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MDO Signs, how deep to set posts?
Posted by: jsavage (
Date: October 09, 2007 11:51AM

I'm looking for general guidelines on how deep to place wood posts for various sizes of signs. Is there anything out there that references this for sign builders? I can hire an engineer to work something up for me but I'd rather not spend that type of money if I can.

Re: MDO Signs, how deep to set posts?
Posted by: thesignexpert (
Date: October 09, 2007 07:29PM

Unfortunately, this is not an easy answer... the engineering factors involved here go beyond just how deep to go. Some things you would need to clarify would be...
1. What are the dimensions of your sign?
2. Are you using 1/2" MDO or 3/4"?
3. Are you building a support structure?
4. How high above grade (the ground) are you going?
5. What size posts are you using? (4x4's, 6x6's etc.)

If you really want to get picky you can start getting into soil conditions and your local zoning for wind load calculation etc.

If you are talking about a simple face mounted directly to the posts I always figured on burying my post approximately 1/3 of the length. For example, mounting a 4'x8' MDO sign with two 8' posts I would bury about 30" with some concrete around the base.

Does anyone have any better input?

Tim Evans


Practical help for sign professionals

Re: MDO Signs, how deep to set posts?
Posted by: jsavage (
Date: December 03, 2007 09:23PM

mostly 4x4 and 4x8 signs but I've put up a couple of 8x8, 8x12 and 8x16 signs too.
The 4x4 and 4x8 I have been putting on 4"x4" posts. the larger signs on 4x6" posts. All 1/2" MDO. No support structure on the 4x4 and 4x8s, I build a frame for the larger signs. the bottom of the signs I place around 2' above ground. I've been burying the smaller signs to 24" with no concrete and the larger signs to 3' with no concrete but had a few blow over so I started using concrete on the larger signs. We get wind gusts of up to 70 mph here which by my (crude) calulations is around 12.25 lbs of wind force per sq. ft. I just want to make sure my signs stay up but I don't want to go overboard if I don't have to. Most of the soil here it pretty rocky, we're right nestled up against a mountain range.

Re: MDO Signs, how deep to set posts?
Posted by: SIGN WIZARD III (
Date: December 21, 2007 08:57PM


Re: MDO Signs, how deep to set posts?
Posted by: signzar (
Date: January 01, 2008 04:04PM

24" is not deep enough in any situation, especially without concrete. You must get below frost line. Unless you live in an arid zone and still even the smallest sign can be affected by wind or vandals pulling them out. Some states have requirements on this . You need to check with your local codes. In some cases you will even need to have proper licenses to do this.

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