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How to Choose: Foam Core, Gator Board, or PVC Signs

Sometimes choosing what to have your super cool event design or logo printed on can be challenging. And often times you’ll need to juggle cost, durability, print style and practicality of use. Making these decisions can be overwhelming and more stressful than they need to be if you don’t have a firm grasp on what the differences in materials are. Here is a little bit on the differences between Foam Core, Gator Board and PVC signs to help you make a more knowledgeable decision next time.

Foam Core


Foam core is the least expensive of the three and is therefore the least durable. Foam core can be used as backing for art projects and photographs. In printing, images are printed on vinyl then adhered to the outer board with a spray adhesive.

The drawback is that foam core absorbs moisture; as a result, it can warp easily and is best stored flat so as to lengthen the life of your sign. Additionally, the middle or core of the sign can be vulnerable to certain paints and glues.

Given its vulnerability to moisture and warping, foam core is best used for indoor events or for events that you don’t anticipate needing to re-use the signs many times over, like an annual conference or trade show where the logistical info changes from event to event anyway.

Gator Board


Gator Board is more expensive than foam core and less costly than PVC, making it a good compromise for the consumer who wants to save a few bucks but still needs something more durable than foam core. Gator board does not absorb moisture, and so it is suitable for both indoor and outdoor events and placement.

Gator board can be quite rigid and, as a result, is susceptible to cracking. However, if you are careful with the signs and store them properly, gator board can be a good mid-grade investment.


PVC signs are the most durable and the most costly; as a result, they can be considered a semi-permanent and long lasting investment. They do not absorb moisture and are not prone to warping or cracking. As a result, if you are looking for a sign for semi-permanent placement or if you anticipate using the sign several times, you may be better off choosing to go with PVC.

Because of its durability, PVC can be a good choice for a wide array of events both indoors and outdoors.

You should also keep in mind, when choosing which sign board is the right kind for your next event, that in addition to the materials you choose for the base, the printing style and complexity of the design will also impact cost and sometimes durability and life of the sign.

Happy signing!

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