Everything To Know About Buying a House Sign

House signs, and signage in general, are an important aspect of any home or business. They serve as a way to identify one property from another, not to mention give a first impression that counts. In this blog, we'll explore the key elements to ensure you get it right when it comes to choosing a house sign, and everything you need to know before you buy.

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Guide Contents

1. A Brief History of House Signs

2, What Does a House Sign Do?

3. What Makes a Good House Sign

4, Types of House Signs

5. What is the Best Material for a House Sign?

6. Where to put a House Sign

7. Common House Sign Jargon

8. What to Expect From a House Sign Company

9. How to Order A House Sign online

10. Postage Times & Production Costs

11. House Sign Ideas


First and foremost, let's look at how house signs came around and the important role they play in the day-to-day running of your home. It's hard to specifically pinpoint a time when the first house sign came about, but what we do know is that they have been around for many centuries. Earliest dates go back to ancient civilisations such as Greece, Rome and Egypt, where they were commonly used to make the entrance of public buildings and businesses. These signs often featured inscribed symbols and decorative features and were typically made from stone, wood or metal. 

Fast forward to 1708 and we can see the first instance of a street being numbered in the UK, which according to the Postal Museum, was Prescot Street (pictured below) in Goodman's Fields, London. This was the start of house number signs as we know them today and also the start of the address system.

  • Prescot Street was the first street in the United Kingdom to have a numbered address system
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By being visible from the road, a house sign makes it easier for delivery drivers, family and friends to find your home. Some experts even suggest that a well-presented house sign can add value to your home and make a first impression that counts.

While a house sign is something we can take for granted, they do also play a crucial role in assisting emergency workers to identify and reach your property, which can be crucial should time be of the essence.

On a more aesthetic note, a good-looking and stylish house sign gives a welcoming first impression to your home and has even been highlighted as a factor which can improve your kerb appeal should you be looking to make a property stand out and wish to make it more attractive to buyers or renters. It can also give a welcome insight into its previous history and use of a property, with common names including The Old Tavern, The Old School House or The Forge often giving a glimpse into the property's former use.

Personalised house signs can include more than just a house name, as it can be a way to express your personality or style with the use of fonts, colours, images and even the family name of the occupants on the sign.

  • Having a slate house sign helps delivery drivers, family and friends find your home easily
  • a what3words plaque on a business directions road sign
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It's always best to have at least a simple idea of what type of sign would be best suited for your property. Some things to consider are:

• LOCATION - where is a good place to put the sign where it is easily visible to anyone looking for your property? Next to the front door, or on an outward-facing wall are the most common places to put a sign.

• SIZE - once you have a location, make sure you have the right size to fit your desired space. The smaller your sign is, the harder it is to read from a distance. But if your sign is too big, it may not fit in the space you wish to install it.

• MATERIAL - this is a personal choice, but it's best to get something which matches your property. Rustic welsh and natural slate house signs are more suited for older properties with more character. While smooth slate and granite are ideal for properties with a more modern and contemporary appearance.

• TEXT/FONT - ensure your text is well-spaced, even over a couple of lines if need be. In terms of fonts, you want something which is clear to read, as squiggly fonts can be hard to read.

• COLOURS - depending on your property colours and personal taste, the colour of the text infill you choose can make all the difference. For easy readability, white is the best option. But other colour options include silver, gold, copper, grey and red, depending on your personal taste.

  • engraved slate name plate with cursive lettering
  • grey slate house sign with the number 9 and chestnut road engraved into the surface and then painted white
  • grey slate wall sign with a line border and the house name engraved in white
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The term 'House signs' is a pretty general term used to describe the name plaques people put outside of their homes or property. However, in reality, there is plenty of different types of signs which are available.

HOUSE SIGNS - the standard sign with the name of the associated home or property. Sometimes includes a house number, but can just be a name too.

HOUSE NUMBER SIGNS - ideal for flats, apartments and busy high streets, house number signs tend to be a simple number for a particular

NAME PLAQUES - usually these just include the name of the house or property without a number.

WOODEN POSTED SIGNS - these signs are popular in rural countryside homes. They are often signs, usually made out of wood or slate, erected a foot or two off the ground

FARMHOUSE SIGNS - often made from wood, farmhouse signs have a rough and rustic appearance, often displaying informal messaging, quotes or sayings.

DIRECTIONAL SIGNS - often used to point towards an entrance or a particular part of a property. Typically as the name suggests, these signs have an arrow to point people in the right direction.

BESPOKE SIGNS - these tend to be something out of the ordinary, and often involve a personalised design or logo.

  • bespoke welsh slate house sign with logo
  • business logo sign made of slate
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Generally, slate is considered the best option for a house sign, but other options include granite, wood, ceramic and acrylic. Here are some of the pros and cons to consider when choosing the right material for your home.

SLATE - the most popular choice as it is a great allrounder in terms of appearance, functionality and price. Slate looks stunning and holds up well in all weather conditions. It's a natural resource, which has been used for centuries. It also has a wide range of customisable options, such as the type of slate you use and the paint infill colours you choose.

• WOOD - also giving a natural appearance, wooden house signs are popular in rural England. However, it is prone to weathering both in the wet winter months where it develops small cracks, as well as in the hot summer months where they tend to fade. Generally, wooden signs, even when treated, will need to be replaced after a year or two.

GRANITE - another popular stone, commonly used for modern and contemporary homes. Slate is, quite literally, rock hard and has a glossy surface which it keeps all year round. A slate sign would last and looks stunning. The only downsides are that the price is on the higher end of the pricing scale, while its paint and customisation options are slightly more limited when compared to slate.

• CERAMIC - giving a delicate and quaint appearance, ceramic signs give a vintage appearance. They have been decreasing in popularity in recent years, but are still a viable option. Over time they tend to fade, and unless they are hand painted, they have a lower price point too.

• ACRYLIC - these house signs look modern and are highly customisable. they often have a backplate made out of aluminium or another sheet of acrylic. Although they have a less premium look compared to other options, they can be relatively well-priced. However, those with an eye out for the environment and single-use plastics will certainly look into the other more natural options mentioned above.

  • Welsh slate house name sign on wooden posts.wooden posted welsh house sign
  • a rectangular granite house sign with a customers house address engraved and painted white on it. The signs reads The Old Surgery
  • a house number sign for a doorway with the isle of man trio leg emblem
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Where do you put a house sign?

The best place to put a house sign is in a position which is clearly visible from the street or a road. The most common place to find a house sign is next to a front door or on the porch so it is clearly visible to anyone looking to find the property. 

If your home is set back from the road, a wooden posted sign can be ideal, to situate the house sign at the entrance of your drive, in your front garden or even on a fence post.

Something to consider when it comes to choosing a location for your sign is how visible it will be in low-light conditions such as in winter, as well as the height of the sign so it is easy for people to see and read.


Common house sign jargon

There can be a lot to take in when it comes to house sign shopping, especially in terms of the different finishing options and materials available. To make sure you get exactly what you want, here's a rundown of some of the most common terms you'd likely come across when looking for a house sign and what they mean.

• Engraved Slate - This is quite simply a slate sign which has been hand engraved with a sandblaster with your personalised text. The engraving is usually 1.5-2mm deep and lettering can be painted to give greater contrast between the slate and the numbers.

• Etched Slate - This is done using a laser etching machine which lightly discolours the face of the slate to show the text. The text comes out as an off-white colour against the dark slate stone.

• Smooth Slate - This is a type of slate which has a smooth honed finish. this gives a more modern and sleek appearance to the sign.

• Natural Slate - Also known as riven, this type of slate hasn't been honed so it has all of the original textures and creases in the face of the sign. This gives it more character and a rustic appearance.

• Welsh Slate - Similar to natural slate, welsh slate has a rustic appearance along with a distinct chipped edge finish. As the name suggests, this type of slate is mined from Welsh quarries and is popular to .

• Hidden Fixings - This is a set of fixings which allow for your sign to be attached to a wall without any screws of bolts being visible. you can read more about how to install a sign with hidden fixings on our blog.

Still have some unanswered questions? Don't worry, we cover even more on our most frequently asked questions page.


What to expect from a house sign company

When buying anything online, it's always best to do a bit of background research before buying a product or service. When it comes to a house sign provider, here are some top tips to make sure you get exactly what you want and avoid any unexpected surprises.

Always check reviews, as they can give you a great indication of not just the product, but the service which a company offers. Some things to look for, are:

• Are the reviews indicating that the products are as described?

• Are there concerns about material quality?

• Are orders created and dispatched quickly?

• Does the manufacturer have good customer service?

• Does the product arrive well packaged?

• Is the company easy to get hold of?

A company should champion their reviews, good or bad. Often companies have a reviews page which pulls in their most recent reviews, or you can find reviews by looking at associated reviews sites such as Trustpilot or Google.

It's also important that the company is actively replying to customers and their needs. Make sure they have a company email address and a contact us page on their site. You don't want to be left stranded if you have a query or an issue with your order.

If you're conscious of your environmental impact, check to see how environmentally focused a company is and what sustainable practices they have in place. Are they actively looking to reduce their carbon footprint, lower emissions and reduce waste? It all is a sign of a well-intentioned company.


How to order a house sign online

When it comes to ordering a sign online, the process is a relatively simple one. You can see a selection of house sign templates which can be edited and personalised with your text and style. A live preview will be visible as you make edits, allowing you to see how your sign appears as you go. 

Once you have chosen your size, text, font and other customisable options, add the item to your cart and check out as you would with any online purchase. From here your sign will be handcrafted to order to your specific requests and dispatched to your requested shipping address. It is that easy!

If you need help ordering online, be sure to read through our How to Personalise a House Sign guide.


Postage costs and production times

Once you've purchased a sign, the next key question is how long will it take to arrive? The time it takes to produce a sign varies from company to company. but for The Bespoke Sign House, generally, you can expect to receive your sign within 14 days of purchasing (the festive period can be longer). You can stay up to date with your order progress with our order status tracker on your website.

All our UK signs are posted using Royal Mail Tracked 48 as standard, but faster express options and other couriers can be chosen too.

You can read more about our postage times and production costs for your region on our blog.


House sign ideas

Now you have everything covered! But maybe you're still in need of a bit of inspiration for your new personalised house sign. Whether your house is a modern townhouse or a Georgian classic, there's a perfect sign for every home.

From personalised house signs with unique designs to beautiful homes with stunning door signs, you can see a range of styles in our bespoke sign gallery. You can also see some more unusual designs and ideas on our quirky house number signs page.

If you have an idea, but don't quite know how to make it come to life, or have a question about a potential sign for your home or property, contact us as we can help you create the perfect design for you.

Shop our house signs

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