So you’ve spent a lot of time selecting individual house numbers for your home and now you’re ready to install them. Should be easy right? Well…not always. Much depends on what type of numbers you are installing, as well as the surface in which they will be installed on. Here we will provide some useful pointers for installing individual house numbers.
There are typically two types of house numbers:
Front mounted numbers:
These house numbers have screw holes and are screwed in from the front. Some number manufacturers offer spacers, which are inserted onto the screw in the back of the number, for a floating look.
Floating numbers mounted from the back:
Some house numbers do not mount from the front. But rather have screw pins, which press fit into an anchor. In some cases you can control the floating distance from the surface.
Selecting a suitable location for your house numbers
House numbers can be an important design element for curb appeal. House numbers are a very important functional element as well. They allow easy property identification for delivery’s, services and for emergency situations. So the house numbers should be easy to see and read from a distance. Consider locating the numbers where they are visible after dark and perhaps lit by a nearby light fixture. Some residential properties may need 2 sets of house numbers. For example, a home with a very long driveway may need one set of numbers located at the street, and the other set on the home or garage structure. Check with your local municipal or village to see if there are any specific ordinances or requirements.
The installation surface
Is the installation wood, composite, or masonry? Simply put, a flat wood or composite surface will be easier to install onto rather than masonry. Masonry surfaces such as stucco, brick, or stone are uneven and can be challenging to drill into and for getting the numbers to line up straight. See our article “Mounting House Numbers and House Markers On Stucco” for more information.
Lining up house numbers and number spacing
Spacing your numbers out is a visual task. Number spacing, which is too tight, may be difficult to read from the distance while numbers spaced too far apart may look awkward. We suggest laying out your numbers onto paper and then tracing the number outlines. You can then tape the paper number set onto the installation surface and move it around to where it looks good up close and from the distance. Now this is important! Most folks are not aware that numbers (and letters) which have a curved bottom and/or top are slightly larger than numbers that do not have a curve. This is deliberate. The curved portion extends above or below as visual compensation. As an example, a number 0, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, and 9 all have a curved top or bottom. We suggest using a level and painters tape to create a straight-line top and bottom on the installation surface. Then line up the numbers appropriately (see diagram below). You can tape the numbers into place if you’d like (do not use painters tape or masking tape on our Craftsman made copper numbers with oil rubbed bronze finish).
Front mounted numbers
Use a marker to mark the hole centers and then simply drill within the center of the holes. Screw the numbers into place. Make sure to use a drill bit size appropriate for the screws. Make sure to remove the tape before attaching the numbers. If mounting onto a masonry surface, you will need to use anchors for the screws. In this case, make sure to use a masonry drill bit appropriate to the size of the anchors.
Front mounted floating numbers
Same as above but insert the spacers onto the screws in the back of the number.
Floating numbers mounted from the back
Now this can be tricky. Most (but not all) house numbers designed as floating numbers are a cast product. Cast metal products can vary in size from shrinkage. And the threaded insert is a secondary operation so the location center may vary slightly from number to number even if they are the same number. So you will need to position each number onto the surface and trace around the spacer seat and then drill within the center of your tracings. Most floating numbers mounted from the back will require an anchor (typically provided) for the pin to fit into (see diagram).
Care for your numbers
Care for your house numbers will depend on the numbers’ material and finish. Numbers, which have a powder coated paint finish, do not need maintenance but it is always a good idea to wipe clean with a microfiber cloth and apply a coating of either clear paste wax or stainless steel polish yearly. Both have silicone and will help protect the surface from the elements.
Some house numbers have a living finish such as numbers made from bronze or copper. This type of number will have a finish intended to develop a natural patina over time from the elements. You should not need to maintain this type of number.
Some numbers such as our handcrafted copper numbers have a true oil rubbed bronze finish with a clear lacquer coating. This line of numbers can be wiped clean from time to time with a microfiber cloth. Apply a coating of either clear paste wax or stainless steel polish a couple times a year. Both have silicone and will help protect the surface from the elements.
We hope this article has been helpful. Although installing house numbers can be a task large or small, the result is usually worth the effort. Remember…your house is most likely the largest and most important purchase you will ever make. It is your pride and joy. Just sticking a number decal onto your home may be easy and perform a function. But it will also convey just how you feel about your home.