What are Foamboard, Gatorboard, and Falconboard?
You’ve probably seen a number of our signs that seem to be named after animals. What’s that about? What are these different “boards” you keep seeing?
Foamboard, Gatorboard and Falconboard are all inexpensive, lightweight signage options that are similar in a lot of ways, yet distinctly different in construction.
Let’s talk about them in a little more detail so you can see the construction and benefits of each type of board. Hopefully, this will give you an idea of which of these is best for your signage needs. Perhaps you’ll find that several of them will work. Perhaps none of them will. Either way, this way you’ll have the information you need to make that decision.
Just as it sounds, foamboard is made of foam. Specifically, the core of the sign is foam and surrounded by printable white paper surfaces. The printing on the surface is done in high-quality UV ink, in full color.
The core of foamboard sign is rigid, and it has a bit of giving. That said, it’s best not to try bending it too much – it’s prone to creasing or snapping.
Foamboard weighs about a pound per 7 ½ square inches. That means you can get a reasonably large sign without adding too much weight, though larger signs are more prone to damage from bending or snapping. The standard thickness is 3/16”, but it can be made at a custom thickness․
The lightweight makes them versatile and safe for everything from businesses to schools to social gatherings. Better yet, the material is inexpensive.
On the downside, foam board doesn’t handle weight particularly well. It is prone to denting and other damage if stored somewhere with weight on top of it. The material is also not waterproof, and its light weight makes it susceptible to moderate winds. As a result, it is not recommended for outdoor use.
Like foamboard, gatorboard is comprised of a rigid polystyrene core at a standard 3/16” thickness (and also like foamboard, that can be altered if you contact us). Looking at a foamboard and gatorboard sign side-by-side, you might not notice a difference.
That’s because the difference between the two isn’t in appearance, it’s in construction quality. Gatorboard is notably more durable and solid in its construction than foamboard, yet maintains its printable surface and relatively light weight.
The best way to think about Gatorboard is a much higher-quality foamboard. Foamboard is generally a temporary signage solution, but gatorboard can be used for two years or more if cared for properly.
Of course, gatorboard is pretty tough, but it isn’t invincible. It’s still a good idea to keep weight off of it and moisture away from it. It is more resistant to both forces than foamboard, but too much of either will cause damage.
Being as gatorboard is a stronger, more durable version of foamboard, it’s also a bit more expensive. But it’s still a much more affordable option than aluminum or acrylic signage.
Also lightweight and versatile, falconboard is unlike the other two in that it isn’t made of a polystyrene foam. It’s actually made of thick paper in a honeycomb pattern. You would think that would make it weaker, but it’s actually far more resistant to bending and snapping than either foamboard or gatorboard.
Falconboard is ½” thick and is frequently cut into custom shapes in order to give it an impressive three-dimensional effect. They can be printed on both sides and uses the same high-quality UV ink that is resistant to scratching and fading.
Falconboard is another low-cost option that is a great choice if you’re looking for something with a little more character than standard foamboard. It’s printable and looks great when contour cut (foamboard and gatorboard cannot be contour cut, they can only have halo-style cuts). It’s only slightly heavier than foamboard, it is much more rigid.
While a popular option is to get falconboard signs with drilled holes for hanging, the unique three-dimensional nature of falconboard allows it to also be effective as a free-standing sign.
Because of the paper core construction, falconboard is highly susceptible to water damage, and should under almost no circumstances be used outdoors. Like foamboard, falconboard is generally best for temporary displays, as it is light and prone to damage.