I can't believe the day has come when we are going to install a slate house sign outside our front door. In this post, I'm going to show you how to install a slate house sign safely to an outside wall and how to care for it. This post is far more than that though. It's about how a pretty Welsh mansion house, inspired me to get going on this project and about the engraver's shop in North Wales which made my dream come true.
Ever since we built our house, I've wanted to install a slate house sign. Of course, being Welsh, only Welsh slate would do for me! Even though, it's really just a small job to put up a house sign, the list of projects we still had left to complete seemed never-ending. Installing a slate house sign was way, way down at the bottom of the list. Somehow, even new projects that weren't even on the list, to begin with, seemed to get squeezed in because they were deemed more important.
It was towards the end of last year when I had just painted our front door black. I decided it was time to get to grips with 'Project House sign'. If I'm honest, the motivation to get going on this project, came from a good friend of mine, in Wales.
Christine and her partner Adrian have spent the last few years renovating a grand old mansion house in Caerphilly, South Wales, and have opened it up as a B&B. The mansion house, called 'Y Fan', has stunning views over the Impressive ruins of Caerphilly Castle (Castell Caerffili in Welsh), the largest medieval castle in Wales.
Christine had just posted a photo on social media of her newly installed slate house sign. The slate sign is huge! It was created from the slate plate inside a snooker table they had inherited with the house. Read more about the renovation of this beautiful old mansion on the 'Y Fan' Facebook Page.
Seeing 'Y Fan''s beautiful slate house sign made me remember my long overdue project, to install a slate house sign of my own. With Brexit on the horizon, I wanted to make sure my house sign could be shipped to Germany, without any complications. I started researching places to buy online - not everyone has a competition-size snooker table going spare!
By the way, you've probably noticed that our house is called 'Ty Glas'. If you want to know more about that, take a look at my Autumn Home Tour where all is revealed.
Buying a slate house sign
One thing to watch out for when buying a slate house sign is whether the typography is deeply engraved, laser-cut, sandblasted or just painted. I find it's sometimes hard to tell from photos, read the text carefully before purchasing.
I love the deeply engraved signs with bevelled edges because it's what I'm used to seeing in Wales but I'm not knocking the other types of signs, they look lovely too. At the end of the day, it's all down to personal choice, isn't it?
A shop you can trust
I found a lovely shop on Etsy, which sold the bevelled edge engraved slate signs I love. These signs are made in North Wales in the UK. After the signs are engraved with an engraving machine, the letters are coated with two layers of white paint and finished off with a coat of high gloss.
You can see exactly how the signs are engraved here on YouTube.
Then the slate is waxed to bring out the natural colours and after that, the sign is packed and shipped.
Can we just talk about the packaging for one minute? I have never received a parcel which was better packed than my lovely Welsh house sign! Seriously, it took me forever to get it open but when I did, oh my word – I fell in love!
My beautiful welsh slate house sign is even better than I imagined it would be. It's quite chunky and very well made. The slate feels cool to the touch and as smooth as butter. My door already looked great after I painted it and this house sign was going to be the icing on the cake!
So now, on to fitting the slate sign. I never knew it would be so easy to install a slate house sign and you know what? It's even easier, if you're only watching haha! What? I was behind the camera 😉 Anyway, here's how 'we' did it!
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Install a slate house sign safely
A quick note on safety: We already knew that no electricity cables were running up the wall. If you are doing something like this and you're not sure where your wires are, always use an electrical wire tester to test the area first. If there are wires behind the wall and you drill into them, you could get a nasty electric shock!
A QUICK REMINDER: When attempting any DIY project, please take care to undertake the necessary safety precautions. You should always follow the manufacturer’s safety recommendations when using any product or tool. When following my instructions for a DIY project, you are doing so at your own risk.
Install a slate house sign
Decide on a location
First, we had to decide where we wanted the sign to go. We tried it high and low and on both sides of the door but in the end, we decided it should be placed roughly at eye-level, between the door and the small window.
TIP: If you are mounting a slate house sign on a wooden surface, take heed of this comment left by a lovely friend of mine in the UK. Helen left this tip in the comments below:
"A neighbour has two small signs on her wooden gates, sadly both have split in the recent cold weather. I asked my hubby how that could have been avoided and he had this tip ........ If you need to fix your sign onto wood pop a rubber washer between the slate and the wood. When the weather is freezing wood can warp, this will give enough flexibility to prevent the slate from splitting".
Thanks so much for that great tip, Helen!
Get it straight
Next, we measured and placed the sign on the wall. We rested a spirit level over the top to make sure it was level. Then, we pre-drilled into the holes on the sign just enough to make a mark for the holes.
Insert Rawl Plugs
We took the sign away and drilled into the wall where we'd pre-drilled. Then we inserted some masonry rawl plugs into those holes.
Our sign came with the screws included. We just pushed the screws into the rawl plugs and used a handheld screwdriver to mount the slate sign to the wall – Easy, even for me!
Add screw caps
Lastly, we added the screw caps (included with the delivery). As the name suggests, they just screw on to the screw-head, making them look prettier and protecting them from the weather.
That's how to install a slate house sign all done and dusted!
Talking about 'dusted' you might need to clean the sign now and again but don't worry, it's super easy!
Cleaning a slate house sign
If you read last week's post, you'll know that this side of the house gets a bashing from wind, rain, sleet and snow. Our slate sign gets dusty and dirty from time to time as a result. All we've done so far is to wipe our slate house sign down with a soft cloth and warm soapy water.
The engraving is so deep that you can cover your finger with the cloth and trace over the letters to clean them. It always cleans up a treat! Once the slate sign is clean, we wipe away the excess water and let it dry – that's it!
I'm more than happy, now that we've finally installed our slate house sign. I can't explain it but somehow our entrance seems more grounded. When they come to our door, visitors always comment on how lovely the slate house sign looks.
If you are looking for a British style house sign made of engraved Welsh slate, then I can't recommend this Etsy shop enough! I left a review and uploaded a photo which you'll see if you decide to hop on over to the shop.
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Already installed your house sign but now your door needs an update too? Read all about how to increase the value of your home by painting your front door.
What do you think? Do you like my Welsh slate house sign? Let me know in the comments below!
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Carol Karl says
This is such a lovely addition to your entryway. I have been thinking about a sign for my house so this has given me inspiration. Thanks for sharing this.
Jayne Westerholt says
You're welcome, Carol! I'm so glad you liked the post!
Helen Cronin says
Your House sign looks lovely! A neighbour has two small signs on her wooden gates, sadly both have split in the recent cold weather. I asked my hubby how that could have been avoided and he had this tip ........ If you need to fix your sign onto wood pop a rubber washer between the slate and the wood. When the weather is freezing wood can warp, this will give enough flexibility to prevent the slate from splitting.
Jayne Westerholt says
Oh, wow! Thanks for sharing that tip Helen, I'll add it to my post!
I have never heard of a slate house sign. It looks very elegant with your black door. Thanks for sharing! Love learning something new.
Jayne Westerholt says
A slate house sign is very common in the UK. Most people have one for their house number but you can also see lots of lovely house names too!
What a pretty sign. I love that it's slate. This isn't a thing in the US-so interesting!
Jayne Westerholt says
Hi Danielle, thanks so much! I agree, slate house signs are very British!