Material for Outdoor Signs

I need to make large word signs in white that will be outdoors. What is the best material to use for this? I’ve seen posts about PVC boards??? I think that’s what it’s called. But I have no idea where to purchase it or how expensive it is??? Any ideas would be a huge help! TIA!

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You can get PVC siding boards at Lowes. They are only 10” wide but easy to glue together with pvc cement.

I hear Home Depot has it in sheets but I have not validated that.

Look for O flute bits. They work great on PVC.
@baricl has done a lot in PVC and helped me with some suggestions.


I use 1/2" PVC from Home Depot for about $100 a 4x8 sheet.

HDPE would be the “professional” choice, but at $300+ a 4x8 sheet.

You can also make signs out of wood & paint it. As long as it’s finished really well it will last. Cedar is good, it weathers well & it’s lightweight.

I 2nd the motion on the O-Flute bits. You can run them slow (8000 RPM) and at least 120 IPM (I’m sure you can go quite a bit faster).


Thank you so much! I’ll look for the O Flute bits. Do you have a good recommendation for one?

Thank you so much for the link. It’s super helpful!

Search for “O flute” at Or just on Google shopping, you may find a better deal.

another option too is Medex mdf, I was talking with a local sign shop and thats what they use. They Said it cuts really nice and takes paint well. I figured I’d give it a try sometime soon.

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I use this one:


I wonder if I should go to a sign shop to see if they use it too? Or what they use. Thanks!

Home Depot, Lowes, and Menards all have PVC boards. Then come in 5 1/2, 7 1/4, 9 1/4, and 11 1/4 size by 3/4 inch thick. Home Depot also has 2 foot by 4 foot PVC in 1/2 and 3/4 inch thickness. I find it less expensive to buy the panels and cut to size. If your using the boards and need to glue up a larger size you can use standard PVC pipe cement. It glues up super strong like iron. The only thing is you need something to hold the boards level and true when you are gluing them up. Once you apply the PVC cement and place the boards together its a done deal. They bond instantly and the dry time is only a few minutes. Make sure the boards are set correctly before you touch them together because they will not move and you cant reposition them. Rockler has some clamps in different sizes. They are kind of pricey but awesome because they apply pressure from all sides. I have three of the larger ones I use for PVC and also for hardwood.

As far as bits, pretty much any bit will work for PVC. Might need a little cleanup up using 1/16 bit but 1/8 and 1/4 cut super clean.
I use
Depth of Cut 0.190
Cut Per Pass: .100
Plunge 24
Feed 80
RPM 18000

Here’s a sign i recently completed for a Dentist Office

Another PVC Sign


That was probably TMI (Too Much Information)


Thank you so much for the information!

I read the above comments and they are all good but they did not mention one thing. There are two types of pvc boards/sheets. There is solid pvc and there is foam core pvc boards/sheets. As it implies the foam core is a foam and if it is going to show does not look good and will not weather good. So be sure to get solid pvc board/sheets.

None of the big box stores around me carry sheets of pvc but you can order it online and have it delivered to your local store.

You mentioned going to a sign shop and talk to them about supplier that is local or will deliver directly to you. Shipping a 4x8 sheet of pvc via ups is impractical and would likely come damaged plus due to its size that might not even be possible. So having it delivered to a local store might be a better option just inspect it and if damaged do not accept it.


Thank you for this info!

I don’t think solid PVC (type 1 and type 2) sheet is typically used for signs. I see the expanded PVC everywhere and my plastic guy told me that’s what the sign shops use.
I’ve seen solid PVC used on walls in a sterile lab and as electronics enclosures. It’s also more expensive than the foamed stuff.
Here’s a short quote from a quick search.


I’ve been trying to source King Colorcore for a while. It’s awesome stuff for outdoor signage, but nobody in Canada seems to carry it.


I used PVC from Lowes for a 3D modeling job for a friend.

Edit: I assume that was type 1. Just the normal trim boards.


That’s expanded PVC. Type 1 and type two both have the appearance and feel of PVC pipe…like the plastic shower walls.
Also, can you share what that is a model of?


My buddy has been working on converting an old self propelled mower to electric for both the blade and the drive for some reason.

In addition to that mount from PVC I also made
Several spacer rings for him from HDPE and one from acrylic.


I have been using the standard PVC board from Lowes, Menards, and Home Depot for years and my experience is that is works just fine. Cuts clean and weathers fine. I’m not sure what is meant by foam core vs solid core but the products I have been buying are solid inside. Two brands I have experience with are Veranda and Royal Building Products.

Brandi, I used a “board” made with PVC from Home Depot (and others) to make these signs in the style of the old Burma Shave roadside advertisements.

The typical PVC boards are rough on the cut edges. You’ll never have a smooth cut edge, because the interior is full of tiny air bubbles (foam) that you expose. I used a Vbit to make the letters. Sealed it all with poly to make it easier to clean out the inevitable dust collection.

Having said that, it takes paint very well and no one will notice from a few steps back.