Firehouse Blog


Save Time & Money by Printing Directly to Rigid Materials

paulnewpicIn the past, if you wanted a rigid print for wall mounting, hanging or an easel stand, you would print to paper or vinyl stock, apply and adhesive layer and run it through a mounting press to adhere it to foamcore, gatorboard or a thicker vinyl. But, today’s flatbed printers can eliminate the mounting stage from your projects by printing directly to many rigid substrates. Below are a selection of our most popular options. If you need a specific material, please let me know and we’ll get it.

SBS Card Stock
SBS (Solid Bleached Sulfate), is a high-quality paper board substrate produced from bleached wood pulp. This durable card stock is available in 12pt., 18pt., 24pt. and 50pt. thicknesses. SBS can be printed on both sides. Because of its price point, SBS is ideal for temporary signage. Additional applications include counter cards, tent cards, sign holders and door hangers.

Most commonly seen as yard signs mounted to metal H stakes, corex is a lightweight, extruded polypropylene sheet with a corrugated internal structure. It’s 4mm thick and can be printed on both sides. Corex is a great choice for short-term outdoor graphics such as pole- or wall-mounted signs.

Polystyrene is Firehouse’s most popular substrate for indoor signage. Styrene is a rigid, bright white board available in .015”, .020”, .030”, .040” and .060” thicknesses. Styrene can be printed on both sides and it’s the perfect material for most indoor POP applications.

Foamcore contains a polystyrene foam center laminated on both sides with a white, coated paper stock. That results in a very lightweight board. It is available in 3/16” (5mm) thickness and can be printed on both sides. It’s a great choice for easel graphics, fixtures, short-run standees, tabletop displays and signs.

Gatorboard is a more durable alternative to foamcore. It also contains a polystyrene foam core, but it’s sandwiched with a wood veneer infused with resin for water resistance and strength. It’s available in 3/16” and 1/2” thicknesses and can be printed on both sides. Gatorboard and foamcore are equally suited to most indoor applications, but choose gatorboard for extra durability and dimensional stability.

Expanded PVC Sheets
An extremely versatile material, PVC sheets are much more dense than foam boards. They provide a more durable and moisture resistant alternative for long-term indoor, or short-term outdoor signage. Available in white or black and either 3mm or 6mm thicknesses. PVC can be printed on both sides, and it works well in fixtures, wall mounts or hanging applications.

Clear Substrates
Firehouse offers three clear materials spanning the range of affordability and durability—Acrylic, PETG and Polycarbonate. All are optically clear and will not fade or yellow over time. A blog post detailing clear materials is in the works, so stay tuned.

Corrugated Cardboard
Firehouse prints to white-faced corrugated in two popular thicknesses—1/8” B flute and 1/16” E flute. Corrugated is great for temporary graphics and can be scored and assembled into printed boxes and POP displays.

Paul Meek
Vice President of Operations

Windows that POP!

paulnewpicWindow graphics can be full window coverings with varying levels of transparency, cut vinyl graphics and even isolated graphics on clear material with white ink.

Below we’ve detailed our most popular window materials and applications. There are many more materials available than we can mention here. As always, if a job requires a specific material, we can get it.

Pressure Sensitive Vinyl (PSV)

PSV is an adhesive-backed product that is easily applied to any smooth, clean surface. It is available in white or clear and with a permanent or repositionable adhesive. There are also numerous textures and patterns to provide options for privacy screening. Our frosted vinyls mimic the appearance of etched glass for a fraction of the cost.

PSV is also available in solid colors for cut-letter applications.

Window Cling
An 8mil, non-adhesive material primarily used for temporary window advertising, temporary product markings, POP displays and protective masking. Easily removable and repositionable. Can be first- or second-surface mounted.

Window Perf
An ideal product for one-way visibility. This adhesive-backed material has a perforated dot pattern that allows enough print surface for graphic readability outside with minimal restrictions on light transmission and window viewing from the inside. This makes it the perfect choice for storefronts, restaurants and office space.

Double-sided Window Graphics

The above products are well-suited for single sided window graphics. But, if the situation calls for double-sided graphics, Firehouse has a few options.

Stoplight (AKA Blockout) is a smooth-finish paper stock coated on both sides. It has an internal light-blocking layer which makes it ideal for double-sided window applications. Firehouse can add a window adhesive coating to the finished prints.

Firehouse prints to several thicknesses of polystyrene sheet. The .020″ thickness has the opacity needed for double-sided displays. Again, a window adhesive will be added to the printed boards for mounting.


Paul Meek
Vice President of Operations

Banner Basics

paulnewpicFirehouse prints with a wide variety of technologies onto numerous materials. The options can be daunting at times. So, we decided to create a series of blog posts breaking down our most popular products to better explain the differences in material and application. Our first post covers one of our most popular products – banners. Banners are an affordable and eye-catching form of indoor and outdoor advertising for retail products, sales announcements and special events.



Standard Vinyl Banner (13oz.)
Our most popular banner material is also known as scrim banner. It contains a polyester mesh, or scrim, that provides an internal support structure to give the material needed strength for outdoor applications. The scrim pattern only allows for single-sided printing. Standard banners can be hemmed with grommets or pole pocketed.



Blockout Banner (13oz.)
Also known as smooth banner, this option does not contain a scrim mesh which provides a smooth surface on both sides. That results in a trade-off. Smooth banner allows 2-sided printing, but it’s not as durable as scrim banner and is not recommended for outdoor applications. It’s the ideal choice for banner stands, trade show graphics and ceiling banners. It contains a light-blocking layer so 2-sided graphics will remain opaque even under bright lights. Blockout banners can be hemmed with grommets, pole pocketed or installed in pop-up banner stands.



Outdoor Blockout Banner (18oz.)
The best of both worlds, our 18oz. banner contains a scrim mesh for outdoor strength, but it’s also smooth on both sides to accommodate 2-sided printing. Outdoor Blockout Banner also contains a light-blocking layer for opaque 2-sided printing. For long-term outdoor banners, this is your best option. Outdoor blockout banners can be hemmed with grommets or pole pocketed.



Mesh Banner (8oz.)
A solid choice for outdoor banners where strong winds may be a factor. Mesh banners are perforated to achieve an even airflow through the material while maintaining enough print surface for excellent printability. Mesh banners are single sided only. Mesh banners can be hemmed with grommets or pole pocketed.



Fabric Banner (180g)
Firehouse fabric banners are produced on our dye sublimation printer. This provides an amazing color range and durability. Dye sub color is so durable that the banners can even be machine washed. Fabric banners give a premium look and feel. They are also non-reflective, making them perfect for photo or video backdrops. Fabric banners can be hemmed with grommets, pole pocketed, installed in pop-up banner stands or aluminum stretch frames.


Paul Meek
Vice President of Operations