Porcelain vs. Baked Enamel Signs – What’s The Difference?

When shopping for signs, most customers ask a few basic questions – how much will these cost? How long will they last? What material do you recommend? But we also often we get asked by our customers, what’s the difference between a baked enamel sign and a porcelain sign? Although they share a few similarities, such as being durable, Stonehouse Signs typically recommends baked enamel signs over porcelain signs in most instances – here’s why.

Production Method

The production method to make Baked Enamel Signs and Porcelain Signs is very different. Baked Enamel Signs are created by combining a substrate, such as aluminum or steel, with a base coat and screen printed message, then baking it to produce a high performance coating system that will perform indoors or outdoors for years to come. Porcelain Signs, however, are made by applying layers of powdered glass to a steel substrate, then using intense heat to fuse them together in a very time-intensive process.

Production Time

Baked Enamel Signs are typically quick to produce. At Stonehouse Signs, we make our Baked Enamel Signs in-house, and can usually get our signs out in five business days or less, as quick as we can make signs on any other material. Porcelain Signs however, due to the very time-intensive process, take much longer to manufacturer and ship, typically a month or more. So if you’re looking to get your signs quickly, Baked Enamel would be the better choice.  

Durability & Cost

Porcelain Signs are expensive – they typically cost two to three times as much as the same size sign using our Baked Enamel process. And although Porcelain Signs have a long expected lifespan, at 30 years expected outdoor life, if you do a cost-benefit analysis with Baked Enamel’s 10-plus year expected outdoor life, both types of signs end up costing about the same per year of use. And both are expected to last a decade or more.

What Our Experts Say

As for why Stonehouse Signs’ recommends Baked Enamel Signs over Porcelain, take it directly from our experts!

Becky Roche, our Sales Manager, says: “Stonehouse Signs has been using baked enamel screen printing systems for over 40 years and we are one of the few remaining manufacturers for that type of product.  The reason is simple, it is the most sensible combination of outdoor durability and price!” 

A Stonehouse Signs Account Manager adds: “Our baked enamel and UV ink process stands the test of time. There are 20 year old baked enamel on steel Stonehouse Signs that have been outdoor at a local municipal water supply lake for 20 years that are still performing at a fraction of the cost of porcelain.”    

Of course, there are a few instances where a porcelain sign may be recommended over a baked enamel sign, however as sign materials and production methods continue to advance in quality, those instances are becoming fewer and fewer.

Interested in hearing more about Baked Enamel Signs? Contact Stonehouse Signs today for more information or to place your order.

Since its founding in 1863, Stonehouse Signs has produced high-quality visual communications solutions for various industries and the government. The company specializes in custom products for safety, information and accident prevention, and manufactures a full line of safety signs and facility signssafety tags, vinyl safety decals, and custom magnetic whiteboards designed for extended outdoor life, harsh environments and demanding applications. For more information contact Stonehouse Signs today.

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