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Important Guidelines for Installing ADA Signage to Ensure Compliance

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Chances are you already know there are certain rules regarding the appearance and construction of ADA signage. But it’s not just the signs themselves that need to be compliant—it’s also the way they’re placed. There are specific guidelines for installing ADA signage in a building as well. And as a sign professional, you should be aware of them. 

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

If you plan on breaking into the ADA sign market, you’ll likely end up providing displays to a variety of clients—from elementary schools to hospitals. And in that case, it only makes sense that you be familiar with the guidelines for installing ADA signage. That way, you can answer any questions your customers have.

Here are some of the benefits that go along with expanding your knowledge of ADA sign installation…

  • It allows you to demonstrate your authority.  

Becoming your clients’ go-to for signage means proving you have the necessary skills and know-how. Even if you opt to outsource sign orders to a third-party fabricator, you still want to present your business as an authority on all things related to ADA compliance. And when you’re able to explain something as tricky as how to install ADA signage correctly, your clients will view you as a trusted expert.  

  • It serves to increase customer satisfaction. 

Customers have come to expect more from the businesses they work with. So, if you want your clients to sing your praises and recommend your business to others, you need to think beyond just delivering a high-quality product. The good news is that even offering tips on installing signs can go a long way.  

  • It helps you stand out from your competition. 

By familiarizing yourself with the rules for installing ADA signage, you’ll also be able to set yourself apart from the 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 reap these benefits, you need to have the knowledge we’re discussing. 

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

What Are the 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. If you decide to offer ADA-compliant displays to your clients, we strongly encourage you to review this resource. 

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

1) Place Tactile Signage in the Proper Location  

ADA signage with tactile characters should be mounted on the wall next to the side of the door that latches. It’s important to make sure the door doesn’t cover the signage when opened. 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 into them. 

Mounting on Doors

Sometimes, there’s no wall space available to mount displays. In such cases, installing ADA signage on a door is unavoidable. The ADA outlines specific requirements for that too.  

  • If it’s a set of double doors with one active leaf, 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 there’s no wall space on a single door’s latch side or to the right of double doors with two active leaves, the display should be placed on the closest adjacent wall.

To be considered compliant, a door-mounted sign must be on the push side of a door that closes automatically and does not have a hold-open device. 

Mounting on Windows

If there are windows on the door-latch side, the sign can be mounted on the glass if there is enough room. Otherwise, the sign should be mounted at the appropriate height from the floor directly adjacent to the glass.

2) Ensure Signs Are Mounted at the Appropriate 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 Sufficient Clear Space

There should be at least 18 inches by 18 inches of clear floor space between the sweep of the door and the location of the sign. 

Further, 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.

What Tools Are Needed to Hang ADA Signage?

Worker wearing orange gloves putting a pencil mark on a white wall using a tape measure before installing ADA signage.

Once you provide a client with their sign order, the rest is up to them. Unfortunately, this means they may hit a snag when the time comes to hang their signage. It’s not uncommon for business owners and property managers to attach signs using inadequate tools (such as nails and screws, which can leave unnecessary marks in the walls and make it tough to change out signs). That’s you should educate them on the right tools to hang their displays. 

Here are the basic tools you should tell your clients to gather beforehand…

  • Tape measure, pencil, and level – These can be used to identify and mark the correct placement for each sign.
  • Double-faced mounting tape – This type of type is usually sufficient for securing most signs to the wall (or door, if necessary). 
  • Silicone adhesive – A silicone adhesive may be used to make the display extra secure if it’s particularly heavy. 

It’s also worth directing clients to a resource that explains the installation process in detail, or make yourself available should they have any questions later on. In doing so, you can help them hang their new signs with pride. And they’ll thank you for it!

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. That way, you can answer any questions they have once you fulfill their order. And in doing so, you can…

  • Demonstrate your authority
  • Increase customer satisfaction
  • Stand out from the competition

If you have additional questions about ADA sign installation or need to outsource an order, contact us today at Erie Custom Signs!

Filed Under: ADA Signage

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