Help the pizza delivery guy find my house, please
November 12, 2009 2:09 PM   Subscribe

It's hard to see our house number from the street. I want to get a sign or post to put at the end of the driveway. Suggestions?

I'm finding plenty of people on-line who are willing to sell me signs, but they all seem to have rather sketchy websites or else the signs not my style. I don't want a wrought-iron rose, or a horse silhouette, or a Harley Davidson logo, but I also don't want it to look like a highway marker. (I'm not sure what I do want, unfortunately.)

It's important that the numbers be easy to see at night
, and our street is dark. A solar-powered sign would be good but I live in Western Washington and the sign will be on the north side of a hedge, so I can't imagine it getting enough of a charge. Something reflective? Some super-sensitive solar cells? A big rock and a bucket of radium paint?
posted by The corpse in the library to Home & Garden (23 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Home improvement stores have several different alternatives.
posted by yclipse at 2:15 PM on November 12, 2009

Get some masking tape, number stencils, a small paint brush, and black and white spray paint from the store.
Get some newspaper
On the curb, tape off a rectangle large enough in which to put your house numbers.
Paint it black.
Let it dry.
Tape stencil numbers s together and affix over the black spot. Paper and tape off any exposed curb. Paint the numbers white.
Touch up the drips when they dry with more of the black paint (sprayed into a tin) using a paintbrush.
posted by Seamus at 2:21 PM on November 12, 2009

As far as numbers go Thinkgeek sells some cool ones that are solar-powered LEDs. No idea how much sun is required though.
posted by ODiV at 2:22 PM on November 12, 2009

I did this and it is easy to see even on dark nights. If the person has headlights, you need nothing more. Many people pay to have this done, so delivery folks know to look for it.
posted by Seamus at 2:22 PM on November 12, 2009

There's glow in the dark paint if you want to do the stencil/paint thing on the curb.
posted by Kimberly at 2:28 PM on November 12, 2009

If you are feeling extra crafty, you could get some of those cheap solar powered garden lights and replace the amber LED inside with a UV ones. Because you are taking it apart, you could position the solar cells however you wanted to best capture the sun and then use fluorescent paint to put your house numbers up.

The upshot of this is that it's going to look like your numbers are bright neon and floating in space (assuming you use a dark board/post).

You'd probably want to epoxy the heck out of everything electronic when you were done just to make it waterproof, but it might look extra weird and neat.

As for something a bit more elegant, get some brass reverse cut numbers (think brass plate with the number cut out of it) and then put some kind of backlight behind it and place it where you won't run it over. You might need to actually run a wire for this as getting sufficient brightness out of solar lights might not happen.
posted by quin at 2:31 PM on November 12, 2009

Response by poster: A quick note: there's no curb. Just hedge, then dandelions-and-woodchips, then the street.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:38 PM on November 12, 2009

Then I would stencil it on the top half of a square paver (cheap and big box store).
Then I would plant it in the ground near the edge of the street.
You would be able to easily trim around it and if it were well placed, it would not get in the way of mowers.

I am a fan of the low tech solution, I guess.
Solar powered LEDs scream "Take Me" to little hoodlums like I used to be.
posted by Seamus at 2:44 PM on November 12, 2009

Locally the fire department here sells reflective signs that attach to a post or a mailbox for just this purpose (and also to make it easier to find you hidden from the road house in case of a fire), you might want to check with them.
posted by HuronBob at 2:51 PM on November 12, 2009

Why don't you just put up a mailbox with reflective numbers on the sides?
posted by torquemaniac at 3:15 PM on November 12, 2009

Plunk a tall rock in front of the hedge with your house number painted on it.
posted by zippy at 3:19 PM on November 12, 2009

Response by poster: torquemaniac: "Why don't you just put up a mailbox with reflective numbers on the sides?"

Our mailbox is on the other side of the street.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:20 PM on November 12, 2009

There are other options too.
posted by slavlin at 3:38 PM on November 12, 2009

Some further questions:
1. Where? Attached to the house itself, or at the property line near where the curb would be?

2. Illuminated or no? (Also do you have/could you install exterior power source to plug into?)

3. How high? Do you want the numbers to be at chest-height, waist-height, knee-height or ankle-height?

4. If you want the numbers at the property line near the non-curb, it seems like your options are:
-Largeish object (stone, wood stump, barrel etc) sitting on the ground. with number painted on it, or number plaque affixed, or
-Post/s (iron, wood, etc) in the ground, with number plaque attached or hanging from it
Does either of those seem like a better option, such that we should offer solutions in that category?
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:48 PM on November 12, 2009

Ah sorry, I see 1 is "at end of drive".
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:50 PM on November 12, 2009

Best answer: How about a square fence post with the numbers down each side and a solar cap for illumination? You say it's on the north side of the hedge, but unless it's in complete darkness, I would think it should still get enough charge to be effective.
posted by platinum at 4:05 PM on November 12, 2009

Response by poster: Lobstermitten: It has to be free-standing. No power source (not without involving an electrician). I can't decide about the height; ankle or knee seems easiest, but waist or chest more useful. I'm open to both large painted objects or posts.

Many useful answers so far. Thank you!
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:14 PM on November 12, 2009

I'm just going to jump on a limb and say the solar ideas are probably not so great - I've never seen a solar-powered system that will charge enough to reliably stay lit all night, and (god forbid you need it*) An ambulance at 3am is more important than a pizza at 10pm.

I'd install some low-voltage yard lighting to illuminate your existing sign before the ground freezes. You can trench it in with a flat-bladed shovel.

Personally, I would be worried about a snowplow leaving the whole curbside thing useless half the year, but if you want to go that route, reflective beads sprinkled on the wet white paint will probably punch it up quite a bit.

*-Speaking from experience here. Chasing an ambulance down the street while your wife is having a seizure-like fit on the floor is no fun.
posted by Orb2069 at 4:45 PM on November 12, 2009

I know this doesn't really answer your question but an additional thing you can do is to put a different colored lightbulb in for the front door light. That way you can tell the delivery guy (or visitors) that your house has the red/blue/green lit porch.
posted by spec80 at 8:04 PM on November 12, 2009

Hanging slate signs are one option (that's just a random company that seems to have them). For higher contrast you'd want the numbers painted in white. They also seem to do other kinds of custom signs, and can probably do different lettering styles. You'd need to get either low stake hangers to put in the ground, or put in a more substantial post and use the style of hanger they show there, coming off from the post. If you put in a post you could put reflectors on it, making your driveway a little more visible if your street is really dark.

A cheaper way to do slate would be to get a plain slate with holes in it, and paint on it yourself. You could paint the background white and put black numbers on it, then. (And obviously ditto for other signage materials) Some examples on of handpainted slate and hand-engraved slate.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:14 PM on November 12, 2009

I was considering getting one of these customized NYC subway style signs as an address placard.

Courtesy of this post.
posted by askmehow at 9:55 PM on November 12, 2009

Response by poster: Closure: we went with the fence post and numbers, and a solar cap. The light is pretty much useless, but it needed a cap and it was only a few bucks more than a plain one, so...
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:05 AM on March 31, 2010

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