Beautiful Signs for a Better Planet

EXTERIOR ADA SIGNS DESIGN GUIDE

EXTERIOR ADA SIGNS

OFFERING CUSTOM & STANDARD METAL ADA SIGNS

Plastic ADA signs are doomed to fail when exposed to outdoor conditions.  Layered construction, reliance on adhesive, and using a material that degrades under UV exposure doesn’t cut it.  And did you know the type of plastic used for practically all ADA signs is made from natural gas?

Green Dot exterior ADA signs are machined from solid aluminum, bronze or brass.  This means there’s no adhesive to fail or layers to separate.  While the high grade paints will eventually fade, wise color selection means the useful life of your sign is a very, very long time.

So much so, that we offer a limited lifetime warranty for all our exterior ADA signs.

Rest assured your investment will hold up outside, and you won’t be circling back in a few years or getting customer complaints about bad signs.  And when your facility changes, the signs are made of 100% recyclable metal.

CUSTOM EXTERIOR ADA SIGNS DESIGN STEPS

Green Dot exterior ADA signs are beautiful, durable, sustainable and highly customizable.  To maximize design efforts, the three items below are often valuable first decisions.

  1. Sign base material and finish
  2. Sign content
  3. Sign mounting

These steps are outlined in detail below.

WHAT ARE EXTERIOR ADA SIGN REQUIREMENTS?

Exterior ADA signs are subject to all the same requirements as interior ADA signs.  This means, font, size, braille, hanging location and more are subject to ADA sign requirements.

But don’t worry, we help clients ensure compliance throughout the custom ADA sign process.

1st SIGN DESIGN STEP – METAL TYPE & BACKGROUND COLOR

Aluminum, brass and bronze are available to choose from.  The base material is painted any one color, and raised letters and pictograms have either vertical or horizontal brush marks.  Over both paint and metal a clear coat determines gloss level.

For compliance, a high contrast is required between letters and background.  This means if your aesthetic dictates a particular paint color it limits your metal options, and vice versa.

Aluminum is the most cost effective material option.  Being pretty close to white, it also has a wider range of contrasting paint colors than bronze or brass.  Aluminum is also lighter, making it easier to install.

Metal braille exit sign for outside use

As you can see here, with a red background only aluminum meets ADA sign contrast requirements.

Brass and bronze are similar in appearance, offering a warm color and perhaps implying more permanence and luxury than aluminum.  Between the two, sign performance is the same and as of 2022, cost is highly comparable.  Some designers consider bronze a more classic look, as it was used historically for exterior plaques and similar applications.  Conversely, brass works well with many modern interior fixtures and color schemes.

Comparing bronze and brass metal as sign materials

The clear topcoat may be either satin or matte.  If the signs are used indoors, we recommend matte.  For exterior signs, satin is usually best as dust and dirt decrease gloss level during normal use.  Gloss coatings are not ADA compliant.

To communicate paint color, feel free to use the paints codes from any major paint maker, hex or Pantone colors.

If color and material are not critical for your project, we recommend selecting aluminum with black satin paint.  It’s cost effective, easy to read and has the fastest turn around time.

2nd SIGN DESIGN STEP – CONTENT & SIZE/SPAN

A standard restroom sign, with one row of lettering, can be as small as 6″ x 8″.  However, many restroom signs utilize two rows of lettering, in which case 6″ x 9″ accommodates two rows.  As a result, we recommend standardizing sizes for all restroom signs to 6″ x 9″ or larger.  The same size rules apply to accessible entrance signage.

For exterior tactile signs identifying rooms that don’t require pictograms, size can be driven by the amount of text.  Three digit room number signs are often 3″ x 5″ or larger, and if your facility needs two rows of tactile copy, 4″ x 7″ is a great minimum size accommodating two rows of 10 – 12 characters meeting ADA sign requirements.

Rather than many different sizes, it’s best to standardize your base size as much as possible.  Just shoot us an email with your least and most copy if you need size guidance.

3rd SIGN DESIGN STEP – INSTALLATION METHOD

Exterior ADA signs, made of metal, are heavier than most interior signs.  Additionally, exterior application methods need to be more robust in order to accommodate differing thermal and hygroscopic expansion and contraction rates as well as freeze – thaw cycles.

As a result, most exterior signs are installed with studs.  A paper pattern for the signs showing exact stud locations are taped on the wall where they will hang.  Holes are drilled through the pattern and into the wall.

Silicone or similar adhesive is applied to the studs and back of sign, then the sign slides into place.  Press against the wall for a few seconds and you are done.  In some cases a wall may be out of plumb, causing signs to fall before silicone cure.  In this type of situation, painters tape across the face of the sign can be used to hold the sign in place.

installing metal exterior ADA sign with studs As shown here, a blind tapped hole accommodates precise stud locations and easy install.

 

Depending on the wall other installation methods may be appropriate.  Custom cut spacers and extra long studs can secure signs on curved or highly textured surfaces.  Through holes with decorative face covers can work better in hard to reach spots.  Cleats are the fastest way to install making them great for limited installation time windows, though more shop time and material is required.  Last but not least, for windows high grade VHB and silicone work well.

If you have an extreme installation requirement, feel free to reach out and I’m sure we can find the right solution.

WHEN DO I NEED TO HAVE AN EXTERIOR ADA SIGN?

If your facility has an outside door to a permanent room or space, such as restrooms at a park, a tactile ADA sign is required.

Additionally, if not all entrances for your facility are accessible, a sign meeting ADA visual character requirements must direct towards the nearest accessible entrance, and that entrance must be marked with the ISA.  Best practice is to also mark the entrance with a sign that contains tactile characters and braille.

Bronze Metal Accessible Entrance Direction Sign

WHAT ARE SOME COMMON EXTERIOR ADA SIGNS?

The most common exterior ADA signs are restroom and accessible entrance signs.

Many buildings feature rooftop areas, enclosed or semi-enclosed foyers and similar spaces.  The doors leading inside from these spaces also require tactile ADA signs.

Exterior ADA sign saying accessible with braille

INDUSTRY BEST EXTERIOR ADA SIGNS WARRANTY

Green Dot Sign® outdoor restroom signs and other exterior ADA signs are practically indestructible and come with a lifetime warranty. Instead of plastic, our signs for outdoor purposes are made from machined solid aluminum, brass or bronze plates. Each sign is then painted, sanded to expose letters and pictograms in the natural metal and lastly dressed with a top coat. Because metal sign construction does not have layers, there are not materials with different rates of thermal or hygroscopic expansion waiting to fail after temperature or humidity swing.  All paints are automotive grade, two-part catalyzed paints with the longest possible exterior life. Fading will occur around 10 years, but usable life is much longer.

Outdoor ADA signs are an often overlooked aspect of building sign systems. All too often, designers specify the same materials for both interior and exterior sign applications. This oversight leads to disastrous results, as typical interior signs fail when exposed to outdoor conditions. Plastic exterior ADA sign failures usually fall into one of these four categories.

  1. Adhesive holding layers of plastic together delaminates due to thermal or hygroscopic expansion
  2. Plastic integrity fails due to temperature swing and UV exposure
  3. Braille balls fall off due to material integrity failure
  4. UV exposure causes colors to fade and not meet ADA sign contrast requirements

BUY NOW – STANDARD OUTDOOR RESTROOM SIGNS

Use All Gender, Men’s and Women’s Exterior ADA signs to identify to identify handicap accessible restrooms outdoors.  Accessible outdoor restroom signs contain either the traditional or modified ISA.  Standard outdoor signage is available with a black sign background and aluminum sign content.

  • Standard exterior ADA restroom sign prices include free U.S. ground shipping
  • Always ADA-compliant, our metal signs take the guesswork out of whether your exterior ADA signs will pass inspection

 

  • All Gender Outdoor Restroom Sign

    All Gender Outdoor Restroom Sign – Traditional ISA

    $189.00
    Add to cart
  • Men's Outdoor Restroom Sign

    Men’s Outdoor Restroom Sign – Traditional ISA

    $189.00
    Add to cart
  • Women's Outdoor Restroom Sign

    Women’s Outdoor Restroom Sign – Traditional ISA

    $189.00
    Add to cart
  • Metal All Gender Restroom Sign

    Metal All Gender Restroom Sign – Modified ISA

    $189.00
    Add to cart
  • Metal Men's Restroom Sign

    Metal Men’s Restroom Sign – Modified ISA

    $189.00
    Add to cart
  • Metal Women's Restroom Sign

    Metal Women’s Restroom Sign – Modified ISA

    $189.00
    Add to cart

 

 

 

SPECIFY METAL OUTDOOR SIGNAGE

EXTERIOR ADA SIGN WARRANTYDownload product data sheets, CSI 3-Part Specification, sign BIM drawings and third-party sustainability certifications for your indoor and outdoor signage specifications.  Feel free to copy, paste and edit these architect approved documents to fit your building project’s needs.

Specifications

 EXTERIOR ADA SIGNAGE OVERVIEW

EXTERIOR ADA SIGNAGE REQUIREMENTS

Signs use words and symbols to communicate messages. “ADA sign” refers to signage marking U.S. public building rooms, spaces or features that are regulated by the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).   The U.S. Department of Justice published the ADA in order to prohibit discrimination against those with disabilities.  Federally regulated signage provides the 7.5 million Americans that are legally blind or visually impaired equal access to public spaces across the U.S.

ADA sign requirements enforced today were released as part of the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design (SAD). Detailed federal signage requirements direct the location and content of identification, directional and informational signs. Some, but not all, door signs are regulated by the ADA.

Take the guesswork out of whether your Handicapped Accessibility signs will pass inspection with Green Dot Sign® ADA compliant braille signs. Review our ADA Signage Requirements FAQs to learn about federal accessibility signage guidelines.

U.S public buildings are required to post exterior ADA signage in two instances. First, if not all building entrances are handicap accessible, signage must direct toward the nearest accessible entrance.  Additionally, if not all entrances are accessible, handicapped accessible entrance(s) must be marked with ADA signs that include the International Symbol of Accessibility (ISA or person in a wheelchair pictogram).

Signage that directs towards an accessible building entrance does not need to contain braille or raised characters. It is best practice to place wayfinding signs at every turn along the route to the accessible alternative. When no turns are required, directional signs should be posted every 35 to 50 feet.

Second, exterior tactile signage is required if an outdoor space is part of a building structure, such as a courtyard or shared rooftop patio. ADA signage with braille and raised characters identifying outdoor building spaces must be placed at doorways leading back inside the building.  However, exterior ADA sign is not necessary at building doors leading to parking lots or sidewalks.

THE BEST EXTERIOR ADA SIGNS

  

 

Reach out to schedule a no obligation custom metal sign consultation or to get a quote.

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