An outdoor track record board is a big investment for most programs. If you are considering an outdoor record board for your team, you will want to ensure the proper materials are used. Snow, ice, rain, wind, and even the sun are hard on outdoor signage. Your record board must stand up to these harsh elements. In the signage industry, these standard weather conditions typically span temperatures from 150 degrees to -50 degrees Fahrenheit. Check out these primary materials to look for to ensure you’re getting the most for your money.
The first thing to consider is the substrate used for the record board. This base material is the main support structure for the record board. The material we recommend is an aluminum composite material such as Dibond®. This material is composed of two pre-painted sheets of .012” aluminum with a solid polyethylene core. It offers excellent durability for outdoor applications because it will never warp, corrode, or rust. In June 2001, the Federal Highway Administration approved this for work-zone-safety signs and other highway signage.
CAST VINYL GRAPHICS
The next consideration should be the vinyl material that the graphics are actually printed on. The two main types of vinyl films are known as calendared and cast referring to the process in which they are manufactured. While there are certainly appropriate uses for calendared vinyl, it is not recommended for long-term outdoor signage because it has a tendency to shrink, crack, and peel over time. Cast vinyl however is ideal for long-term outdoor use. It features a higher durability and does not shrink in the same way that calendared vinyl will when exposed to the outdoor elements. When used with an appropriate laminate, it should offer a lifespan of 10 years or more.
Finally, it is important to make sure that your record board is properly laminated. A laminate protects the printed surface, can reduce glare if it has a matte finish, and most importantly, offers ultra-violet light protection. UV light can cause image and color fade, so this is an important factor that can affect the lifespan of your track & field record board.
Outdoor protected prints like these should not fade more than 10% in the first eight years. Beyond that there shouldn’t be more than 5 – 10% fading over the next ten years. A 10% color fade over 8 – 10 years is considered undetectable by the naked eye.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The materials discussed above are standard on every Team Fitz track and field record board made for the outdoors. As long as the boards are not abused, they should last well beyond the first ten years with minimal change from the year of purchase. Contact us today to speak with a rep about your project. We would be happy to walk you through the process and get started on free design and quote.