If the signs are printed on the laser stock we provide on a Xerox Phaser (6600/6700) or Xerox Versalink C400 the cards are 100% waterproof and UV resistant. However, the plant cards will fade in the sun over time.
So how long will the signs last?
The useful life of the signs is much more dependent on the laser toner than the sign media (our 'plastic paper'). The actual sign material will hold up for 2+ years in most situations. The life of the printed image (from toner) is subject to the intensity of the UV it is exposed to and the quality of the toner. The Xerox Phaser ORIGINAL (not remanufactured or knock-off) toner holds up well in the sun. We have tested the signs here in central North Carolina in morning shade and afternoon sun. From the first of March through mid-August, the image faded roughly 10% and was still usable. However, the degradation was NOT linear. It faded an additional 10% in the next 20 days or so and was approaching not usable. Over the next week or two, the sign faded to be completely unusable. Please note the percentages mentioned above are estimates based on 'eyeballing' the sign. Customers with less intense UV have reported using signs longer and customers further south or at significantly higher elevations have had to replace the signs more frequently.
Of course, if a sign is exposed to sun for fewer hours each day (only morning sun for example), the signs will last considerably longer.
In short, signs produced on demand at this price point WILL FADE and MAY need to be replaced before the season ends.
What if I use a printer I already have?
We have NOT been able to test all the different laser printers on the market. However, from what we have tested, we know that the Xerox Phaser Laserss combined with the Xerox Never Tear sign material media provide the best UV resistance. Of course, you can use your own laser printer, but we have no idea how long the cards will be usable. Please note that InkJet printers will NOT PRINT on synthetic paper like the Xerox Never Tear.
Check your UV rating on http://www.homefacts.com/uvindex.html. Be sure to look at spring and summer months as the yearly average is brought down with fall and winter scores.