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GRADES of reflective sheetings

GRADES of REFLECTIVE SHEETINGS

Unlike other Sign Manufacturers that often use less expensive reflective sheetings from Asia and other countries…

WE ONLY USE 3MTM and AVERY-DENNISONTM REFLECTIVE SHEETINGSfor EVERY sign we make because the sheetings (and our entire completed signs)

  • are GUARANTEED to meet or exceed ASTM D4956 standards for
    • Initial reflectivity
    • Long-term reflectivity (guaranteed to retain at least 80% of the initial reflectivity after 7, 10 or 12 years [depending on the Grade selected by the Customer] and still meets DOT reflectivity levels!)
    • Color compliance and color retention over time
  • meet or exceed the ASTM D4956 requirements for FHWA and DOT compliant traffic signs
  • have the best DURABILITY and WARRANTY in the business
  • and last, but not least, are MADE-IN-THE-USA or the 3MTM plant in CANADA

We also use the same highest quality sheetings and sign making methods for Custom Signs (for businesses and private use) and are available in the following Grades:

ENGINEER GRADE (EG) ASTM D4956 Type 1

  • Introduced by 3M in the 1950s, today EG sheeting is normally only DOT approved for “Non-Critical” signage such as Handicapped Parking signs
  • Seldom, if ever, approved for Regulatory signs such as “STOP”, speed limit and traffic signs on all “roads open to public travel”* (which includes most roads on Private Property; see note at the end of this info sheet)
  • 7+ YEAR LIFE EXPECTANCY:  7 year 3M or Avery warranty on the sheeting and 1 Year ARA Signs Workmanship and Materials Warranty on the entire sign (BEST Sign Shop Warranty available; most sign shops only offer a 30 day warranty or NO warranty!)

HIGH INTENSITY PRISMATIC GRADE (HIP) ASTM D4956 Type III / IV

  • Most Sign Manufacturers offer “High Intensity” signs that only meet Type III specifications, but…
  • All ARA Signs “High Intensity” signs are made using High Intensity Prismatic reflective sheetings that meet or exceed Type III AND Type IV specifications
  • Reflects about 5 times more light than Engineer Grade (and almost twice as much as our competitors Type III High Intensity signs)and at a wider angle, more durable, but only priced modestly higher
  • Required for regulatory and warning signs on all “roads open to public travel”* unless the local jurisdiction requires Diamond Grade sheeting
  • Most common type of reflective sheeting used on traffic and custom signs today
  • 10+ YEAR LIFE EXPECTANCY:  10 year 3M or Avery warranty on the sheeting and 2 Year ARA Signs Workmanship and Materials Warranty on the entire sign (the longest sign shop warranty in the business; most sign shops only offer a 30 day warranty or NO warranty!)

DIAMOND GRADE (DG)

  • Most reflective of all sheeting; reflects about 10 times more light than EG and at a very wide angle, but also the most expensive
  • Required by some local jurisdictions for certain regulatory and warning signs for “roads open to public travel”*. Rarely required for Handicapped and other parking signs and other “non-critical” signage
  • WHITE and YELLOW, ASTM D4956 Type IX
    • 12+ YEAR LIFE EXPECTANCY: 12 year 3M or Avery warranty on the sheeting and 3 Year ARA Signs Workmanship and Materials Warranty on the entire sign (the longest sign shop warranty in the business; most sign shops only offer a 30 day warranty or NO warranty!)
  • FLUORESCENT ORANGE (DG F-O), ASTM D4956 Type VIII
    • For Highway Construction and Road Work projects, and for custom signs
    • 3 year (in certain “Sunbelt States”, or longer) 3M or Avery materials warranty and 1 Year ARA Signs Workmanship and Materials Warranty on the entire sign (again, the longest warranty any other sign shop offers)
  • FLUORESCENT YELLOW-GREEN (DG FY-G), ASTM D4956 Type IX
    • Reserved for school, pedestrian crossing and similar signs
    • 10 year 3M or Avery materials warranty and 2 Year ARA Signs Workmanship and Materials Warranty on the entire sign (once again, the longest warranty offered by any other sign shop)

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*  ROADS OPEN TO PUBLIC TRAVEL

The Local Jurisdiction (your local Highway Department, City or County Government or State DOT) determines the required sign

  • SIZESand
  • GRADE OF REFLECTIVE SHEETING

for all traffic signs on “Roads Open to Public Travel”

Roads Open to Public Travel, of course, includes

  • all city streets, county roads and state highways,
  • but it ALSO APPLIES TO 99% of paved & unpaved ROADS on PRIVATE PROPERTY

Examples include

  • Long driveways and approaches on Private Property
  • Unpaved private roads leading to farms, ranches and residences
  • HOA managed private residential subdivisions
  • Shopping center and business parking lots
  • Employee parking areas
  • ANY privately owned road that a delivery company, such as UPS, would use to deliver packages
  • ANY paved or unpaved road on private property that the Gas or Electric Company drives on to read your meter

In summary:

  • almost ALL roads on PRIVATE PROPERTYare considered “Roads Open to Public Travel”
  • and therefore these traffic signs on PRIVATE PROPERTY must comply with the SAME size and grade requirements the local Jurisdiction imposes on City Streets and County or State owned Roads!  Who would have guessed that?

Unfortunately, about the ONLY TYPES OF PRIVATE ROADS that would NOTbe considered “Open to Public Travel” (and therefore traffic signs would NOT have to comply with the Local Jurisdiction’s sign size and grade requirements) are

  • Roads that are clearly posted “No Trespassing / Violators will be Prosecuted” (typically dirt or gravel and often gated)
  • Short driveways directly in front of a garage door of a house

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We can provide GENERAL advice on sign sizes and typical grades of sheetings used on traffic signs by calling us at 702-644-SIGN (7446) or by e-mail, but we, of course, are not familiar with the specific requirements for the thousands of Local Jurisdictions.

Therefore (except for the “No Trespassing” and “Short Driveways” exceptions above) CONTACT YOUR LOCAL JURISDICTION for the REQUIRED SIZE & GRADE OF REFLECTIVE SHEETINGbefore ordering signs from us or anyone.

If in doubt

  • always order a HIGHER GRADE of reflective sheetings such as
    • High Intensity Prismatic Type III/IV (in most cases, will meet or exceed the Local Jurisdiction’s requirements)
    • Diamond Grade (in all cases, will meet or exceed the requirements, but may be “overkill”)
  • avoid
    • Engineer Grade (seldom, if ever, approved for traffic signs anymore)
    • Sign Manufacturers who only offer Type III High Intensity (will NOT meet Type IV Specifications; required by many Local Jurisdictions)
    • Sign Manufacturers who do not clearly state what  ASTM D4956 Type they offer (hummmm???….probably does NOT meet the requirements)
    • Sign Manufacturers who do not state that they only use 3MTM and AVERY-DENNISONTM reflective sheetings (although less expensive, sheetings from Asia and other countries often meet INITIAL reflectivity requirements, they quickly lose their reflectivity and therefore are no longer in compliance and the signs MUST be replaced).

Hope that helps.

ARA Signs, Inc.

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