Choosing House Numbers – 3 Key Tips

September 29, 2014 8:54 pm bob

HouseArt Address House Numbers LettersDiscerning homeowners know that their house numbers are nearly always the first impression their neighbors and guests encounter when approaching their residence or when looking for the address.

Yet often, the limited selection of house numbers and letters at big box retailers or the challenging installation problems that many poorly crafted house address numbers present, can create major difficulties for homeowners who want to make this crucial improvement to their home.

In this article, we will reveal the top three secrets to selecting the perfect house numbers for your home including:

  • The distance between the house address numbers and the street will determine the size
  • Your house address numbers should contrast with the wall in color and finish
  • Improve the visibility of your house numbers by choosing the right font style

The Size of Your House Numbers Depends on the Distance from the Street

The first key tip is to select how large your house numbers should be by measuring the distance between the house number mounting location and the middle of your street (where your guests might first seek to read your home address).

Once you have the distance from the midpoint of the street to the house number location, select the proper size for clear readability from the street. Large house numbers may be necessary depending on the distance. Use these guidelines to determine the size needed.

Distance from Midpoint of Recommended Minimum  This Size is Unreadable at
Street to Number Location House Numbers Height Distances Greater than …
Zero – 69 feet    3 inches or larger 100 feet
  70-110 feet    4 inches or larger 150 feet
111-132 feet    5 inches or larger 175 feet
133-160 feet    6 inches or larger 200 feet
161-300 feet    8 inches or larger 350 feet
301-385 feet 10 inches 450 feet

Note:  The height of the house number is measured from the top of the number to the bottom of the number.  Signage rules concerning vehicle speed and number of car lanes do not typically apply to house numbers since guests typically slow down in residential areas to find house numbers.

Choose House Numbers with a Contrasting Color or Finish

The second key tip to selecting the perfect house numbers for your home is to ensure that the finish and/or color of the house numbers you select to install have a sharp contrast to the surface that you intend to mount the house numbers upon.

When high contrasting house address numbers are utilized, the visibility and impact of the house numbers rises significantly.  But when colors and/or finishes are similar to the background the house numbers are being mounted upon, your address will be impossible to see at any distance.

Homeowners who must mount their address numbers at a significant distance from the street should consider the highest contrast colors for house numbers such as white, black, red, and metallic colors that closely mimic those shades such as nickel and silver.

Today, homeowners may also choose reflective house numbers and lighted or illuminated house numbers for added visibility.

Choose the Right Font Style for your House Numbers

The final tip to choosing the perfect house numbers for your residence is to carefully consider the impact of the type of font for the house numbers you select.

Decorative, thin font styles, script fonts, and serif-style fonts will decrease the visibility of your address. For instance, vintage and Victorian house numbers, as well as Art Deco house numbers tend to be very stylized and may be difficult to read from a distance.

Thick sans serif fonts (like Helvetica) will maximize the visibility of your house numbers. Many modern and contemporary house numbers, like those available at The MailboxWorks, are designed specifically for high visibility.

While style conscious homeowners might wish to trade readability for an unique font style for their house numbers, safety conscious homeowners realize that it is not only one’s guests that might drive right by one’s home, but also emergency response personnel responding to a crisis at your residence.  Thus, readability is vital.

Even the spacing between the house numbers when you mount them is crucial to readability (designers call this spacing “kerning”).  When your house numbers are mounted too closely to each other, the lack of space between the numbers creates visibility issues.

Conversely, if the numbers are mounted too far apart, they may not appear to be a single numeral such as “12031” but rather separate addresses such as “1” “2” “0” “3” “1” or “120” and “31,” which of course adds confusion to those who are seeking to locate your home.

Conclusion

To integrate all three of these tips into a sure fire way to select the perfect house numbers for your home, try this exercise.

  • Type your desired choice of house numbers in a word processing program at the size, color, and font size needed.
  • Print those house numbers on a sheet of paper in a color similar to the background you will be mounting the house numbers upon. If the house numbers are large, you may have to cut out and tape the numbers together on the actual background you will be mounting them on.
  • Then tape your printed house numbers at the spot you wish to mount them to, and go to the furthest distance your house numbers will be viewed from.

By the way, if you must view this test strip from the street, it is much safer and more realistic to do so from the comfort and safety of your vehicle than by stepping out into a busy road.

Once you see how your choice of house numbers will look from the view of your guests and neighbors, you will be able to adjust the size, color, and font type to ensure your choice of house numbers is one that your guests will appreciate year after year.

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