Methods and Techniques for Installing a Freestanding Sign, Including Post and Panel Signs

You have just acquired a Post and Panel Sign and need installation guidelines. Whether a Freestanding Sign is made of metal, plastic, or wood makes little difference to the assembly process. This article will describe the Direct Burial Installation Method for signs no larger than 4 feet in height and 8 feet in length.

Gather all of the required equipment and supplies before beginning. Here’s a rundown:

Post-Hole-Buster, No. 1

Metal Spud Bar or Digging Bar

Three Sturdy Ground Pins

Indicating Tape, No. 4

5. Level at or Above 24 Inches

The sixth item is Sakrete, or a comparable product. Average Weight Per Hole: 40 lb.

7. A wheelbarrow or a five-gallon bucket

Axe Eighth

9. Water

First, you must put up your sign and gauge the space between its left and right uprights. With this information, you can determine where to dig the two holes.

Second, find a good spot for your sign and use a stick to establish its exact center. To ensure your character is oriented correctly concerning a sidewalk or street, you must also measure the distance from the sidewalk or road to the center of your holes. Mark the centers of the holes with ground stakes if you want your sign to be perpendicular to the sidewalk or roadway, and then use your line of sight to verify that the holes are drilled in the right direction. Make necessary changes. Setback requirements from the right-of-way are typically outlined in local sign rules, so it’s essential to research this in advance.

Third, dig your holes to a 24″ to 36″ depth using your digging bar and post-hole digger. Since more minor signs (up to 2′ x 3′) don’t bear much wind load, they typically need a 24″ deep hole. Holes more profound than 30 to 36 inches may be required for more prominent signs (up to 4 feet in height and 8 feet in length), depending on the soil. You’ll need to dig a deeper trench to prevent your character from ever moving again. If you are on a slope, you must dig a deeper hole further up the hill to keep the sign upright.

Next, line up your level across the top or bottom of your sign panel and put your sign into the holes. If your character is not upright, you can adjust it by raising one post, placing some earth beneath it, and rechecking the level. If more soil is needed, add it. If you need to add excessive dirt, you can fix the situation by digging the opposite hole deeper.

Fifth, combine water and concrete to the desired consistency in a wheelbarrow or bucket. To simplify things, you could only mix 20 pounds at a time. If you need water far from a faucet, you might fill a camping-style water jug in advance and bring it to the construction site. A level placed vertically on the front or back of one pillar and the post tilted forward or backward until the level indicated it was perpendicular to the ground is the first step in ensuring your concrete is level. Next, fill the hole with concrete while ensuring the post remains upright. Move over to the other spot and do the same thing there.

Finally, use the round end of your metal digging bar to pack the earth back into each hole. The next step is to tidy up your sign, place it where you want it, and admire your hard work!

The book’s author Dan Royer has been running a Sign-A-Rama franchise out of Lexington, Kentucky, since 1991. His company uses the techniques described here to create and install post and panel freestanding signs. Please visit their website at

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