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Northcoast Signworks uses a variety of quality substrates and finishes to produce durable and impactful dimensional signs. Many factors go into our recommendation, including aesthetics, durability, longevity, and budget constraints.

High Density Urethane (HDU).

This man-made substrate has been used as a wood substitute in the housing industry for over 30 years, and most exterior millwork on new buildings is created out of HDU. The scarcity and low quality of redwood as well as finding a product to withstand the expansion and contraction associated with natural products in colder climates makes HDU our most commonly recommended substrate. Since HDU does not expand or contract appreciably, the paint cracking and failure normally found in wood signs does not apply. This material is available in almost any thickness. It is easily carved and sculpted, and it can also be beautifully painted and finished for a variety of looks and effects. Looking for maximum impact?…It’s a no Brainier!

Exterior PVC

This material is the work horse in signage.  Because of its economical cost and versatility, we are able to achieve many different looks, from painting it and applying vinyl graphics, to carving the substrate and even adding dimensional pieces. Knowing it will out last the highest grade of any MDO, (exterior plywood), out there. This is  the ideal material for both short and long term signs.


DuPont’s solid surface substrate is normally associated with countertops as a alternate to real stone for good reason.  It’s less expensive and more flexible than stone. That same reason translates into signage.  With a wide range of colors and effects, Corian can be the prefect choice for that special sign you’ve been looking for.  If you are looking to “stand out in the crowd”, let us help you in designing your sign in this material that will make you one of a kind!

High Density Polyethlene (HDPE)

This is a common recycled plastic substrate which consists of three layers; a colored  top layer, contracting core color and colored bottom layer.  Carving through the first color into the core color creates the graphics and lettering of the sign.  The substrate is highly UV resistant and virtually indestructible which makes it an ideal material for vandal prone areas. It is also used in areas where our clients want to “set it and forget it” because of its zero maintenance properties.  This isn’t your Grandpa’s plastic anymore!