vinyl Sign or Banner

Want to prolong the life of your vinyl sign or banner? These three tips can help. 

1. Choose quality materials. 

If you’re looking for a short-term option, we’d be happy to talk you through our most affordable sign solutions. But if you’re hoping for a l sign that stands the test of time, opting for materials that are designed to last can really make a difference. We like to think in terms of value instead of cost. 

While your initial price may be higher for top-quality materials, your value over time will actually be better, because you won’t need to replace it nearly as often! 

2. Use good transportation habits. 

Buying a sign that you want to use again next weekend — or even next year? Temporary banners are reusable many times, depending on care and use! When you pack up your banner, remember to roll instead of fold. 

This keeps your sign from getting permanently creased, which can eventually cause weakness. For the best results of all, get a tube to transport your banner from place to place.

3. Consider your location.

Today’s signs are made to last, but placement can greatly affect your sign’s lifespan! Remember that western-facing signs receive the brightest and harshest sunlight, and elevated or open spaces face higher winds. Placing your sign with these factors in mind could extend its life significantly. 

Your Custom Sign and Banner Solution

No matter what kind of sign or banner you need, Optima Signs & Graphics is here to help. Our team has decades of experience in helping customers create signs that last, and our on-site design team can bring your logo and your vision to life. 

We provide fast turnaround times, with same-week delivery for many vinyl banners and signs. And if you’re looking for even more signage options, we aim to be your one-stop shop! Ask us about our vehicle wraps, window graphics, custom decals and labels, and more. 

We love creating unique products and solutions, both locally in Georgia and across the country. Start your next project with Optima today

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