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Mounting a Raceway When There's Nothing Behind

Discussion in 'General Chit-Chat' started by Awesome Graphics, Jan 24, 2020.

  1. Awesome Graphics

    Awesome Graphics Member

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    I am always looking for a better way to do things and you guys have always been so helpful. My company has had quite a few raceway/channel letter installs this year and inevitably there is never anything solid to bolt into behind the facade of these buildings. We are fairly inexperienced with this sort of installation (6-8 total). As we get our feet wet, we have been crawling around in some tight spots, trying to build makeshift wooden frames to lag into.

    Are there any quick and easy solutions for these issues? Installs that I hope will be a half day turn into full days+. On today's adventure behind the walls my guys found that even the metal supports were 8-10" behind the face of the building. Are there giant toggle bolts or anything like that that would do a good job hold a raceway in these spots? I don't love the idea of sheetrock holding these 3rd party signs up to buildings and that's why we build the wooden supports.

    Hopefully you guys have some tricks because my guys are probably sick of maneuvering lumber through tight little crawl spaces and playing telephone with the guy on the other side of the wall.

    I've attached a few pictures of the space. In picture #2, you can see some blocks previous installers had used.

    Any guidance would be most appreciated.
     

    Attached Files:

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  2. Patco

    Patco Member

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    You need to use Allthread and span the studs with angle.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
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  3. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    I dont know about those little boards just hanging out in the middle of that drywall with one bolt. I'd probably run those boards mounted to the studs. Yes, sometimes you have to use really long bolts to get that far back... as long as it takes to get into something that can hold the weight.

    Always figure in a full day when mounting channel letters. Thankfully looks like you had a bunch of room in that space to walk around... Mine this week was barely 2 feet wide and I had to climb over a 6 foot wall up over in the ceiling to get into the parapet
     
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  4. Billct2

    Billct2 Major Contributor

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    What Patco said
     
  5. Bobby H

    Bobby H Very Active Member

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    Channel letters mounted on a raceway have to be securely bolted/screwed into something structural, like metal studs. Patco's suggestion is good (flat strap can also work). It's possible to get away with flush mounting modest sized, LED-lighted channel letters into a building fascia with no studs behind it. Those kinds of letters can be pretty light.

    I'd never trust plywood and drywall to hold the weight of both a raceway and channel letters. Around 15 or so years ago a Little Caesar's sign in my town fell right off the building. The letters were open-faced and lighted with exposed neon (the Caesar logo had a vinyl decorated acrylic face). It turned out this sign's raceway was merely screwed into the cinder block wall and not tapped into any structural steel. Changing weather conditions let the bolts grind away its hold in the wall. A freezing rain and snow storm was the killing stroke. The ice and snow added enough extra weight to pull the sign out of the cinder block wall. It's a lucky thing the sign fell face down in a spot where nobody parked.
     
  6. signage

    signage Major Contributor

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    If you are bidding/surveying you need to know how the job will be completely done, not just guessing. This is why the sign industry is getting more and more local government rules. The sign industry need to get it together and start an apprentice licensing requirement to stop just anyone doing the work.
     
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  7. visual800

    visual800 Very Active Member

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    Just use all threads rods and the boards, thats has worked forever just fine. IF you dont like it use a board spanning the studs. Channel letters on raceways are not that heavy as they used to be and the boards will be just fine. The boards use to hold up the heavy neon and heavy transformers just fine. No Need to be overthinking this
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. ams

    ams Very Active Member

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    I've installed around 150+ channel letters and box cabinets. PM me if you want advice for professional installation.
     
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  9. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    Run for the hills..........:omg2:
     
  10. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    Screenshot_20200125-093317_Gallery.jpg
     
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  11. bowtievega

    bowtievega Member

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    We have good luck using the zip tie toggle bolts. Way more pull out strength in drywall than normal screw in anchors. Also work awesome in OSB or plywood panels. Then come in 3/16” (#10) and 1/4” fasteners. Drill your 1/2” dia hole, Insert your anchor, then use screws, bolts, or studs.
     

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    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. Bobby H

    Bobby H Very Active Member

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    Unfortunately there's not really enough to stop the "shade tree mechanic" types from getting in the sign business and trying to build and install signs that don't comply with National Electric Code, UL, ETL, etc. Most cities and towns now require electrical signs to be UL Listed among other things in order to get an installation permit. The rules are only as good as the city's ability to enforce them. There's still plenty of fly by night style companies who try to install signs without getting a permit. Some businesses will DIY their own sign installations.

    One other gripe I have regarding channel letter signs and other types of building signage: the architects and builders sometimes don't think at all about signage when designing and building a new commercial property. The finished building might end up with not nearly enough adequate space for signs, hardly any sign band at all. Or it will be built in a way where the signs are extremely difficult to install. Sometimes I wonder if this is done on purpose, as if certain architects have an anti-signs ideology.

    In the bigger picture view building signs have become more important to commercial businesses since many local sign codes are greatly limiting or even banning the use of pylon signs or monument signs near the street.
     
  13. ams

    ams Very Active Member

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    Banks are the hardest to install on. They are built like tanks and very hard to fish wires through.
     
  14. Awesome Graphics

    Awesome Graphics Member

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    Thank you all for the feedback. Just to be clear. The picture of the single block was not from our install. My guys are over there today. The process (framing) in the attached photo here is what we generally default to in these situations. We use allthread when installing Gemini letters but have never tried them with channel letters or raceways. I seem like a lot to hold up with some silicone. Maybe I'm misunderstanding the process, but when we install unlit dimensional letters from Gemini, we use a template, drill holes and push the siliconed allthread studs into the holes. Is it a different process with these heavier structures?

    IMG_2642.JPG
     
  15. Awesome Graphics

    Awesome Graphics Member

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    This H&R Block raceway that we installed last month is the type of structure I am referring to. I can't imaging allthread being sufficient, but I am far from an expert.
     

    Attached Files:

  16. Awesome Graphics

    Awesome Graphics Member

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    IMG_1362.JPG
     
  17. Billct2

    Billct2 Major Contributor

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    Threaded rod comes in many diameters. For installing something like a raceway with letters it would be wise to use 3/8" to 1/2" and use some steel angle for the battens.
     
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  18. signage

    signage Major Contributor

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    When using all thread on Channel letters and raceways it is used to go through to the supports that should be spanning the steel suds and then washer and nutted. All thread is being used for the length which can be cut to length rather than having varying lengths of bolts.
     
  19. Awesome Graphics

    Awesome Graphics Member

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    Got it. I've walked by these things a hundred times and never considered using them. Thanks for the tips.

    IMG_2901.jpg
     
  20. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    You're gonna want at least 3/4" rods. Don't know if you can get them at Home Depot. Also, look into the fender washer aisle, while you're at it.
     
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