What Is The Difference Between A Free Standing Sign And A Monument Sign?

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What’s the difference between a free standing sign and a monument sign? Signage is fundamental to a business’s identity and visibility. It’s often a customer’s first impression and is crucial in attracting foot traffic. When visiting a commercial area, you will see a variety of signs. Some stand tall and proud, while others blend in with their surroundings.These two distinct types of signs are free-standing and monument signs. 


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The main difference between a free-standing sign and a monument sign, is the design and placement. A free-standing sign is a standalone structure, often taller and highly visible. While monument signs are constructed at ground level. They are typically shorter and integrate with their surroundings—such as low walls or pillars. 

What Is The Difference Between A Free-standing Sign And A Monument Sign?

The type of sign that is best for your business will depend on its purpose. Let’s dive into the unique characteristics of free-standing and monument signs to decipher which format can help you achieve your business goals. 

Free-standing signs

As the name suggests, free-standing signs are standalone structures designed to display a business’s name, logo, or promotional message. They are typically large and placed near the road or entrance, making them highly visible to passersby. Free-standing signs are versatile and highly customizable.

Monument signs

Monument signs are ground-level structures and aesthetically pleasing way to showcase business names. They are known for their permanence and elegance.

Design and Structure

Free-standing signs come in a wide range of designs and materials. Depending on the placement and design, manufacturers can use wood, metal, acrylic, or other materials to allow for customization options. From traditional post and panel signs to sleek and modern designs, these signs can complement any branding.


Custom monument signs are distinct in design, often made with durable stone, brick, or concrete. The goal is to create a structure that blends with the architecture and landscaping of the area while prominently displaying the business’s name and logo.


Location and Placement

Choosing the right location for a free-standing sign is crucial. You can place these signs close to the road or at the entrance of a property to maximize visibility. Their placement should consider traffic, pedestrian access, and local regulations.


You can strategically place monument signs at the entrance of a business or along driveways. Their low profile and integration with the landscape make them ideal for creating an impressive entrance. However, zoning regulations and permits may impact where you can install monument signs.


Cost Considerations: free-standing vs. monument signs

Free-standing signs are generally more budget-friendly. Monument signs can be more expensive due to the materials used in their construction. 


Maintenance and Durability

Both free-standing and monument signs require an extent of maintenance. However, free-standing signs may require more cleaning and repairs. While monument signs can withstand the test of time with minimal upkeep.

How often do monument signs require maintenance?

One of the advantages of monument signs is their durability and relatively low maintenance. However, like any outdoor fixture, they still benefit from periodic upkeep to ensure they continue to make a lasting impression on visitors.

Routine cleaning

The upkeep of monument signs largely depends on environmental factors such as climate, pollution levels, and foliage around the sign. A routine cleaning schedule of approximately once or twice a year is sufficient to keep your monument sign looking pristine.


Routine cleaning involves removing dust, dirt, bird droppings, and other surface contaminants that can accumulate over time. A gentle pressure wash with mild detergent and a soft brush or cloth is usually all needed. Avoid harsh chemicals or abrasive scrubbing, which can damage the sign’s finish.

Inspecting for damage

While cleaning, look for any signs of damage or wear, such as cracks, chips, or faded paint. Addressing these issues promptly is essential in preventing further deterioration. If you notice your sign requires minor repairs, it’s still best to call a sign professional or maintenance personnel to ensure it remains in optimal condition.

Landscape maintenance

In addition to the sign itself, consider the landscaping around the monument sign. Overgrown plants or weeds can obscure the sign’s visibility and aesthetic appeal. Regularly trimming bushes, trees, and grass near the sign can help maintain its prominence and ensure it remains an eye-catching feature.

Seasonal considerations

Monument signs may require more attention in regions with extreme seasonal variations—such as harsh winters or scorching summers. Snow and ice accumulation can be heavy, potentially causing stress on the sign’s structure. Similarly, prolonged exposure to intense sunlight can lead to fading or weathering the sign’s finish.


To mitigate these seasonal challenges, consider implementing protective measures, such as installing snow guards or applying UV-resistant coatings. These proactive steps can help prolong the life of your monument sign and reduce maintenance.

Professional maintenance

For larger or more complex monument signs or more clarification about the maintenance required, consult a professional sign maintenance service. A monument signage company can assess the condition of your sign, recommend appropriate maintenance procedures, and perform any necessary repairs.


Choosing the right sign for your business

Choosing between a free-standing sign and a monument sign can be challenging. The difference between a free-standing sign and a monument sign lies in their design, purpose, and placement. 


Free-standing signs are versatile, cost-effective, and ideal for businesses with high visibility and customization requirements. Monument signs are known for their elegance and permanence, making them an excellent choice for businesses aiming to create a lasting impression.


When deciding which sign type suits your business best, consider your location, budget, and branding goals. Both free-standing and monument signs can contribute significantly to your identity and marketing efforts. Still, the choice ultimately depends on your specific goals and requirements.


Investing in the right signage is an investment in your business’s success. Whether you opt for a bold, free-standing sign that grabs attention from afar or a sophisticated monument sign that adds class to your entrance, ensure your signage aligns with your brand and captures what your business represents.


Remember, signage is not just a sign; it’s a statement. It’s the first chapter of your business’s story that customers read. Make it compelling, make it memorable, and make it uniquely yours. If you need to design and install a monument sign for your storefront or business establishment – contact us now.


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