The recent bout of snow has brought to light some things that we feel we ought to highlight about banners and snow… they don’t play nicely together. Now, the snow has an unfair advantage, it has a few of its mother-nature mate’s on its side – cold, and sometimes, wind.
The cold, if I remember correctly from my science lessons at school, causes the connections between molecules to become less flexible, hence why water freezes. This is the same for most materials and banners are no exception. If banners are left out in anything below 0°C they will become less flexible, i.e. more brittle, and are more likely to crack or split against pressure. Then comes along the wind and kindly provides that pressure, presto, one damaged banner.
This is not to say that the cold, snowy weather will damage all banners. Ones on the side of buildings are more protected as there is less pressure from wind getting behind it. It’s the exposed banners, those on frames or just staked into the ground that are more at risk.
The snow itself can also cause problems. Snow can be quite ‘sticky’. It has an amazing ability to gather on vertical surfaces and a banner is no exception. Once it gathers it will start to weigh down the banner – this can cause the banner to sag as it over-stretches. The banner will not recover from this as, again at a molecular level, connections have been broken and cannot be re-made. Keeping the face of the banner free of snow should be a priority anyway, because if your banner has snow all over it, who’s going to be able to read it?
This is the same for ANY type of non-solid substrate which is used outdoors and does not have it’s own source of heating. Flags tend to get away with the cold a bit more but they have an unfair advantage – they are only secured at one end. Whereas our poor old banner is usually put under tension to display correctly and, ironically, to protect it, from flapping about in the wind.
To summarise in basic terms:
- Banner + Extreme Cold = Brittle Banner
- Banner + Extreme Cold + Wind = Broken Banner
- Banner + Snow = Saggy Banner
- Banner + Snow + Extreme Cold + Wind = Goodbye Banner
To survive these conditions, your banner needs to take the motto of Kirstie and Phil – location, location, location. Keep your banner in a good location and free of snow, and it might just survive through the winter.