ALWAYS compare Letter and / or Number WIDTH. ALWAYS compare Edge Distances. Our widths vary and are given. Our smallest Edge Distance is 1.5″ and that’s on our Individual 4″ Letters and Numbers. Scroll down or take a look at our Blog titled; Finding The Best Parking Lot Stencils. Our stencils are all made from Low Density Polyethylene Plastic…the best. All Pavement Marking Companies buy. They also have the biggest Edge Distances and are “readable”. The width of each letter size is nicely balanced with it’s height. The spacing between each letter is generous. They’re easily cleaned and certainly re-usable. ( Pay less…get more. ) All of my own, personal stencils are made from the 125 Mil thick material. But…for occasional use…the 60 Mil thickness will serve you well. I’m Dan Zurcher and I’ve been striping roads, parking lot and floors for 26 years. Last…if you don’t see something you need…click; Contact Me. I’d like to help. Thanks in advance.
1) The material that the stencil is made from.
2) The thickness of the stencil material.
3) The “overall dimensions” that the stencil offers.
So…first…referring to #1…
All of our stencils are manufactured from a plastic called; Low Density Polyethylene ( LDPE ). I cannot say that “all” pavement marking companies use LDPE, but most do. And, I can say that all of my own, personal stencils, which are 26 years old, are made from this same LDPE. It’s durable. It’s also flexible. The flexibility allows us to bend it, so the dried overspray can peel off. ( They’re easily “cleaned”. )
There are (2) common material thicknesses; thick and thin. The thicker material is 1/8” and the thinner material is 1/16”. Here’s how we say it…1/8” is for professional use. 1/16” is for occasional use. If you’re just starting out, the 1/16” will serve you well. And / or…if there’s a stencil you need and will probably never use again, I’d choose this thinner, 1/16”. Accordingly…if it’s a stencil you’ll use throughout your career such as a Handicap, maybe consider the thicker, 1/8”. ( Unless money is tight. ) Call me, we can talk more.
( Here’s where manufacturers try to save money and squish things down…all over. )
Last…the “several dimensions” category; the most obvious is “Edge Distance” ( ED ). The smallest we have is 1.5” and that’s on our 4”, individual letters and numbers. ( 4” “Worded stencils” have 2”. ) 12” Worded stencils have 3” etc. Be careful of three things here: if the stencil has a 1” ED, overspray will be an issue and the strength is semi compromised. Also…it should also cost less than ours.
Another category of “several dimensions” is width of the letter. Yes, I can make the 24” letter 8” wide. But, you need to be OK with that. ( Picture that. ) ( 24″ x 12″ is a great balance and easily readable. ) Don’t get me wrong, sometimes there are standards. But, when you see a 12” Worded stencil using 6” wide letters…that’s fine, it may still be “readable” on the ground. But, it should cost less than our 12” Worded stencil using 8” wide letters simply because less plastic is being used.
Next…spacing between the letters. Just take a look. If it looks good and is readable “at speed” you’re fine to buy. “At speed” in a fast food restaurant may be around 5 to 8 MPH…? Yes, you can read the stencil. Spacing is mostly seen on the larger Worded stencils. In other words, for a 36” STOP with 16” wide letters, we use a 3” and 5” spacing, between letters, simply because it reads nicely. It’s balanced.
The last category is “Brush Stroke”. This is the width of the actual “stems” of the letters. In other words…what size paint brush would you use to paint the “S” or the “T” ? ( I wouldn’t “paint” a stencil. I’d “spray” it. ) If you say a 3” wide paint brush…then that brush stroke is a 3” brush stroke. Our 36” STOP Stencil, with a 16” wide letter, ( 36” x 16” ), uses 4” and in places, a 7” brush stroke. ( The top of the “S” fans out. ) It looks nice. It’s balanced and can be seen at speed, which may be 10 to 15 MPH. Yes, we use more plastic but our prices are still in line.
Bottom line…take a look at our stencils. Compare. When you shop around, if you don’t know the material, thickness or overall size, be careful. And…if the material thickness is much thinner, it should cost much less. I understand buying a very thin stencil for a (1) time use, even if it “flutters” but not if it costs the same as our .060”, 60 MIL.
I hope this all helps. I know it’s just a stencil, but I also know it’s associated with your career. I’ve been striping parking lots and streets for 25 years. Some of my own, personal stencils are that old. If I can answer any questions or help in any way, let me know.
Here’s our “return policy”. Our policy is; no returns on, what we consider, custom work: Companies, Names, Logos, certain fonts etc. Those simply cannot be “re sold”. ( No one really re purchases; JIM PARKS HERE ! …or…MY RESTAURANT. )
Next…we also have a 40% restocking fee if that stencil is deemed, by us, to have a specific use, alteration or font.
Most are returnable but, we’ve just not had that happen.
I hope I helped.
Call me. Let’s talk.