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Learn About Photoluminescent Sign Making Substrates

American PERMALIGHT® | Learn About Photoluminescent Sign Making Substrates

Sign & Digital Graphics Magazine (also known as SDG) has debuted its latest issue which contains an updated 2020 annual index for sourcing rigid substrates for sign making and other uses. SDG is a well-known professional trade magazine among those in the sign-making and digital graphics industries. We’re proud to announce that American PERMALIGHT® is featured on SDG’s list for our photoluminescent rigid PVC and aluminum substrates

Both of our PERMALIGHT® photoluminescent rigid substrates are UL1994-listed for creating signage that is ADA and building code compliant. If you’re wondering what this all means; here is a brief explanation of code-compliant signage, what being UL1994-listed means, what exactly photoluminescence is, and how this all comes together.

What are floor identification signs?

Floor identification signs are the large signs you see in the emergency exit stairwells in multi-story commercial buildings. As the name suggests, these signs clearly and uniformly state which floor you’re on. The nationwide building codes require these signs to be photoluminescent with strict glow-in-the-dark requirements.

What makes a floor ID sign ADA compliant, and what is photoluminescence?

These signs must fit within strict ADA guidelines and building code requirements for them to be considered compliant. This means the signs themselves must be a certain size (minimum of 12″x18″), the text must be a certain color and height, and depending on the occupancy type, must have tactile properties.

The nationwide building codes require the Floor Identification Signs in Paragraph 1022.8 Sub 6 of the 2009 and 2012 editions of the IBC – International Building Code, and in Paragraph 1023.8 Sub 6 of the 2015 and 2018 editions of the IBC.

Sub 6 requires the signs to have photoluminescent technology in the event of a blackout or smoke in the building. Photoluminescence is the technical term for the effect of giving off a glow in darkness after being previously exposed to light. It is also known as “luminous” or “glow-in-the-dark.”

What does it mean if something is UL-listed?

When a photoluminescent substrate (or any other kind of photoluminescent product) is UL1994-listed, it means that it has passed the strict testing guidelines from Underwriters Laboratories for the power and longevity of the luminance (glow) produced and the manufacturer continues to undergo annual retesting and production process control. PERMALIGHT® UL1994-listed substrates, when properly charged beforehand, hold their brightness at the UL1994-listed standard for compliant egress path marking systems, and the brightness only slowly diminishes (but is still highly visible) hour after hour once cut off from its ambient light source.

A long-lasting level of photoluminescence in signage and egress path markings is standard in modern high rise building codes in the United States of America. This is due to their effectiveness in guiding people to safety in emergencies where lighting is obscured by smoke or electricity is cut off completely.

If you are a sign maker who’s interested in producing ADA compliant photoluminescent floor level signs for high-rise building projects, download our official American PERMALIGHT® ADA Compliant Sign-Making guide which illustrates how to create these signs, as well as information on our PERMALIGHT® UL-1994 listed photoluminescent substrates (available in non-adhesive rigid and self-adhesive flexible varieties).

Want to read more about PERMALIGHT® Photoluminescent Printable Substrates? Click here for more information. Have questions about sign making, substrates, need guidance on the perfect substrate for your next project, or want to know how you can place an order of substrates for your next project? Contact us here.

American PERMALIGHT® | Guide & Protect | Since 1988