Beyond the aesthetic appeal of which design to choose (and there are many designs to choose from), there are practical aspects of selecting the right address plaque that should be considered carefully.
Address Plaque Size:
The first practical decision is to determine how large a plaque you need. Smaller is usually less expensive, but you don’t want to go too small and end up with a plaque that is hard to spot and/or hard to read from the road. It’s also important to not err on the side of going too large and have an address plaque that is overwhelmingly large once it’s permanently attached to your home.
1. Small (aka Mini). These address plaques are usually less than 12″ wide, and can be as small as 4 – 6″ across. Therefore, they are most suited for use in small spaces and entryways, such as a Townhouse, Row House, Apartment of office. Most MIni plaques are designed to hold a limited number of characters, so they are best for a room or building numbers only.
2. Standard – Standard Size address plaques are suitable for most average American homes. They are readily visible from the street without seeming out of proportion with the property itself. Standard is the most common size, as it fits the needs of most homes.
3. Estate – Larger homes simply require a larger plaque, so the Estate category suits those. These are also useful for homes with a longer-than-average driveway, as distance can become a factor in sign visibility.
How large should my address plaque be?
An easy rule of thumb (although rules are sometimes meant to be broken):
- No Driveway = Small address plaque
- House Under 3,000 sq ft or Less Than 50 ft from the Curb = Standard address plaque
- House Over 3,000 sq ft or More than 50 ft from the Curb = Estate or Lawn address plaque, or Install in standard plack in an alternate location such as at the end of your driveway
Where should I place the address plaque?
Most address plaques are placed on the front-facing wall of the home where it has the most visibility from the street. To pick the right spot, stand at the end of your front lawn and look for a spot that can easily be spotted by traffic coming in both directions and is not blocked by trees or other obstacles. Common placements include above the garage door or beside or above the front door.
Wall mount address plaques can easily be mounted on the house itself, and usually include the hardware required to do so.
Wall Plaques – Most people choose a wall plaque because of its ease of installation and visibility. Plus, you don’t have to worry about trying to landscape or mow around the address plaque when it is safely tucked onto your building wall. Most plaques come with the proper instructions and mounting hardware, however, you must be prepared to do some work to attach a wall mount plaque to any brick or stone exterior.
Wall plaques can also be installed on alternative structures that are closer to the street if your house is more than 50 ft from the curb.
Lawn Plaques – Also referred to as Yard Plaques, these make a statement on their own. Also, slightly more work to maintain around them, they are quite impressive when installed properly. Lawn Address plaques are also more practical when you have an extended driveway (e.g. your house is more than 50′ from the road) and need something that can easily be seen and identified from the street. Depending on your municipality, however, your lawn plaque may need to be raised above the standard 18″ lawn spikes that come with most lawn address plaques… especially in areas that receive heavy snows.
Hanging – Although not nearly as common, due to the uniqueness of their installation, hanging address plaques have a specific aesthetic appeal that cannot be beaten. They also have the additional benefit (usually) of being two-sided, so that the address is clearly visible on both sides.
How Much Detail Should You Include on Your Address Plaque?
The amount of information you include depends on the size of the address plaque and what you want to share. Most common address plaque entries include:
- House Number
- Street Name
- Family Name
Keep in mind that you want the house number to be easy to see and read from the street, so be cautious about crowding your address plaque with other information if it is not necessary.
Most full-sized address plaques have the option to include up to 3 lines of text. However, with each additional line of text added, the font size of the rest of the text does have to reduce to make room.
1 Line – Best for JUST the house number. Simple, clean, easy to read, this is the most practical and most common application.
2 Line – For use with the number and the street name. Although this has a more elegant overall look, remember that this usually makes the number smaller, so if your plaque will be placed a fair distance from the street, you might want to consider sticking with a 1 line version or going to the larger size of the plaque.
3 Line – The least common application, these are usually used to include the house number, street name, & the family’s last name. Although sometimes these can be used for longer street names that require more than your standard amount of characters. I have also seen these used on occasion for a “Welcome To” message when the homeowners want to combine an address plaque with a welcome sign.
Address Plaque 911 Standards
The final – but very important – consideration is to make sure that whatever plaque you choose meets the minimum 911 standards for ease of visibility. These range slightly based on location, but this is a relatively common example of these regulations:
- All principal structures shall have a house number sign containing the address assigned by the County for the 911 emergency call system.
- All house number signs blades shall be a minimum of four (4) inches and a maximum of nine (9) inches in height and the lettering shall be a minimum of three (3) inches high, in a reflective material in contrast to the background color of the sign.
- Obstructions (including snow) shall be removed to permit the sign to be visible for a distance of not less than fifty (50) feet from the sign in both directions.
- House number signs may be mounted flat on the wall of the principal structure facing the addressed street or no more than fifty (50) feet from the edge of the street shoulder, whichever is closer to the street, and the sign is plainly visible from the addressed street.
- The bottom of the house number sign shall be at least one foot off of the ground, so as to be easily discernible from the street.
Check your local by-laws for specifics regarding the 911 House Number Standards in your municipality. This article is meant for information purposes only and is not intended to supersede any local by-laws.