Practical Steps to Maintain Your Business Signs and Extend Their Lifespan

Worker fixing signage
  • April 22nd, 2024

Keeping your business signs in good shape is a smart way to catch people’s eyes and keep them interested in what you offer. But, signs that face the sun, rain, and other outdoor challenges can start to look old and tired over time. This isn’t good for business, as a shabby sign can turn potential customers away.

Most outdoor signs have a life of 5 to 7 years, but you don’t have to let them fade away. There are easy steps you can take to keep your signs looking great and working hard for your business for much longer. In this blog, we’ll show you practical ways to take care of your signs and ensure they keep drawing in customers for years to come.

Why Signage Maintenance Matters

Maintaining your business signage is essential for several key reasons. First, it ensures your signs are always clear and visible, helping attract and guide customers effectively. Regular maintenance also prevents safety hazards, such as electrical issues or structural damage, especially in outdoor signs exposed to the elements.

Investing in maintenance saves money in the long run by extending the life of your signs, and avoiding the need for early replacements. Additionally, well-kept signs reflect positively on your brand, showing customers that you care about your business and maintain high standards. In short, regular upkeep of your signage supports your business’s success by ensuring safety, saving costs, and enhancing your image.
Want to find out why custom signage matters for your business? Have a read of the benefits of custom signage for businesses.

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Elevate your brand with Swift Signs!
Leading Melbourne sign company, Swift Signs, offers high-quality signage solutions for over 50 years.

Australian Weather Considerations

According to this report by CSIRO, Australian weather varies greatly and can be tough on signs. The strong sun, heavy storms, high humidity, and sometimes frost can all shorten a sign’s life and change how it looks. 

It’s important to choose the right materials and take care of your signs based on the local weather, to keep them looking good and lasting longer-

UV Exposure

In areas with high UV exposure, signs can fade much quicker than expected. Using UV-resistant materials and coatings is crucial to prevent fading and maintain the vibrancy of your signage.

Heat and Sunlight

Constant exposure to direct sunlight and high temperatures can cause materials to warp or degrade. Selecting heat-resistant materials and considering the orientation of your sign can help mitigate these effects.

Humidity and Rain

High humidity and frequent rain, especially in tropical and coastal regions, can lead to issues like rust, mould, and electrical damage in signs. Waterproofing and regular inspections for moisture damage are essential to keep your signs in good condition.

Wind and Storms

Strong winds and storms can cause physical damage to signs, particularly those that are large or elevated. Ensuring your signage is securely mounted and using materials that can withstand high winds can reduce the risk of storm damage.

Frost and Cold

Although less common, frost and cold temperatures can affect signage in some southern areas of Australia, potentially causing materials to become brittle and crack. Using materials suited to withstand cold temperatures is advisable in these regions.
If you’re trying to determine the best materials for your business signs or how to shield them from weather damage, our experts at Swift Signs can assist. Our team has the expertise to recommend materials that hold up against Australia’s weather, ensuring your signs stay bright and long-lasting. Get in touch.

Types of Signage Maintenance Options


To ensure your business signs remain impactful and continue to draw attention, it’s essential to understand the different types of maintenance options that are available. Proper (and timely) maintenance not only keeps signs looking their best but also extends their lifespan, saving you money in the long run.

Routine Cleaning

Routine cleaning is fundamental to keep signs looking their best. This includes:

  • Dust and Dirt Removal: Using soft cloths or brushes to gently remove surface dust.
  • Washing: Mild soap and water for non-electric signs, avoiding harsh chemicals that could damage the sign’s finish.
  • Special Care for Digital Displays: Using microfiber cloths and screen-safe cleaners to avoid scratching or damaging the display.

Preventative Maintenance

This proactive approach addresses potential issues before they escalate, ensuring longevity and consistent performance:

  • Regular Inspections: Checking for signs of wear, loose components, or electrical issues.
  • Protective Measures: Applying UV protective coatings and weatherproofing to guard against environmental damage.
  • Software Updates: For digital signs, keeping software up-to-date to ensure compatibility and security.

Corrective Maintenance

When damage or malfunction occurs, corrective maintenance restores the sign’s functionality:

  • Part Replacement: Swapping out faulty lights, damaged electronic components, or worn parts.
  • Structural Repairs: Addressing issues like corrosion, structural damage, or water ingress to prevent safety hazards.
  • Electrical Work: Ensuring all wiring and electrical components meet safety standards and function correctly.
Contact Us Today
Elevate your brand with Swift Signs!
Leading Melbourne sign company, Swift Signs, offers high-quality signage solutions for over 50 years.

Emergency Repairs

Quick response to unexpected damage ensures minimal disruption to business operations:

  • Vandalism Repair: Addressing graffiti, broken components, or other damage promptly.
  • Weather Damage: Restoring signage after storms, including fixing water damage or wind displacement.
  • Accident Response: Repairing damage from vehicle collisions or other accidents to ensure safety and restore visibility.

For expert advice on selecting the right maintenance options for your signs or to address any signage damage concerns, consult with us at Swift Signs today.

Tips To Maintain Your Business Signs

Unsure of how to maintain your business signage? Let’s take a look at the top tips for maintenance and how they can make them last! 

1. Regular Cleaning

Keeping your business signs clean is crucial for maintaining their appearance and readability. Dirt and grime can accumulate over time, making signs less visible and potentially deterring customers. To avoid this, schedule regular cleanings using the right cleaning agents and tools for your sign’s material. It’s important to be gentle during the cleaning process to prevent any scratches or damage. Using soft cloths and avoiding harsh chemicals will help preserve the sign’s integrity while keeping it sparkling clean.

2. Prevent and Treat Damage Early

Regular inspections of your signage can reveal early signs of wear and tear, such as fading, cracks, or electrical issues. Addressing these problems promptly can prevent them from escalating into more significant, costly repairs. Quick fixes like replacing faded or damaged parts, tightening loose elements, and repainting can make a big difference in maintaining your sign’s longevity and effectiveness.

3. Protect Against the Weather

Protecting your signs from harsh weather conditions is essential, especially if they are exposed to direct sunlight, rain, or strong winds. Applying weather-resistant coatings can shield signs from UV damage and moisture, helping to prevent fading and deterioration. Additionally, considering the placement of your signage to minimise exposure to adverse weather can further prolong its life.

4. Upgrade to Durable Materials

When it comes time to create new signs or replace older ones, choosing materials known for their durability and resistance to weather can be a game-changer. Options like high-grade plastics, metals with protective coatings, and treated woods can withstand the elements better. For those considering digital signs, opting for models specifically designed for outdoor use can offer better longevity and easier content updates.

5. Ensure Proper Installation

Ensuring that your signs are properly and securely installed can significantly impact their durability. Improperly mounted signs are more prone to damage from environmental factors like wind or even vandalism. Employing professional installation services for larger or more complex signage can ensure that it is done correctly, providing peace of mind and reducing the risk of future problems.

6. Regular Updates and Refreshes

Keeping your signage content current is not only good for your brand image but also provides an opportunity to assess and refresh your physical signs. Periodic updates can reinvigorate a sign’s look and extend its lifespan, whether through a thorough cleaning, a new coat of paint, or an upgrade to its lighting system. This approach allows you to maintain a fresh and engaging presence to your customers without the need for a complete sign replacement.

Cleaning Techniques for Different Signage Types

Metal Signs

Metal signs, known for their durability, can still succumb to elements over time.

  • Routine Maintenance: Regularly wipe down with a soft cloth dampened with a mild detergent solution to remove dust, dirt, and grime. This prevents buildup that can corrode or tarnish the metal.
  • Polishing: For signs with a polished finish, use a metal polish to restore shine. Ensure the polish is suitable for the specific type of metal your sign is made from.
  • Rust Treatment: At the first sign of rust, apply a rust remover or converter according to the product’s instructions. Afterward, apply a protective coating to prevent future rusting.
Contact Us Today
Elevate your brand with Swift Signs!
Leading Melbourne sign company, Swift Signs, offers high-quality signage solutions for over 50 years.

Acrylic and Plastic Signs

These signs offer versatility and vibrant colours but require careful handling to avoid scratches.

  • Dusting: Regular dusting with a soft, non-lint cloth can prevent abrasive particles from scratching the surface.
  • Cleaning Solutions: Avoid using solvents or ammonia-based cleaners, as they can cause clouding or cracking. A solution of lukewarm water and mild soap is safest. Rinse thoroughly to avoid soap residue.
  • Scratch Removal: Minor scratches can be buffed out with a specialised acrylic or plastic polish.

Illuminated and LED Signs

Led Sign

The attractiveness of these signs depends significantly on their brightness and clarity.

  • Electrical Safety: Always turn off and unplug the sign before cleaning to avoid electric shock.
  • Lens and Cover Cleaning: Use a soft, damp cloth to clean the protective coverings of LED modules. For tougher grime, a mild, non-ammonia glass cleaner can be used carefully.
  • Internal Cleaning: Periodically, the interior of the sign may need to be cleaned to remove dust or insects that have gathered inside, which might require professional assistance.

Want high-quality LED screens, retail signs, or shop signs? We can help. Contact our friendly team today for a signage upgrade. 

Wooden Signs

Wooden signs bring a natural and rustic appeal but are susceptible to weathering.

  • Gentle Cleaning: Use a wood-specific cleaner or a diluted mild detergent solution. Avoid soaking the wood to prevent warping.
  • Moisture Control: After cleaning, thoroughly dry the sign. Consider applying a wood preservative or sealant annually to protect against moisture and UV rays.

Fabric and Canvas Banners

These materials can easily wrinkle, stain, or fade, so gentle handling is key.

  • Machine Washing: If the manufacturer confirms machine washing is safe, use cold water and a gentle cycle. Avoid using bleach.

Ironing: To remove wrinkles, iron on a low setting or use a steamer, making sure not to apply too much heat directly to the print.

Suggested Maintenance Schedule

To make sure your signs always look good and work well, it’s important to take care of them regularly. We’ve put together a simple plan that starts with quick weekly checks and goes up to yearly professional help. Following this plan can help stop small problems from getting bigger and keep your signs looking great:- 

1. Weekly Tasks

  • Quick Inspection: Make it a habit to visually check signs for any new damage, such as cracks, fading, or lighting issues. This quick once-over can catch problems early.
  • Surface Cleaning: Use a soft cloth or brush to gently remove surface dust from all types of signs. This prevents dust accumulation that can obscure your message.

2. Monthly Tasks

  • Deep Cleaning: Give each sign a detailed clean. For non-electric signs, mild soapy water works well; just make sure to dry them thoroughly to avoid water marks. For digital displays, a gentle wipe with a microfiber cloth moistened with a suitable cleaner will maintain clarity.
  • Lighting Checks: For signs with lighting, check every bulb or LED. Replace any that are dimming or have burned out to ensure your sign is uniformly illuminated and visible at all times.

3. Quarterly Tasks

  • Structural Inspection: Look for any structural issues—loose bolts, corrosion, or wear and tear—that could compromise the sign’s integrity. Addressing these early prevents bigger repairs later.
  • Operational Check: For digital or animated signs, test all mechanical parts and software to ensure they’re running smoothly. Updating software or lubricating moving parts might be necessary.

4. Semi-Annual Tasks

  • Protective Upkeep: Reapply protective coatings to outdoor signs to shield them from UV rays, rust, and weather damage. This might include special treatments for wood, metal, or acrylic to extend their life.
  • Content Refresh: Update the content of digital displays or consider a fresh coat of paint for static signs. This keeps your messaging relevant and engaging.

5. Annual Tasks

  • Comprehensive Evaluation: Take stock of your signage’s overall effectiveness and condition. Is it still aligned with your branding? Does it need a major upgrade or replacement? This is the time to budget for new signage if necessary.

Professional Maintenance: For complex signs, especially those hard to reach or with intricate electrical systems, take the help of professionals. They can perform deep cleans, thorough inspections, and any necessary repairs that go beyond routine maintenance.

When To Call In The Professionals

While regular maintenance can be managed in-house, there are times when it’s best to call in professional sign maintenance services. Knowing when to seek expert help can save you time and ensure your signage is repaired or maintained to the highest standard.

Signs of Electrical Issues

If your illuminated sign starts to flicker, has dimming lights, or completely goes out, it’s time to consult a professional. Electrical problems can be complex and, more importantly, dangerous to tackle without the proper training and tools. Professionals can safely diagnose and fix issues, ensuring your sign lights up as intended.
Note: Dealing with electrical issues on your own can be dangerous. A professional can diagnose and fix the problem safely. Get expert help today.

Structural Damage

Damage to the sign’s structure, such as significant dents, bent frames, or loose components, requires a professional touch. These issues can compromise the sign’s safety and effectiveness. Experts in signage maintenance have the skills and equipment to properly repair structural damage, preventing potential hazards.

Severe Weather Damage

After extreme weather events, it’s advisable to have your signs checked by professionals, especially if there are visible damages or if the sign has become less stable. Professionals can assess the extent of the damage and perform necessary repairs or recommend replacement if needed.

Complex Digital Signage Issues

Digital signs are intricate systems that require specialised knowledge to repair and maintain. If you encounter software glitches, connectivity issues, or hardware malfunctions, professional services can provide the necessary technical expertise.

When Compliance Is a Concern

Signs must adhere to local regulations and codes, which can change. If you’re unsure whether your sign complies with current laws or if modifications are needed to meet regulatory standards, professional sign companies can guide you through the process and ensure your sign is up to code.

For Regular Maintenance and Cleaning

While day-to-day cleaning can be handled in-house, professional cleaners can perform deep cleaning and maintenance that might require specialised equipment or techniques, especially for high, large, or unusually shaped signs.

Looking for the Best Signage Company in Melbourne?

If your signs are looking a bit tired or you’re just starting out and need some new ones, Swift Signs is the best in business. With more than 50 years of experience in making and maintaining high-quality signs, we know a thing or two about keeping them in top shape.
From digital signage, and vehicle signage to corporate signage in Melbourne, we are experts in what we do. So don’t wait; contact us today for professional sign maintenance and creation.