Everything you need to know about Foam Board printing
Foam board is a lightweight expanded PVC board which is ideal for low-cost signage. It is suitable for most internal applications and also many external ones. The main brands are Foamex and Foamalite and come in a variety of calipers from 1mm to 10mm thick and a variety of colours although white is most popular.
Many printers stick laminated paper posters onto foam boards to give the effect of a printed board. This is called ‘mounting’ but is not ideal; particularly for external applications as moisture can seep through the edges of paper quickly ruining the quality of the product.
A better alternative is to print directly to the surface of the board. This can be done using flat-bed printing machines that print with special inks which are dried instantly using UV light.
The image produced using a good machine such as an OCE Arizona 360GT, are able to offer very high quality, near photographic results which are scratch resistant, extremely resilient to sunlight and totally water proof.
The main disadvantage of using an expanded PVC foam board such as Foamex or Foamalite is that under extreme cold temperatures, it can go brittle so it is best not to use it where any sort of impact might occur (such as signage at football grounds) as this could result in the board shattering. In this instance you would be best to use Dibond or Dilite which is a dense plastic board sandwiched between aluminium surface sheets.