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Traffic signs are a key element to the order of the road, but not many of us think much about what goes into putting them up. How long do they last? Are they expensive? What are they made from?

Most traffic signs are made from stainless steel. Some use aluminum. Unless you’ve been tasked with erecting or maintaining them, you might never know what material is used for these metal hunks we rely on so much. 

So, what is the best material for sign mounts? Keep reading for 8 benefits of using stainless steel mounting for traffic signs. 

1. Cost Saving in the Long Run

Some city officials might shy away from using stainless steel to mount traffic signs due to their seemingly higher upfront cost over other materials. Sure, aluminum is cheaper up front than stainless steel, but it won’t last as long. 

When all things are considered, the total lifespan of a stainless steel mounted sign is much longer than pre-formed or aluminum brackets and clamps. 

2. Durability 

More to the above point, the durability of stainless steel is what makes it the most affordable option in the long run. A sign mounted with stainless steel brackets can last decades; they can even last more than a century. 

Stainless steel is resistant against harsh weather conditions, dents, and scratches and is more heavyweight than other types of sign mounting. And because of the chromium in stainless steel, it is highly resistant to corrosion

Other materials like aluminum will have to be replaced much more often as they are less resistant to the elements, adding to the cost over time. 

3. Versatility 

Stainless steel is useful for a variety of applications, not only traffic signs. While it is the go-to option for the mounting of signs, stainless steel is also popular for industrial applications across industries due to its versatility and durability.

Pole bandings made of stainless steel can be easily manipulated to fit the shape or style of signpost the sign is being mounted on. Fitting and attaching a sign to a post using stainless steel fixtures is easy and low-effort. 

4. Environmentally Safe

One of the best things about using stainless steel to mount signs is that it’s recyclable.

In fact, it’s the most recycled material in the world. And it’s not only a recyclable material in theory, like much of the plastic we consume. Steel is actually recycled and repurposed on a huge scale. 

On the grand scheme of things, very little steel gets wasted. Scraps of steel are incredibly valuable across many industries. Even tiny bits of steel get re-used in other products. 

Over half of the stainless steel products we see on a daily basis are made from previously used materials that have been remelted and repurposed. This can even be translated to reusable water bottles. Steel is a great substitute for plastic. 

5. Fast & Easy Installation

Though stainless steel is much heavier and stronger than other materials like aluminum, stainless steel sign mounts are easy and fast to install.

Aluminum is thought to be easier to work with due to its softness and a higher rate of malleability, but stainless steel is more efficient. Because steel is so widely used, steel-made clamps and brackets are manufactured with ease of use in mind. 

Using stainless steel brackets and banding to mount traffic signs can actually save work crews loads of time. Installation can be done up to 70% faster than trying to fiddle around with other types of materials. And as we know, time is money. 

6. Easily Maintained

The surface of stainless steel is tough and metallic, which makes it a hostile environment for bacteria to survive. And fewer bacteria means easier maintenance. 

Not only is stainless steel easy to clean, but its surface also remains bright and eye-catching for years, even when withstanding the harshest elements.

The most important thing about traffic signs is their readability. Using metal that rusts or that is difficult to clean will defeat the purpose of putting a sign up in the first place. 

Especially for traffic signs that need to be clear and readable at a distance – the clean, bright and easily maintained surface of stainless steel makes it the obvious choice for road signs. 

7. Adaptable for Various Traffic Applications

Stainless steel isn’t just for mounting signs. It’s used for crosswalk signals, traffic lights, and hanging traffic cameras. 

It’s a crucial material for the functioning of traffic systems and keeping order and organization on the roads, both in rural and urban areas.

We don’t often stop to think about our road systems, but it really is quite impressive what goes into their planning and maintenance. And without stainless steel, things would be a lot more difficult. 

8. Options for Sign Mounts

There are numerous different types of stainless steel materials that can be used for mounting signs. The most common types used in traffic applications are 304 and 316. 

304 stainless steel is partially made from chromium and nickel and is extremely resistant to corrosion caused by vehicle exhaust and weather conditions. It’s non-magnetic and will not be melted and hardened by hot weather conditions. 

Nickel makes steel materials keep their shine and brightness for longer than steel materials without nickel. This is beneficial for traffic applications because of the need for signs to remain bright for longer periods of time. 

316 stainless steel is a bit more expensive. It’ still contains percentages of chromium and nickel, but it’s stronger, more durable and easier to clean. 

Another popular type of material used for mounting brackets and clamps is 201 stainless steel. It’s stronger than the 300-series but not quite as resistant to corrosion.

This grade is often used in parking lots and in places where highly-corrosive materials are limited.  

The Takeaway

Now that you know more about stainless steel than you probably thought you ever would, you probably agree that it’s the best material to use for sign mounts. 

Aluminum and other materials have their time and place, but nothing beats the durability, flexibility, and recyclability of stainless steel for traffic signs. 

Have you been tasked with a project requiring the application of steel? Contact us for more information about steel strapping and mounting in any industry. 



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