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Best GRADES & OPTIONS of Reflective Sheetings for CUSTOM signs



Unlike traffic signs installed along public and privately owned roads which must conform to federal, state or local regulations for reflectivity (usually Diamond Grade or High Intensity), business, personal and otherCUSTOM SIGNS installed on private property are usually NOT regulated by DOT and Highway Departments.

Any ARA Sign can be made using one of 3 different gradesof Avery or 3M™ reflective sheetings.  In terms of reflectivity and durability, they are:

  1. Engineer Grade (EG): Good,
  2. High Intensity Prismatic (HIP): Better, and
  3. Diamond Grade (DG): Best. 

Although ENGINEER GRADE is still a very good product, most customers spend the modest additional price for High Intensity when purchasing custom signs because... 

HIGH INTENSITY PRISMATIC has the following advantages over Engineer Grade:

  • REFLECTS ABOUT 4-5 TIMES MORE LIGHT than EG and can be seen at further distances and at a wider viewing angle.
  • many believe is HI is MORE ATTRACTIVE (HI, like DG, has a distinctive “honeycomb” pattern and an almost “Plexiglas-like” high gloss surface, unlike EG’s semi-gloss plain surface
  • more durable and carries a BETTER Avery or 3M MATERIALS WARRANTY (10 years v. 7 years for EG.) 
  • Furthermore, Avery and 3M guarantees that after 10 years, a sign made with their best High Intensity grade sheeting (series 3930 prismatic, the only type of HI we will carry) will still retain at least 80% of its original reflectivity, meaning that a 10 year old HI sign will reflect about 4 times more light than a new EG sign!
  • Although no reflective sheeting will stop a determined vandal with a knife, gun or baseball bat, HI is much more VANDAL RESISTANT than EG.  Spray paint and other graffiti is easier to remove from HI (or DG) than from EG.  Paint tends to permanently penetrate the semi-porous surface of EG, while most (not all) paints can be removed from the high-gloss surfaces of HI and DG reflective sheetings.

DIAMOND GRADE, although even more reflective and slightly more durable than High Intensity, is fairly expensive and perhaps "overkill" for some applications unless maximum reflectivity is required.

Whereas our profit per sign is about the same regardless of which grade of sheeting is used, we have no financial motive in recommending one grade of sheeting over another; we simply want our customers to be aware of the available options.

Although we highly recommend High Intensity for most custom signs, the choice, of course, is yours.


ARA Signs, Inc.

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