Introduction to this Buyers Guide
Buying an outdoor notice board should be a relatively simple process, but with so many options and designs it can get confusing. We have put together this guide to help you understand those options and where they can become most important.
Index to Sections
- Understanding Lockable Notice Board Sizes
- Glazing Types
- Certified Water-Proof?
- Notice Boards & Poster Cases – the Same Thing?
- Installing Your Outdoor Notice Board – Wall Mounting
- Post Mounting
- Mounting to Existing Posts
- Fence Mounting
- Orientation (the right way up)
- Notice Board Colours & Style
1. Understanding External Notice Board Sizes
Most lockable notice boards are measured in four ways;
- The actual Display area
- The Overall Size (including the frame)
- The Number of A4 sheets it can display
- The single Poster Size it’s Designed for (These are usually referred to as poster cases)
Let’s concentrate on that display area for a moment. This is a measurement of the available space for your notices. It completely ignores the surrounding frame. This display area is commonly measured by the number of A4 sized pieces of paper it can accommodate when they are used in portrait orientation. Some boards, typically smaller ones such as 4 x A4 sheets, may offer a board size suitable for using A4 sheets in landscape. While some boards may alternatively measure the display area as just one A size, such as A3, A2, A1 & A0. Poster cases in particular adopt this sizing method, as usually a poster case is designed to hold a single size poster (more on those later). Most manufactures and suppliers provide a diagram for each range of external notice board showing how A4 sheets fit into each available size. This diagram will also usually show how the door/s open, which is helpful and should be viewed to appreciate the format of the unit.
A4 sheets (in portrait) fit exactly into all the A3,A2,A1, & A0 sizes like this;-
A3 – 2 x A4 Sheets
A2 – 4 x A4 Sheets
A1 – 8 x A4 Sheets
A0 – 16 x A4 Sheets
This diagram makes it easier to visualise;-
So, choosing the correct size of external notice board should start with deciding how many A4 sheets you want to be able to display. Having worked out the ideal number of sheets, you want to ensure the overall size of the board, including the surrounding frame, fits into the intended space on your wall. There is no standard frame width, so if space is limited look at different models to make best use of the available wall position.
Before we leave this section, there are two other measurements that you might want to consider. The first of these is the internal clearance. This is the distance between the display area and the glazing in the door. If you only intend to display flat paper, posters and photographs then you need not worry about this one. However if you intend to display much deeper, thicker items then this may become an important point. There is no standardised depth, and this distance is not always included in the specification, so ask your supplier if you need to know it.
Finally we have the overall depth of the notice board, this is how far the board extends out from the wall. This again will vary according to the manufacturer and model. But larger models, typically those of 16 x A4 sheet & greater, will benefit from a deeper case as this improves rigidity and strength. There is also a generally accepted fact that deeper boards instill a confidence and quality factor that slim line boards fail to reach. So this may something to consider depending on the location, building or the impression that you need to create.
Custom Size External Notice Boards
Some of our external boards can be made to your exact size, perfect if you have unusual size literature to display. Or have limited wall space but want to maximise your display area. Or perhaps you use an original combination of different sizes notices. Whatever the reason we can supply a specially made up board for you. There will be an extra charge of course and it will take longer to supply. Typically 2-4 weeks depending on the requirement. Just provide a basic idea of what you need and we can provide a FREE, no obligation quote for you.
Contact us at email@example.com or Tel. 020 8581 1067
2. Notice Board Glazing Types
A number of different clear glazing materials are used in the construction of external notice boards. As well as a number of different thicknesses of those materials. While the choice of glazing is not always a major point, there are times when considering the correct glazing can be important. Not only are there a number of choices of plastic, there are also some modified versions to further confuse the buyer. So, lets keep it simple. There are basically 3 types of glazing material that you will encounter on your search for the perfect notice board.
a) Glass b) Acrylic / PETG c) Polycarbonate
Let’s take a look at each type.
Not so common now and usually available on more premium models or as an option on some ranges. In most cases this will be a toughened glass that breaks in small but roughly even sizes pieces like car windscreens. There is no denying that glass oozes a quality over any plastic alternative. From it’s rigidity and glossy appearance to it’s heaver weight, it just says so much more. Generally that’s the reason why it’s still sought after buy some buyers. Perhaps a choice for a more affluent or prestigious location. Negatives are it’s breakability.
b) Acrylic / PETG
Sitting in the middle we have acrylic, which may also be known as Perspex. Acrylic has a superb clarity rating and has a higher impact resistance than glass. However it may chip. Many manufactures have turned over to PETG, a high performance plastic which is even stronger. PETG has seen use as machine guards, and areas where safety and security are of concern. Generally cheaper to produce than polycarbonate, but a good alternative in a wide variety of environments.
Polycarbonate is an incredibly strong plastic, often a prime choice for security screens. In most cases it’s unbreakable and this of course is a huge bonus where vandalism is concerned. It achieves it strength by actually being softer than other plastics, but that softness is used as an energy absorber. The softness can be a negative point when it comes to the surface, as it can scratch more easily. Modified polycarbonate adds a harder, more scratch resistant layer to combat this. It should be noted that some visual damage can occur to the sheet, but breakage is rarely a problem. Polycarbonate is not quite as clear as say acrylic, but it may be the better choice for some applications where vandal damage is regular.
3. Certified Water-Proof?
Some outdoor notice boards have actually been certified as water-resistant (to a certain test level). You will find certain ranges advertised with term IP55 or IP56 certified. While this classification is useful to the potential buyer, it is not essential.
4. Are External Notice Boards & Poster Cases the Same Thing?
That’s a good question, as we don’t think they are. Though it does appear, that both terms can be found in use. So what is the difference? Well, if we use the term ‘Poster Case’ fairly literally. It means a case for a poster. Specifically, a case for a particular size of poster, such as A3, A2 or A0. As the case is built for only one size of poster, it won’t need to hold lots of smaller sheets like A4. So it probably won’t have a backing that you can stick pins into, nor will it have the other option of a magnetic backing.
Instead it will have a ‘poster capture mechanism’. In other words some form of clip, either magnetic clamps, spring clamps or something similar. Usually just fitted to the top & bottom of the board. But without a magnetic or pin board display you can’t mount smaller content. Poster Cases are often cheaper than notice boards because they don’t require the pin board or magnetic backing.
So if you want to display multiple A4 sheets for example, you need an external notice board.
Dual Purpose Boards
There are also some cross-over boards that combine both functions. Notice Me has such a board, it’s called the “Neptune 3”. This clever design actually has three ways of displaying information, hence the ‘3’ in the name. 1) A poster capture mechanism, 2) A magnetic backboard (for use magnetic pins) & 3) A dry wipe backboard that you can write on with standard dry wipe pens. It brings together a well specified ‘poster case’ with an economy priced ‘external notice board’.
See it here Neptune External poster case
5. Installing Your Outdoor Notice Board
Most outdoor boards do not ship with fixing screws. The reason is there are many types of material that the board could be mounted to. For example it could be a wooden structure in a park, a concrete building, breeze block or any other type of substance. We don’t know how deep the mounting surface is either. Now, as different surface materials take different screw types and lengths, we would have to supply a whole box of different options to cover all possibilities. That would add cost and wastage. So you will need to obtain screws and washers appropriate for you installation point. However the units are pre-drilled on the back wall of the board. Usually one hole in each corner, tucked away from view as much as possible.
6. Post Mounted External Notice Boards
Many of our outdoor notice boards have a post option. Visually there are two placement options, behind the board or to the left and right of the board. Which type are employed is governed by which board you purchase. However the board with the left & right solution, do look much more professional. Of course this may also still be a matter of personal preference. Fortunate there are a variety to choose from.
Additionally there are also further choices of post shape, i.e. square, round or oval. Along with choices of colour. Again the choices available will be limited to the board you choose. Some of our boards, the Professional range for example, have connecting posts. These allow multiple boards to be connected in a line. For example a row of two external notice boards can be connect with three posts. i.e. one double connecting post in the centre and two standard posts at each end of the row.
7. Mounting to Your Own Posts
Can I buy a weather-proof notice board and mount it on to my own previously installed or existing posts? The easy answer is yes. But you won’t find them in our online store. It is worth explaining what is involved to make this possible. You will need a fairly strong backboard that can support the weight of the whole board. The backboard by the way is simply the rear panel of the notice board. On budget outdoor boards these are sometimes made of thin plastic, so will definitely not be suitable. Incidentally, plastic backs are perfectly acceptable when wall mounting, as they do not usually support the board. Additionally, the wall serves as part of the general & weather protection. Another point is that economy models do not always have rear seals. Having a backboard with it’s own weather seal is preferable when the rear of the unit is exposed. So we have to move at least one step up in quality when it comes post mounting an external notice board.
In order for the board to be attached to the posts we need to fit two sign rails horizontally across the backboard. Sign rails are simply lengths of aluminium channel designed to work with sign clips. Please see the images below which really help to explain how it works. The benefit of this system is that it allows the sign clip to slide along the rail and be secured at any point. To sum up, providing the board with it fitted rails, is slighter wider than the width of your posts, it can be attached. Equally you can fit your board at any height. As a matter of fact it’s design also allows for most post diameters because the clips are available in different sizes. Additionally, for small showcases, it allows for attaching to a single post. A very clever, but ultimately a very simple idea that work really well.
We can supply this system on a select range of our exterior notice boards, as a special order. Please contact us for a quote.
8. Fence Mounting
Fence mounting can be achieved using the same sign clip method as above. It is though important to select the correct size of clip that will fit through the holes in your fence. Once again two signs rails will need to permanently connected to the rear of the notice board. Where applicable the rear back panel may need to be upgraded to a metal back if the default wall mount version uses a plastic one.
Sign clips are not always supplied as we will not know the structure of your fence and it can be difficult to supply the correct size. As the clips are a very common connecter, they are easy to obtain from hardware stores or from places like Amazon & ebay etc.
Our Sirius range (see example here) ships with a better system. These boards use a clamping bar with bolts, plus the sign rails for an esasier soloution. We can tailor make the bar to fit your fence.
9. Orientation – Which Way Up?
It may seem like a simple choice as to which way up you should mount your notice board, but there are some important considerations to make. Some models like our “Professional range” have condensation drainage holes. Condensation can gather in the board and certain designs aim to dispel this as quickly as possible. The drainage holes are mounted at the bottom of the board when the board is used in it intended orientation. If you use the board turned round those holes will no longer be at the bottom and of course water does not travel upwards.
There are further complications of changing the orientation when it comes to the door. Let’ say you have purchased a board that is designed to be used in portrait, let’s also say that when used that way it has the door hinged on the left. Ok, so let’s now say you wanted to mount it in landscape, and you want the hinge at the top. Well you now have a door that has no supports or door stays. In other words there is nothing to hold the door open while you change your notices. If that is something your staff would do, then the health and safety aspect comes in to play. As well as the simple fact that it makes the job considerably more difficult.
Turning the board away from it intended orientation could also affect the distribution of you documents. There will be either less or more items per row, and in some cases wasted space (depending on what you are displaying).
It is therefore wise to consider the orientation before you purchase. There is usually a diagram to indicate the orientation, how the A4 sheets fit into the size and where the door is hinged. This is a superb and very useful visual guide. On the Notice Me website, you will find these diagrams included amongst the product photos.
10. Notice Board Colours & Style
For many people a weather-proof notice board simply serves a purpose, to display messages outside while keeping them dry. The aesthetes are not a driving concern. If you are on a tight budget, then style, colour and even materials used are probably not at the top of your list. In this case look for silver anodised aluminium frame, as these generally remain the lowest cost option.
However the colour choice situation is slowly changing and I will return to that point later. But let’s consider some of the options and where they may be a more deciding factor. We shall also learn that those options can be taken further if you have sufficient requirement.
The frame colour of your exterior notice board can enhance and draw attention to the messages it contains. For example a bright red frame could be used for health & safety notices. Other bright colours can also draw attention and are especially suited to schools, nurseries, child activity centres etc. There are greens which are great for tennis, football, parks, nature reserves. Additionally you can choose colours which blend in or compliment their environment. To sum up, there are many reasons why colour can be important when it comes to buying your next external notice board.
Equally important can be the internal colour, of course here we are referring to the fabrics on pin board display models. Many exterior showcases allow at least a basic choice of four felt colours. However many go much further. I hinted on this earlier, as a number of lockable notice boards now have a much wider spectrum of colours to chooses from. For example the Defender model gives you a fantastic choice of 18 loop nylon fabric colours! In the same fashion, careful consideration of the internal colour can greatly enhance your messages.
The world of colour is catching up with exterior notice boards, with both the frame and the interior fabrics having more & more choice. For example, take our “Sirius” range, this low-mid range outdoor notice board, now has a choice of 17 different frame colours. Including two wood effects! This allows the buyer the option to select a reaonably priced board that will more accurately suit it’s surroundings or intended purpose.
I mentioned earlier that if there is sufficient need, things can be taken further. For instance, the frame on some boards can painted or powder coated to your preferred colour by specifying the RAL number. RAL is a colour matching system used throughout Europe, where a (RAL) number identifies a particular colour. There are 1625 RAL colours. More than enough for most people. But importantly, enough to get close to a school, college or corporate main colour. Establishing a continuity of colour infers a more professional impression. While attentional to detail can imbue a sense of reliability. Specifying a RAL colour is limited to a certain brands of external notice board and will of course command a higher price and lead time. Ultimately though this is decision for the buyer to consider, but it’s good to know it’s there.
Here is a sample of the colours available on the Sirius models.