6 Helpful Installation Tips From An Installation Expert

Installing signage is an important aspect of communication and is critical for conveying information and promoting products or services. Installation requires preparation, communication, and a skilled hand. We spoke with Christian Lewis Jr., Operating Manager of Lewis Sign Company LLC in Slate Hill, New York, to gather insights into the trade. Lewis has over 40 years of experience in the industry.

Established in 1924, Lewis Sign Company LLC is a family-owned and operated business serving the Hudson Valley region. As a full-service sign company, they offer design, fabrication, manufacturing, and installation services to businesses and organizations in the area.

Read these six installation tips to make the installation process easier to deliver your customers a beautiful sign installed right.

Man smiling in front of a lift truck

Lewis Sign Company

1. Communication, Communication, Communication

Clear and effective communication is pivotal to achieving a successful installation. It is no surprise that communication is essential for installing signage, but information may be overlooked. A lack of information can cause delays or even installation errors. Ask for precise, detailed work orders. This ensures that everyone has the right information to choose the tools needed. Without good communication, there is a risk of installation failures.

"Demand good clear precise work orders that show where the sign is going to be located. You would be surprised at how that can be a problem. Installation failures often occur around poor communication. Not only with your client but between your salespeople, fabricators, and installers. All too often on the morning of the installation, paperwork is handed to the installer who has never seen it before only to discover multiple roadblocks". - Christian Lewis

2. Ask The Right Questions To Prepare For The Installation

Make sure you are asking the right questions before setting a price. Inquire about the sign, installation site, and the area around the installation.

Some questions to be answered.

  • Was there preexisting signage?
  • Can I receive a copy of the schematics of the building?
  • How heavy is the signage? Is it illuminated signage?
  • Where is the sign going to be installed?
  • What is the installation surface made of?
  • What about the area around the installation?

Most time should be spent on the front end of the process, and it requires preparation. If there’s limited work on the front end, it can cost both you and your customer time and money.

Ladder in front of fireplace installing signage

Lewis Sign Company

“We once had a competitor who installed a sign on a building and drilled into an internal scupper, that is a gutter inside the building rather than outside. I don’t know if they realized they did it but, they hung up this large box sign on the front of the metal building. Everything was fine until it started raining. And the water came through the scupper and followed the bolt that was holding the sign up and filled the sign up with water, just like filling an aquarium up. It blew the breaker, and we were called into service it.” - Christian Lewis

3. Expect Obstacles

When it comes to successful signage installation, clear communication is crucial. Even though there is a well-thought-out installation plan, approach every job as a potential risk. By anticipating challenges, you can better prepare your team to overcome obstacles. Consider factors such as how to get the sign inside, where to park the truck, or how to access higher floors with a ladder. With forethought and preparation, you can overcome the challenges for a successful installation.

“We once had a set of interior letters for a hospital that were shipped to us. They were cut plate aluminum letters [flat cut metal] in a vertical format. We get there and put the pattern up in the right location but the tile. No one had ever reviewed the type of tile it was – they used an imported ceramic floor tile on the walls, and our drills weren’t touching it. It was a horrible battle trying to drill through the tile. We didn’t realize what tile we were getting involved in.” - Christian Lewis

Good sign installers figure out a way to overcome obstacles, sometimes on the fly. That could mean visiting several hardware shops to track down enough drill bits, to burn through, to complete the installation on a very difficult substrate.

Lewis Sign Company

4. Use The Right Tools For The Job And Stay Up To Date On Safety Training

Finding the right tools for the job can take time. When you find them, lean on them. A few go-to tools Lewis shared:

  • Use professional-grade drill bits made in the USA.
  • Gorilla tape.
  • Find the right bucket truck or man lift to get you and your team safely in the air for exterior installs.
  • Stock the installation trucks with a variety of fasteners for all installation scenarios.

It is essential to have the right tools for the job and provide proper safety training. Safety is paramount. Each state has occupational safety standards that should be followed to ensure the safety of you, your team, and those around the installation site. Following best safety practices will help keep your team safe during an installation.

“Gorilla tape has ten times the holding power of duct tape. Save your employees out on the field so much time and frustration by providing gorilla tape rather than duct tape.” -  Christian Lewis

Close up of a hand holding up signage to place in wall

Lewis Sign Company

5. Use Installation Patterns

No matter how simple a project can seem, use high-quality installation patterns. Patterns can ease the installation process and provide your team with a seamless and accurate installation.

Perfect weather conditions to install signage may be hard to come by. If you face wind or a light rain shower, wrinkled, torn, or dirty patterns can directly impact the spacing and mounting locations. Using quality installation patterns can set your team up for a successful installation that meets the customer's expectations. Also, it never hurts to take a step back to ensure that the signage is evenly spaced, level, and free from spelling errors.

Learn about Gemini’s mounting patterns in Gemini Product Guide. Gemini Product Guide is in Partner Portal. Request or check your access today to unlock the Gemini Partner benefits.

6. Finally, Leave The Space Like You Were Never There

Installation can be disruptive for your customers and cause messes. After installing the signage, always clean up after a project for both interior and exterior jobs.

Drilling into walls can leave a coating of dust and particles on chairs, desks, the floor, and more. And digging holes can cause a huge mess. Do not rely on your customers to do the cleaning. Cleaning up will not only provide a great final picture of the installation but impress your customers.

“A good company leaves the space clean, if not cleaner when they leave. When we do an interior install, I always bring a vacuum with me. For exterior installations, I use plastic sheets to collect dirt so when we’re done, we pick up the spoils.” - Christian Lewis

Lewis Sign Company

Successful installations can have a positive impact on the business or organization. With these installation tips, quality tools and good communication are the recipe for a successful installation. But, starting with quality products makes an installation more fun and easier to complete.

With any installation, starting with a quality product from the beginning aids in an easier installation process. With a name trusted for 60 years, Gemini’s made-to-order signage solutions and components are made to last as we stand behind our craftsmanship with an industry-leading lifetime guarantee. Discover how Gemini’s quality sign products can help you grow your business.


Gemini is a wholesale manufacturer of solutions that identify, direct, and protect the world. For 60 years, Gemini has been an industry leader producing made-to-order dimensional signage, plates, plaques, cast bronze memorials, industrial protective cases, and plastic parts. Gemini is a second-generation family-owned business headquartered in Cannon Falls, Minnesota, with production facilities throughout North America. For more information, visit geminimade.com.

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