In the past, we’ve discussed steps you can take to help winter-proof your signage. Today we’re going to expound on that article as we dive deep into the effects of ice on signage.

How does ice impact signage?

Ice can affect signs in a myriad of ways. For monument signs near the street, it may simply be that the risk is increased of a wayward car going off the curb into your sign. More often though in the short term it’ll either obstruct the sign’s message (in much the same way it may cover a car window), or at times it could even damage the sign with the weight of the ice impacting loose parts or the expansion of the ice from within leading to damage. Over the long term, ice can also impact the weathering of a sign, leading to faded colors, or material deterioration over time.

How can I help mitigate ice buildup on my sign?

Signs can vary in many ways, and so some sign types you may not need much weather adjustments, while others it might be best to be prepared. Monument signs for instance may simply be glazed over with ice, in which case you could cover the sign before the temps freeze; however, you may also simply want to scrape any ice off the next day to remove any ice obstructing your signage.

Neon signs on the other hand can be fragile, and therefore they’re susceptible to damage from falling ice. You may want to cover an exposed sign if you fear damage from falling ice, or consider its placement when you first install the sign. For instance, you may want to think twice if you place the sign in an exposed position, as opposed to below your roof or awning which when properly placed may prevent any falling icicles from hitting your signage. (We know this is not always an option; however, if you are in a ice prone region its something to consider.)

How do sign companies help ensure my signage is weather ready?

Weep hole installed in the bottom of a channel letter

Weep hole installed in the bottom of a channel letter

Sign companies want to ensure your signage can last as long as possible in the best of conditions through the years. When it comes to weather, and specifically rain and ice, a few different tools are at our disposal when fabricating your sign.

How are Neon Signs winter-proofed?

To help ensure neon signs aren’t impacted by water/ice, each electrode is fitted with end caps and boots.These help prevent water from getting inside your neon sign, which is especially important as water can then freeze in cold temperatures and expand into ice. Likewise sign companies that regularly fabricate neon signage for their more northerly clients will be mindful of the amount of gas and milliamps used in the sign, as these impact sign performance in colder weather.

How are Channel Letters and Pylon Signs winter-proofed?

Signage on exterior facades, including channel letters, and pylon signs will be fabricated with weep holes. Weep holes are holes built into the bottom of signs (in the case of channel letters, the bottom of each letter), to allow for proper drainage of any water that may seep through the sign. This helps water flow quickly out of the sign, so that in sub-zero temperatures it’s less likely to build up and expand in your sign.

How are EMCs (Electronic Message Centers) winter-proofed?

EMCs are increasingly an integral asset for businesses. We work alongside our vendors to ensure your EMCs are of the best quality for your needs. Though no sign can be 100% perfect in extreme weather events, our vendors work to keep EMCs secure in hot and cold weather. This includes the use of fans to help reduce condensation during colder temps, which could lead to ice if frozen. Likewise EMCs are sealed to prevent water build-up from impacting the sign internally.

Call Ortwein Sign to help weather-proof your signage

If you’re concerned about how weather may impact your signage, give our trusted team at Ortwein Sign a call. We’re happy to help you navigate the uncertain world of weather as it pertains to your signage. Give us a call at (423) 867-9208 or visit