Sandblasted wood or HDU?

Aug 30, 2022 | Sandblasted signs

sandblasted HDU sign detailWhen people think of sandblasting, they often think of sandblasted wood such as redwood, cedar or mahogany. However, due to current global conservation efforts and pandemic shortages, these woods are costly and hard to find.

Fortunately, there’s an alternative.

Although wood is the popular substrate, there is another material that is a better value, just as durable and, amazingly, looks more like wood than wood! What’s more, we can carve it, rout it and paint it, the same as, or better than, wood. It’s become the preferred sandblasting surface. That product is High Density Urethane, also known in the sign industry as HDU, or sign foam. The next time you see a sandblasted or carved sign, look a little closer. You might be looking at HDU.

Below are photos of a recently sandblasted HDU sign for an area school. Included are examples of the sandblast process, starting with a thinly wired template that we use to blast textured grain patterns. Next, a photo of the blasting progress. Last, the finished sign after painting. Looks like wood, right?

Sandblasted wood or HDU?

When considering a new custom sign, consider the pros and cons of both substrates: wood, with its traditional use, warmth and appeal, seems like a logical choice. It can be stained while HDU cannot. However, wood isn’t as durable as HDU. Further, wood is heavier than HDU. This is important when considering how a sign is shipped, mounted, hung or otherwise presented. And, as mentioned, HDU is well-suited for carving, sandblasting, routing and painting. Fact is, HDU can be used instead of almost any other material.

In summary, consider these HDU features when deciding which substrate you choose:

  • HDU is always available and a better value
  • It’s waterproof
  • HDU looks exactly like wood when finished
  • It’s tough, surviving temperatures from -30 to 200 F
  • HDU does not decompose, rot, or crack
  • It’s environmentally friendly and saves trees

Contact us at 970-221-5519.

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