Okay, tell me why this installation won't work.

Pat Whatley

Major Contributor
Most of the kids in my family go to a small private school in the country. It's the kind of place that holds "FAMILY WORK DAY" a couple of times a year to do maintenance projects at the school and the whole community shows up.

They've got an idea to do something a little different with athletic sponsor signs. Instead of the usual sign stuck to the fence they want to do smaller signs on the side of the road that leads from the entrance to the school to the athletic fields and gym in the back of the campus.

Of course the budget for said project is basically nothing which is fine, I'm perfectly willing to donate the original set ups for this.

I don't want to use wood posts because I'm having a horrible time getting good posts right now. Even 10' posts are twisting ridiculously. I priced out steel and aluminum posts but both of those are going to run me close to $100 each. I want to use something that looks a little better than street sign posts.

Enter my idea, and before you think I just pulled this out of my *** there's actually been a lot of thought and research involved. I want to take 12' pieces of 4" diameter schedule 40 PVC pipe and use them as posts (I can get the PVC donated). Since I don't think the PVC on its own will hold up my idea is to dig 8" diameter holes (auger bit size) 36" deep, set the PVC in concrete and let it set up. Then put a 1/2" x 12' piece of rebar inside the PVC and pour concrete into the pipe in stages until the pipe is filled.

The signs are going to be 32" x 48" reclaimed Alumacore panels with digital prints, the posts eventually painted in the school color.

So my question is does anybody see a realistic reason why this won't work? Am I missing something blatantly obvious? Is is really going to be necessary to fill the pipes all the way or do you think halfway up will work?


If you're thinking the concrete is going to expand and crack the PVC I've never had that problem with the ballasts I've made using 6" x 48" PVC with end caps on each end. Would 4" behave that much differently? I can also fill the PVC with polyurethane foam instead of concrete if that sounds like a better idea.
 

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signage

Major Contributor
Is the PVC pie uv stable/resistance? Also what is going to support the upper 78" of pipe? The 1/2" rebar isn't going to do anything above the 30"'s of concrete! Also what if someone looses control of their automobile and hit one what is going to give first the auto or the sign post? If the sing post is found to be to tough you may be found liable! Most road signs have a brake off for this reason. Hope this helps you.
 

Pat Whatley

Major Contributor
Is the PVC pie uv stable/resistance? Also what is going to support the upper 78" of pipe? The 1/2" rebar isn't going to do anything above the 30"'s of concrete! Also what if someone looses control of their automobile and hit one what is going to give first the auto or the sign post? If the sing post is found to be to tough you may be found liable! Most road signs have a brake off for this reason. Hope this helps you.

The rendering doesn't show it but if the PVC is filled with concrete the rebar is there tor reinforcement. If I only fill the PVC halfway then I'll cut the rebar (or not) The road the signs will be on is a 1/2 mile long private drive that's rarely open outside of game nights when traffic moves at about 10 mph. As far as UV stability I don't know, I've never noticed PVC weathering but I haven't tested it long term...it's going to be painted anyway.
 

signage

Major Contributor
Pat I do not think a piece of schedule 40 78" long will be stiff enough to support a 48" x 32" sign! Yes I have seen PVC pipe that was exposed and it got brittle. Now if you went with Schedule 80 you may have enough support but not sure on UV. If you do not fill it all the way to the top make sure you cap it so water doesn't fill it up and freeze!
 

Pro Image

Major Contributor
Why not use the PVC pipe to make 4in forms for concrete post.......Could you do that......just a thought Ive never done it before.......then attach the signs to the post with tap-cons.......
 

1leonchen

Member
PVC pipe is made for above and below ground. it has UV resistant properties. the plan u have will work.i would use the re-bar for extra support. i did a sign double sided 12 feet tall 8 inch pipe 4 by 6 substrate around four years ago still looks great only difference i used a re-bar collum inside and i mixed hydraulic cement for faster hardening of concrete. only thing i recommend is if it is a four inch pipe try to get at least 10 inch wide hole. u can also fill the pipe makes it last a little longer.
 

GB2

Very Active Member
You can get galvanized fence posts very reasonably priced for a similar type installation, which I think would be better than what you propose. I think that PVC pipe idea is unnecessarily complicated for a not very desirable end result.
 

Cross Signs

Active Member
You can get galvanized fence posts very reasonably priced for a similar type installation, which I think would be better than what you propose. I think that PVC pipe idea is unnecessarily complicated for a not very desirable end result.

Why not use a PVC fence sleeve over one of those twisted posts?
 

insignia

Very Active Member
Why not get standard U-channel sign posts, bolt two together to get a 12 footer, drive that in or bury it in concrete, and then just sleeve it in PVC? That way you have a stable, sturdy structure but with the nicer look of PVC you're after.

I'd be concerned that even full of concrete and with rebar in that, this is still going to be brittle. Maybe I'm wrong but just seems that way to me, plus seems like alot of work...

Or set one of these twisted PT 4x4s and just sleeve it with larger dia. PVC pipe?
 

Just Another Sign Guy

Very Active Member
i've got to agree with the comments about this seeming much more difficult than it needs to be for the end result. galvanized posts would be the first thing i looked at or a post and sleeve as mentioned and if i wanted or needed something custom you can always have custom sleeves made similar to what you would do for a small post and panel sign for a bank
 

insignia

Very Active Member
The other concern I have is how you plan to pour mixed concrete into roughly a 3.5" dia. hole 9' in the air without spilling half of it down the pipe and making a mess. Seems like too much work, especially for a donated sign.
 

cajun312

Active Member
I think the pvc fence posts with a 4x4 inside them would work great, easy to add a decorative cap to the top of the post.
 
How windy is it where these are going ? Flat sign on round post seems like it will wiggle back and forth till it tears the screws thru the face. Even with fender washers. I would get 2 u channel post and use a driver to install them and bolt the sign to that. I hate digging post holes almost as much as mixing concrete in a wheel barrow.
 

Gino

Premium Subscriber
I think....... you're over~thinking this one.

The vinyl post covers over 4" x 4"s will work just fine... and you can still paint them as well.

My only thought on your original plan is... an 8" hole doesn't have enough girth for a 4" post and you didn't mention a footer being used. Also, even when cementing, we go down closer to 48".
 

surf city

Active Member
To fill the post with concrete you would use a morter bag, kinda like the same affair as and icing bag to decorate a cake but the tip if the bag would be a bigger hole than an icing bag obviously. problem is it is labor intensive but, if your set on building your post that way then that is the way to go. Personally I would install a 4"x4" post and just sleeve it with fencing PVC as mentioned above, it seems to be the least labor intensive way to go and it will be very stable. Make or aquire a nice brackets so that you can change out the signs whenever need be. Just my 2 cents.
 

John L

Very Active Member
I wouldnt use a PVC pipe filled with concrete either. But, in regards to filling a pipe with concrete... you cut the tip off of an old traffic cone and you use it like a funnel.
 

omgsideburns

Very Active Member
Alumacor will tear through if it's mounted with just a couple bolts in the middle.. We can't even hang it, hooks rip right through it after the wind gets to it.

Oh UFB already said it.
 

Pat Whatley

Major Contributor
Galvanized posts are $99 each

Vinyl post sleeves (around here anyway) only come in 8' lengths and it's next to impossible to hide the seam. Plus I've had posts twist enough to break the sleeves.

After rethinking this I think I'm just going to chance it with the 4x4 posts. They're only about $10, a whole lot easier, and if they warp we'll figure something else out.

Thanks for the thoughts.
 

insignia

Very Active Member
Why not 6x6 posts instead of 4x4s? I know they're more, but not a huge amount (at least around here), they might resist warping more.
 
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