If you are in the process of buying a new house sign, one of the materials you should give real consideration to is natural Granite. Granite is a natural rock, hewn from quarries in giant blocks and cut and sliced into use-able sizes and then amazingly polished.
Granite is one of the hardest rocks worked by man, so hard indeed that until fairly recently it was quarried and worked in only a few places in the world, places where the masons were renowned for their toughness, in the UK the two most famous granite working regions were Scotland and Cornwall, any visitor to either of these beautiful regions wishing to see evidence of the durability of granite should take the time to visit local churchyards! OK I may be weird but to see granite headstones and memorials still in almost perfect condition after a hundred years or more is amazing!
Once upon a time, Granite was only used on prestige building projects or the most expensive memorials but now with the advantage of modern diamond tools and new engraving techniques this wonderful material is becoming far more widely available and affordable.
The most obvious attribute of granite is of course its hardness, an engraved granite house sign will be incredibly durable, pretty well impervious to wind and rain frost proof and highly resistant to the corrosive acids in our city atmospheres, and UV light has no discernible fading effect. However granites are not just hard, they can also be quite beautiful, though the traditional Cornish and Scots granites, mainly greys and pink can be a bit dull many of the imported granites from Europe, Africa and South America are truly stunning. Blue pearl, and Emerald pearl are particular favourites of mine but probably the smartest granite for house signs is Zimbabwe black granite engraved and finished with gold.
Most house signs are made from highly polished granites, the house name or number inscription deeply cut into the face and then coloured with paint or gilded with real gold leaf.
There are however one or two other factors you need to consider, the method of engraving and finishing the house name or number will affect the amount of maintenance work needed over the lifetime of the sign. The most popular method of colouring the engraving is to use a professional signwriters paint, these paints have been designed for the job, the best of these paints were developed specifically for the memorial trade and will give many years of good service, furthermore they are relatively easy to touch up in later years.
Gilding, the traditional method of inlaying the engraved letters with 22ct gold leaf is also used, the gold leaf is in some ways harder wearing than paint as the gold is more resistant to the natural elements but gilding is a very skilled job and will always cost more. Furthermore should the gilding need restoring this cannot easily be done in-situ, the sign will have to be removed and re-furbished in a workshop.
Don’t be put off by this talk of repair and refurbishing, both the painted finish and the gilding will last many years , and it is only these that will eventually need some restoration, the actual granite will keep its polish and colour and the engraving will remain unchanged and readable for a lifetime.
For ultimate durability have your sign engraved deeply in relief but without a paint finish, this will last a lifetime and has the added advantage that it will always come up like new when be cleaned with a pressure washer.
There is one other factor that needs to be considered, is a granite house sign suitable for your home?
It may be actually a disadvantage that a granite sign will always look very smart, and this may not suit everyone’s home, this is not to suggest your home is not nice, just that if you live in a stone cottage or a or a traditional brick terrace you may want to consider a more rustic material such as slate stone or timber.
So to sum up, a granite house sign will always be beautiful and durable asset, and as long as the style and smartness suits your home should always be on your list for consideration