When building outdoor bulletin boards for your school, church, community or homeowner’s association, these ten simple features will make your message center more usable, project a professional image, and most importantly, provide long-lasting, easy maintenance.
Larry Kontny, Secretary Treasurer of the Magnolia Terrace Homeowner Association in Mont Verde, Florida, made the mistake of purchasing poor quality bulletin boards last year.
“The back rotted out of the first bulletin board we purchased”, said Kontny, “and water got inside, and of course, the water and the humidity ruined all the letters.”
Water and humidity is a major concern for folks who live in this community of 130 home sites about 20 miles west of Orlando.
“Anyone who has lived in Florida knows of the heavy thunderstorms during the rainy season. This new one I just installed is much better constructed, and the frame is much stronger than the earlier one we purchased.”
1.Use an anodized aluminum frame that has a moisture barrier backing and silicone sealant.
“The first board we purchased had a particle board backing that sucked the water up like a sieve”, said Kotney. “The letter board warped and became spongy.”
2. Shatter-resistant door windows prevent injury and liability. Vandalism or kicked up stones from a passing truck can cause a cheap window to break.
Do not use glass, safety glass, or acrylic for the door window. Use a polycarbonate brand like Lexan or Makrolon SL.
3. Make sure that your door windows and posting surface have a UV inhibitor which cuts down on the destructive effects from sun rays. Some automotive part stores sell clear UV glass tinting film that can be applied to the window.
“The sun rays caused the enclosed cabinet to heat up like an oven. The board facing the southern exposure faded in months and some of the letters melted and got brittle”, said Kotney. “We’re going to have to replace that one too.”
4. Louvered vent caps should be installed on the cabinet’s sides to dissipate any heat build up or ambient humidity. The vent caps should be screened to prevent insects like spiders or wasps from entering the bulletin board’s cabinet and nesting.
A louvered vent also stops condensation from fogging up the door window by preventing a temperature differential.
5. Lockable doors secure access to the posting surface so postings are official.
“One morning I came out to find some kids had rearranged the letters to spell a profane message.” said Thomas Keane, past president of the Limestone Acres homeowners association in Wilmington, Delaware. “The neighborhood association was not amused.”
6. The door frame should have full length piano hinges to support the weight of the door when opened. Using just a couple of small hinges will wear out quickly and fatigue the aluminum case frame.
7. The door frame should have a rubber gasket seal to prevent vertical rain from seeping through the gap.
A tight door frame is important especially for residents on coastal areas that experience strong vertical winds.
8. The cabinet should be at least 3-1/4″ depth. This allows room to add extra letter panels, chalk boards, dry erase boards or bulletin boards.
These extra types of panels make your community message center very versatile and allows creativity for holidays or different occasions.
9. A name header can be included on the display cabinet or sign pediment. A name header provides identity and recognition for outdoor bulletin boards.
10. Make sure the cabinet comes with a one year manufacture’s guarantee. Any problems due to improper materials or assembly are going to happen during the first year’s exposure to the elements.
Kontny says he appreciates his new bulletin board that was supplied by a reputable manufacturer free of charge. “I like it, they didn’t have to do it”, says Kontny of his new bulletin board. “In fact, we will be replacing another one soon, which has been destroyed by the sun’s rays, and I’ll be getting another one just like this because it’s easy to maintain.”