Firehouse Blog

Products

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
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.

Styrene
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.

 

13ozbanner

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.

 

supersmooth

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.

 

outdoorblockout

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

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.

 

fabricbackdrop

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

When is a Bargain NOT a Bargain?

PaulPic

You generally get what you pay for. But, when you want inexpensive, rigid graphics, are they really a bargain? The answer is, “it depends.”

Firehouse’s least expensive rigid material is foamcore. It’s very popular because it’s lightweight and works great for many applications. So, when the job calls for rigid graphics on a budget, foamcore is usually the winner. That’s fine, but there is more to consider. The characteristics that make foamcore an attractive material also make it difficult to ship. Simply put, foamcore is easily damaged in shipping. It flexes, creases and dings. To help foamcore survive the trip to its final destination, we have to really beef up the packaging. We sandwich foamcore sheets inside 6 layers of corrugated cardboard to add rigidity. And, because corners are so easy to ding if the package is dropped, the box and corrugated sheets are several inches larger overall than the foamcore they protect. We often use what we call tube boxes that have a corrugated cushion on each side. All of that leads to a larger, heavier box with more filler.

Foamcore IS an inexpensive material, but consider this example. The packaging for a foamcore sign is roughly 6 times the cost of the sign itself. Unfortunately, corrugated cardboard isn’t free. We have to pass those costs on to our clients.

That doesn’t sound like a bargain any more. The alternative?

Packaging

An upgrade in your print material can allow us to downgrade the packaging. Switching to gatorboard or PVC sheets gives your graphics a much higher survival rate in shipping, and because they are more rigid and durable, all that extra cardboard isn’t needed. Another factor to consider is where the graphic is to be displayed. If it will be exposed to heat or direct sunlight, foamcore may have difficulty in that environment. Gatorboard and PVC are more stable choices there too.

So, the next time a project calls for foamcore, contact us and we can discuss material cost vs. packaging cost. Then you’ll really know you’re getting what you paid for.

Paul Meek
Vice President of Operations