Restoring the Glory: Refurbishing Signs

First impressions are vital to attracting new customers.  A fresh makeover may be needed if foot traffic has slowed down or if operation costs have increased.  If your old sign is simply failing to meet your expectations as a business owner, don’t be left behind. Refurbishing your sign can improve the image and perception of your business.

Refurbishing signage plays an important role in revitalizing a business, shopping center, or theater.  Re-branding a business often requires a refurbished sign.  For customers, renovations indicate store vitality and growth. For employees, working in a modernized and well-branded store can improve team building and generate more enthusiastic workers and future employees.

Signage plays a big role in remodeling. While updating stores may be costly, dollars invested in refurbishing signs can dramatically increase the perceived value of your brand.

4 Reasons it May Be Time for a Sign Upgrade

Many deciding factors lend to refurbishing a sign.  When evaluating signage options, knowing what image and message to communicate is key.  50 percent of consumers report failing to find a business due to unclear signage.  Does your existing sign display what type of business you are? Is it visible and easy to read?

First impressions are important in business.  Here are a few factors that should help decide if the image of your business needs a facelift.


All signs will experience normal wear and tear over the years.  Colors will fade away and rust will take over the exterior.  Signs can be damaged with strong winds or by an accident.

While the old sign is being refurbished, make sure to put a temporary banner out front. You don’t want customers to forget who you are.


Cities and neighborhoods change over time.  Population increases often give way to modernized amenities.  A two-lane road becomes four lanes which means an increase in traffic.  More customers are now riding past.  Upgrading your sign to be more prominent on a busy street will help get their attention.

Companies often move to new locations and want to adapt to the surrounding environment.  The most visible adornment on the exterior of the building is a refurbished sign.  When a company moves into spaces of previous buildings, it may require a change in the size of their previous sign.

A New Identity

New owners trying to lead their companies in a different direction often rebrand their messaging with a refurbished sign.   New logos and color schemes are created. Some businesses that are known in the community just want a more modern appearance.  The most cost-effective way to achieve this is with an updated sign.

Energy Usage

All business owners keep track of operating costs.  One of the main costs associated with having a sign powered by electricity is the amount of energy used to operate it.  An outdated sign can affect a company's bottom line.   Depending on the upgrades of a refurbished sign, energy usage can decrease and thereby lower costs.

Restore. Refurbish. Renew.

When existing signs are unsightly, inefficient, or not up to code, the first choice is often to get rid of the old sign completely and start over.  Refurbishing can be a cost-effective option.

Opting for a refurbished sign means the use of less material.   Permits are added costs for installing new signs. Refurbishing a sign may allows you to bypass some permitting processes that are necessary if you order a new sign.

Cost-effective Refurbishing Methods

If the option of replacing a sign does not fit the budget, there are cost-effective ways to give a business a cosmetic upgrade.  Some refurbishing methods are as simple as painting on a new color; there are others that require more detail.

Retrofitting to LED

LEDs are a better option than older forms of lighting due to their durability, increased safety, and reduced environmental impact, not to mention energy savings of up to 80 percent.  A report from listed LEDs as the most promising technology for reducing energy consumption.

LED retrofitting consists of replacing old lighting, such as incandescent and fluorescent lights, with LED lighting.  LED  modules are often installed to improve light quality. In addition to signage, LED retrofitting can also be applied to parking lights, street lights, and canopy lighting.

Rebates and incentives are offered to help offset the costs of LED retrofitting. Incentives for renewable energy and efficiency vary by city and state.

Channel Letters

Channel Letter signs are the most frequently used signage in shopping centers. There are many lighting and color options available for various effects.  Letters can be individually mounted or attached to raceways that are painted to match the wall color.  Channel letters are a very economical way to promote a company’s brand.

Refurbished Sign Faces

An updated sign face gives the appearance of a new sign for a fraction of the cost of installing a new one. Updating a sign face consists of removing old graphics, lettering or logo, and replacing it with a fresh look.  This cost-effective method can save time and money.

Sign Repositioning

Sign repositioning is another cost-effective way to direct traffic to a business. On the road, where motorists often have five seconds or less to process the messaging of signage, visibility and readability are crucial. With the right placement, your sign can stand out among your competitors.

Refurbish or Replace?

Completely replacing the old sign with a brand new one  may be the best and only solution for your signage needs.  If the costs and time required to remove an existing sign, gut the old electronics, and add new lighting exceed the cost of a new sign, then replace it.     Improvement in the appearance of a business’s image along with an increase in sales will be worth the extra cost.  In addition, a new sign will have a new warranty to accommodate maintenance costs.

There are other reasons for choosing to purchase a new sign rather than refurbish an existing one.  Some of these include:

  • Cosmetic options have run their course and no improvements will help give your sign a fresh look.
  • The costs of parts, labor, and refurbishing outweigh the cost of a new sign.
  • The damage to a sign is irreparable.
  • New business ownership or mergers
  • Change in city codes
  • Condition of existing sign

Before purchasing a new sign, every business owner must know the answers to the following questions:


Is the exterior sign style you are interested in allowed in the city where your business is located?

Most cities have sign permitting requirements. You can find these by researching the city's website or using local signage professionals.  There are restrictions on the types of signs allowed, the size sign you can have, and types of lighting.

How long will the sign last?

Different signs have different lifespans. Remember, nothing lasts forever, especially in advertising. Name changes, logo changes, mergers, and other scenarios create the need for a new sign. Also consider whether the sign can be modified, moved to a new location, or refurbished later on, if needed.

Will the sign create enough Return on Investment?

There is no doubt that signs offer a great ROI on your advertising budget.  The amount of ROI will be determined by the sign’s visibility, overall design, energy efficiency, and maintenance costs.  Consulting with a sign professional will offer suggestions on the advantages and disadvantages of sign options.

Is the selected exterior sign style/design going to generate new business?

Keep in mind what your business brand is and how you want it to be perceived by the public. Are you an accounting firm or attorney looking to attract quality clients? A boutique looking for hipsters? A grocery store looking to attract customers away from the competition? Your signs should reflect your brand and product.

The Choice is Yours

Deciding to refurbish an existing sign directly affects the bottom line. There are many cost-effective solutions available. This is where a sign professional can assist in laying out the best and most budget-friendly options.

Replacing or upgrading signage can be challenging and requires many steps. Consulting with a sign company that is knowledgeable about the latest trends, approaches, and strategies in commercial sign refurbishing will help the success of any business.