What Are Grommets and Why Do I Need Them?

Posted by Joshua Krogel on

Grommets and Your Signs

Working in signage every day, we understand just how complex the signage and printing industry may seem. So, we will start sharing some of this sign knowledge in a design & signage series. We will tackle signage related topics and help you understand them completely, so you will be prepared better to purchase the sign you need.

Grommets, Grommets and More Grommets

Many of our contractor clients have asked: "what are grommets and why do I need them?". Hence, we decided grommets should be a topic added to our design & signage articles.

What Is a Grommet?

Grommets are small metal rings commonly used in signage, including vinyl, mesh fence banners, rigid plastic signs, and contractor site signs, safety site signs. You'll also often see them around your home on drapes and curtains in various shapes and styles. The goal of a grommet is to provide a reinforced hole through which something passes. The reinforced hole ensures that you can hang a sign (or curtain) without tearing the material itself or ripping the rope or cord.

Eyelets or Grommets?

Some of us in the signage industry even make this mistake. Still, eyelets and grommets are not the same things. Even though many use the terms interchangeably, doing so isn't technically accurate. Technically speaking, there is one significant difference. Eyelets are one piece of material like t-shaped brass or metal that is punched through a material. It is then crushed to make sure it stays in place, much like a rivet.

On the other hand, grommets are made up of two pieces, as shown in the picture to the right. Metal grommets are two metal rings placed on either side of the material (like canvas, vinyl, corrugated plastic) and then compressed to form a more durable grommet. Eyelets are used when a smaller solution is needed, such as scrapbooking, crafting, clothing, and shoes for shoelaces. Grommets are much more robust and used in situations that call for a more reinforced and longer-lasting holds, such as permanent signage and heavy curtains or drapes.

What Types of Grommets Are There?

Grommets can come in a multitude of materials like rubber, plastic, and metal. Our fence banners come standard with metal grommets.
Each type of grommet has its advantages and disadvantages. Still, metal is typically the most popular type of grommet in fence banners and job site signs as they are the most durable.
Metal: Metal grommets, as alluded to above, have proven to be extremely durable. The most common metal grommet type is a simple brass grommet. Still, we use black-coated brass, which provides an extra protection and durability element. Metal grommets increase durability in signs, and they reduce wear on the rope or cord used for hanging. Due to this, metal grommets are standard practice for the signage industry.

Standard Grommet Sizes

Like most everything else, there are specific standard sizes for grommets. Standard grommet sizes are as follows: 3/16", 3/8", 1/2", 1 7/16" and 3".Remember that the interior diameter of the hole dictates the "size" of the grommet. In almost all cases, the typical 3/8" of an inch grommet that comes standard with our fence banners is perfect for your signage. It is worth noting that a ⅜" grommet measures 13/16" in circumference. As pointed out below, this is still small enough to affect your sign's visual impact negatively

How Are Grommets Added to My Sign?

There are two common ways that grommets are added to your signs. There are the DIY approach and the industrial tools used by sign shops like Apollo.

The first way is the DIY approach using a grommet gun, kit or tool. These tools will function by squeezing and compressing the grommets to bind them together. The tool punches a hole and binds the grommet pieces together to provide a reinforced hole to hang the sign. Tool kits involve a hammer and punch that you strike as the "punch" to create your hole and compress your grommets together. The hand compressors look like a jumbo version of a paper hole punch to easily visualize them. The hammer and punch are much like a hammer and over-sized nail. These kits and individual grommets can be purchased at any local or chain hardware store and even online. In almost all cases, this way is not advised as grommets are free with most sign makers. Here at ApolloConstruction.ca, we place grommets every 24 inches to ensure that there are plenty of places for you to hang your fence banner or job site sign without it wrinkling or falling off. The Apollo team gives you a ready to install product; there shouldn't be any need to hand install grommets yourself.

The most common way that grommets are added to a sign is with an industrial grommet machine. These machines are operated by a print tech and use pneumatic or electrical power to compress the grommets and punch the hole. This method provides a cleaner hole and a professional installation of grommets rather than doing it yourself. Using such a machine means that the grommets can be punched through thinner materials. In comparison, thicker materials may need to be drilled and then grommets glued into place. Either way, the Apollo team will install the grommets professionally.

 Grommets and Your Signage

Grommets come standard with all of our Fence Hoarding, Contractor Site Signs, and Safety Site Signs at no extra charge. In contrast, other signage types that can include grommets need to be requested and cost a little differently since it is atypical. These will be 3/8" grommets placed every 24 inches around the perimeter of your sign. Though, if you want a different arrangement, you can specify this during checkout. With all signage products that have the option of adding grommets, you can also opt to have no grommets. Skipping grommets is usually when the contractor won't hang it but rather have it tacked to something such as plywood like the side of a house.

We can also adjust the spacing of grommets based on the size of the sign. Like on over-sized signs such as our fence hoarding, it is possible to place grommets every 18 inches rather than 24 inches. Placing grommets every 18 inches distributes the tension better for extra life expectance of the sign or banner. Though typically, we've never had any issues with large signs with grommets at the industry standard 24" intervals.

When the Apollo production team grommets your sign(s), we will place them approximately one inch from the edge. The placement of grommets shouldn't interfere with your designs but keep this in mind as you design your custom signage. Another design-related consideration is the colour of the grommet. Typically, grommets are silver or brass in colour for metal grommets, and black or grey for rubber and plastic grommets. Our standard metal grommets are black in colour. We discovered that our small black grommets work best when compared to shiny silver or brass through the years of construction sign design and fabrication.

Another advantage of having grommets in your fence hoardingcontractor site signs, or safety site signs is that they won't rust and are all-weather proven. Further, grommets won't tear the material they are punched into, assuming that extra weight or extenuating circumstances don't come into play. Our fence hoarding are scrim reinforced around the banner's edge with a welded hem due to their high risk of fraying and tearing. Your grommets will be placed just inside this welded hem. Whether your sign or banner is mounted using zip ties, rope, bungee cords, or washers and bolts, it is almost guaranteed that your sign or banner will never tare.

Hopefully, this quick post has answered your signage-related questions about grommets. If we've missed one of your questions, feel free to contact us or leave a comment so we can add it to this page.

When you are ready to place an order of branded fence hoardingcontractor site signs, or site safety signs for you company we are here to help. All orders can be placed online or if you would like order offline, feel free to contact us directly. If you are looking for something else take a look at our full catalogue


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