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Address Plaques: Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why are well-designed address plaques important?

A.

Address plaques are one of the most important identifiers of your home/office/facility. Not only do these help visitors and postal carriers locate you, but these play a crucial role in ensuring help reaches you during an emergency. It is, therefore, important that you install a well-designed, easily readable address plaque of reasonable size at a location where it will be readily conspicuous.


Watch this video for more information on how address plaques can be best designed.

Q. Are there any regulatory requirements that address plaques must meet?

A.

This can vary across states and jurisdictions. For instance, the California Building Code requires address signs to be illuminated and prescribes the requirements specific to number/letter sizes, sign placement, etc. Clearwater, Largo, and St. Petersburg cities in Florida have their own municipal codes to regulate the visibility of house numbers and impose fines for violations.


In the absence of a nationwide code or regulation, it may be best to consult your local authorities when installing address plaques to ensure utmost compliance.

Q. Do 911 address plaques have to be a certain type?

A.

911 does prescribe certain minimum standards specific to address plaques to guarantee ease of visibility. These include the mandatory requirement for all principal structures to display house numbers such that the bottom of the house number sign is at least one foot off of the ground.


The house number sign blades have to be a minimum of 4” and a maximum of 9” in height. The lettering shall be a minimum of 3” high in reflective material and in contrast to the sign’s background color. 911 also requires that obstructions, including but not limited to snow, be removed to ensure the sign is visible for a distance of not less than 50 ft in both directions. The number plaques can either be mounted flat on the wall facing the addressed street or no more than 50 ft from the edge of the street shoulder, whichever is closer to the street.


These are some general requirements and the 911 standards may vary across locations. Please be sure to check what applies to your situation.

Q. Should house numbers be displayed horizontally or vertically?

A.

There is no standardized rule for this but many governments require or recommend that address numbers be displayed horizontally. This may be because numbers put together horizontally are easier to read as compared to a vertical display. It should also be noted that the alignment of the numbers should match that of the sign. Horizontal numbers on vertical signs or vice versa should be avoided.


Your local jurisdiction may or may not have a specific rule about this, and we recommend that you check with them. You may also refer to our guide that covers some basic aspects of displaying address numbers.

Q. How should I decide the size of my address plaque?

A.

Getting an address plaque that’s just the right size is extremely important. There are a few things you may consider when figuring out the perfect plaque size for your situation. Small address plaques measuring under 4”x12” or 6”x12” may work fine for smaller places that often do not have driveways, such as apartments, rowhouses, etc.


Standard address plaques may be a good option for houses smaller than 3,000 sq ft or ones that are less than 50 ft away from the curb. For bigger properties, you may need more than one standard plaque or get an estate-size option.

Q. Where should address plaques be placed?

A.

Address plaques should be placed such that people don’t have to struggle to locate them. You may opt for wall plaques or their lawn counterparts but install them where the address will be visible from the road/street in front of the property. Where the house is too far from the road, the house number should be displayed on the mailbox.


It may be a good idea to paint your house number on your driveway on the side that faces the moving traffic, especially where there are chances of vehicles being parked in front of the mailbox, hiding the address. In the absence of a mailbox, a lawn/yard plaque may be installed.


It should also be ensured that the address plaque is near a light source to be visible at night, or you may invest in a reflective sign for your address. Additionally, care should also be taken to see that the plaque, whether wall-mounted or installed in a lawn, yard, or curb, is not obstructed by things like plantation, trees, debris, etc.

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