Important Guidelines for Installing ADA Signage

Why Sign Shops Need to Know the Rules for Installing ADA Signage

Just as there are certain rules for the appearance and construction of ADA signage, there are also specific guidelines for installing ADA signage in a building. 

Sign shops that provide ADA signs to customers in a variety of industries—from elementary schools to hospitals—should be familiar with these guidelines for installing ADA signage so they can answer any questions their customers have.


Because even if you opt to outsource orders to a third-party fabricator that specializes in ADA displays, you still want to present your business as an authority on all things related to ADA compliance. That way, your clients will sing your praises as an ADA expert and hopefully recommend your business to those in search of such displays. 

Further, it will help you stand out from your competition. You won’t just be a sign shop that provides organizations with the signage they need—you’ll be one that offers advice they can use to stay out of trouble… And considering how costly fines and lawsuits can be for facilities that fail to provide all visitors with sufficient access, this kind of advice is invaluable.

Of course, to achieve that kind of status in the minds of current and future clients, you need to actually have the knowledge we’re discussing. 

So, let’s highlight some of the most important guidelines for installing ADA signage in any public building. 

Guidelines for Installing ADA Signage

First, it’s worth pointing out that the rules for installing ADA signage are outlined in their entirety in part 36 Appendix A of the Americans with Disabilities Act (as revised in 1994). 

Additional details can be found under section 703.4 in the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design, which we strongly encourage all sign shop owners to review if they decide to offer ADA-compliant displays to their clients. 

Now, on to the actual rules regarding the installation of ADA signage…

1) Never install Braille or tactile signage on a door. 

Instead, all ADA signage should be mounted on the wall right next to the side of the door that latches, so that the opened door does not cover the ADA signage. There have been many complaints from people with visual impairments and other disabilities who were attempting to read a sign on a door only to be injured when someone on the other side opened it up into them. 

Of course, sometimes installing ADA signage on a door is unavoidable. In that case, there are specific requirements that must be met. 

If it’s a set of double doors with one active leaf, then the sign must be attached to the inactive leaf; if both leaves are active, the display must be mounted to the right of the right-side door. If space is insufficient, the display should be placed on the closest adjacent wall.

2) Ensure signs are mounted at the proper height. 

When installing ADA signage, it’s crucial to attach the display on the wall 48 inches minimum above the ground, measured from the baseline of the lowest tactile character, and 60 inches maximum above the ground, measured from the baseline of the highest tactile character. 

Though this height may seem inconvenient, our team marked the walls in our office according to ADA standards and found that this puts the sign reasonably close to eye level for most people.

3) Make sure there is proper spacing. 

There should be about 18 inches of space between the sweep of the door and the location of the sign. If there are windows on the door-latch side, the sign can be mounted on the glass if there is enough room. Otherwise, simply mount the sign at the appropriate height from the floor directly adjacent to the glass.

4) Allow for a clear area. 

There should be no items on the floor or wall that protrude out a certain distance into the room. The general guideline is that a person should be able to get within 3 inches of ADA signage without encountering any protruding objects or standing within the door’s swing.

Proper Tools for Hanging ADA Signage

Once you provide a client with their sign order, the rest is up to them. This means that they may hit a snag when the time comes to actually hang their signage.

It’s not uncommon for business owners and property managers to attach signs using inadequate tools, which is why you should educate them on the right tools to hang their displays. 

For example…

  • A tape measure and level should always be used to ensure that signs are mounted at the appropriate height.
  • Nails and screws should be avoided when installing ADA signage, as doing so can leave unnecessary marks in the walls and make it difficult to change out signs.
  • To secure signs to the wall (or door, if necessary), use double-faced foam mounting tape, which is sufficient for most displays. 
  • If a sign is particularly heavy, a silicone adhesive may be used to make the display extra secure. 

Further, you should direct clients to a resource that explains the installation process in detail, or make yourself available should they have any questions later on. 

Click to download our Ultimate Guide to Mounting Signs for free.


If your sign shop routinely outsources ADA sign orders for clients, it’s in your best interest to familiarize yourself with the rules for installing ADA signage. By doing so, you can become your clients’ go-to for ADA-related information.  

For more information about installing ADA signage in a way that complies with federal regulations, contact us today at Erie Custom Signs. We are pleased to answer any questions you have for us.

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