Wood vs. HDU

  • When it comes to sandblasted (dimensional) signs, you have two choices. Wood or HDU Foam. It’s important to know the difference between the two so you make the right choice for your project.
  • HDU Foam (High density Urethane) is a man-made, synthetic foam product. It is manufactured to be a “closed cell” material, so it won’t absorb water like wood does.
  • Wood is a 100% natural product that, by its very nature, withstands exterior elements.
  • Since HDU is a “closed cell” material, it will resist warping and rotting that can occur with wood.
  • Wood is much stronger and more dense than HDU foam. Using Western Red Cedar, has a typical density of 23 lbs. Most signs made out of HDU foam is 15-18 lbs.
  • HDU foam is limited as to the length you can get. It comes in a maximum length of either 8′ or 10′ If you need a sign that is 10+ feet in length, you have to laminate two pieces together on the ends. This lamination seam will begin to show over time as the foam begins to break down.
  • Wood comes in continuous lengths of 20′ or more. Making this much more suitable for signs longer than 10′.
  • When wood is sandblasted, you unlock all beautiful grain and texture of the natural wood. Creating a truly unique and beautiful work of art with each and every sign.
  • When you sandblast HDU you can create two different unique looks. One is a textured surface that resembles concrete. It has a rough, pebbly look. Or, we can use a grain frame to create a “simulated wood grain look”.

Common Myths about wood sandblasted sign

  • Wood signs will warp and crack – If properly made, wood signs are highly unlikely to suffer any structural cracks or warping.
  • Wood signs are not waterproof and will eventually rot. – Wood naturally absorbs and extracts moisture, which makes it a perfect material to use for exterior signs. If the sign is properly painted in a way that allows the sign to breathe and absorb/extract moisture properly, the sign will last a long tome.
  • Wood signs are more expensive that HDU – Many times the costs are not far from the same.
  • Wood signs don’t last as long as HDU signs – If properly maintained you can get more than 25 plus years out of these signs. How the sign is made makes a HUGE difference.
  • Wood signs require more maintenance than HDU Signs. – Anytime you paint something, it automatically requires maintenance. That includes cleaning the sign, repainting the sign, etc. Wood and HDU signs both require regular maintenance to ensure you get the longest life possible out of the sign.