How To Extend The Life of Fabric Signs & Banners
Best Practices for Extending the Life of
Fabric Signs and Banners
Knowing how to take proper care of custom-printed fabric signs and banners benefits both sign and banner creators and their end users. In addition to saving the end user money, taking proper care to store, clean, and repair fabric signs and banners ensures they last as long as possible and maintain their integrity and look throughout their life and use.
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Popular Uses of Fabric Signs and Banners
Almost every industry makes use of fabric signs and banners. Utilized for a wide variety of commercial and high-end purposes, many fabric signs and banners are employed to assist in marketing efforts — think: trade show banners, outdoor signs announcing the opening of a new business, etc. — but countless more uses exist, including:
- Hanging Banners
- Pole Banners
- And more
Regardless of what your clients need them for, educating the end user on how to best take care of their custom fabric banners and signs will reflect well on your work for years to come. While it’s true that some custom-printed signs and banners may only be needed for a short time, for those that are intended for long-term use, here are best practices for making sure they last and look great for as long as possible.
Basics of Care for Custom-Printed
Fabric Signs and Banners
When it comes to basic care to extend the life and look of fabric signs and banners, there are a handful of agreed-upon practices that will benefit signs and banners used both indoors and outdoors.
- Keep Banners and Signs Taut
First, it’s important to keep banners and signs taut. Whether designed with pole pockets and attached to poles or fastened via grommets and rope, bungee, or zip ties to a wall, awning or other structure, a tight sign will endure wind and other potential damage-causing events better.
- Keep Banners and Signs Clean
Regardless of whether signs and banners are indoors or outdoors, maintaining a clean, grit- and debris-free surface will greatly help in extending appearance and longevity. Cleaning recommendations for different fabric types, including vinyl, acrylic-coated polyester, Sunbrella, and more can be found below under How to Clean Fabric Banners and Signs.
Caring for Indoor Vs. Outdoor
Fabric Signs and Banners
It’s important to realize that where fabric signs and banners are hung, placed, and utilized will have an outsized effect on how effective long-term, proper care will be. Indoor fabric banners and signs, if hung, cleaned, and stored properly, can last for decades without visible degradation, because indoor signs and banners are not exposed to the elements (e.g. UV rays, rain, ocean spray, snow and ice, temperature fluctuations, etc.) at all.
Outdoor fabric banners and signs can still last and maintain their look, but even more so than with indoor signs, keeping them clean must be a priority. However, fabric choice is probably the most important aspect of extending the life of an outdoor sign or banner. If you are designing and creating custom-printed banners and signs that will be used outside, consider using Sunbrella fabric.
- The Benefits of Sunbrella for Outside Signs and Banners
Sunbrella is a remarkable performance fabric that can be utilized for indoor, outdoor, and marine applications. When it comes to fabric banners and signs, its unique manufacturing process significantly protects against fabric decline.
Whereas other fabrics’ outdoor performance depends on a coating or lamination of some kind, Sunbrella’s fiber itself is saturated with UV-resistant dye before it’s even made into fabric. The color, then, can’t break down because it goes all the way through. For clients who need excellent, long-lasting quality and performance from their signs in an outdoor capacity, Sunbrella is a great choice, although for some printing needs, a coated or laminated fabric will work better. Keep in mind that if you need to choose a vinyl-coated banner or a laminated one due to printing needs or constraints, coated fabrics tend to last longer than laminated fabrics.
How to Clean Fabric Banners and Signs
Knowing what kind of cleaner to use and when to use it can help ensure performance fabric lasts longer and looks great, and fabric signs and banners are no exception. However, with most fabric signs and banners, a simple approach to maintaining cleanliness can be taken, so long as it’s regularly performed.
Using a soft-bristle brush, a little dish soap, and clean water, go over the surface of your sign or banner. Be sure to be gentle and thorough and to keep your water clean throughout the process, and don’t forget the back of the sign either!
If for some reason, this approach fails to clear your fabric banner or sign of dirt or grit, Trican carries a number of cleaning products that can be employed.
- For General Cleaning
303 Multi-Surface Cleaner is recommended.
- For Mold and Mildew Removal
For mold and mildew removal, consider using a mold and mildew removal product from IOSSO.
In general, regular cleaning with water, a mild detergent, and a soft-bristle brush should keep both indoor and outdoor signs and banners in excellent condition.
Proper Storage for Signs and Banners
When Not in Use
For signs and banners that are only used seasonally or on occasion, proper storage can help in extending use. To store fabric banners and signs, be sure to clean the sign — front and back and allow the sign to dry completely. Storing a banner with any moisture present will likely result in mildew, discoloration, and overall deterioration of fabric.
Be sure to then roll the fabric sign up rather than fold it. Folding can lead to creases that can be difficult to get out, and sometimes, ink can transfer. Once the fabric has been rolled up, store it in a container that will keep it free of dust in a climate-controlled environment that won’t fluctuate too much beyond 70 degrees.
Repairing Signs and Banners
Regardless of the care you take with your indoor and outdoor signs and banners, a tear or hole might still develop. When this happens, you have some options.
Patching a hole in a fabric sign or banner will work best if you’re able to match the patch fabric and thread to the sign fabric and thread. If you don’t have access to these see below options.
- Tear-Aid Roll Patches
Tear-Aid Roll Patches are a quick and reliable solution for small tears and rips. Just be sure to clean the fabric first or the patch might not properly adhere.
- Tear Mender Liquid Adhesive
Tear Mender liquid adhesive can also be used to patch a hole or tear in a fabric sign or banner. Just keep in mind that if a hole or rip is too big for these solutions, or if the sign is old or in a compromised condition already, replacement is probably the best option.
Extending the life of fabric signs and banners is not only possible; it’s relatively easy. Pass these best practices on to your clients, and your work will look stunning for years to come.
The purpose of this guide is to give fabricators some general guidelines and product information.
This guide should not be considered as the sole source of information on awnings and should not be considered as advice or instructions on how to build awnings. This guide is strictly informational.