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An In-Depth Analysis of Rigid Substrates

The Backbone of Durable Design

In printing and design, the material serving as the base—the substrate—plays a pivotal role in shaping the project's outcome.

Among the various materials available, rigid substrates stand out, recognized for their durability, versatility, and the crispness they bring to prints.

At Piedmont Plastics, our extensive array of rigid substrates ensures that we can match the exact needs of every unique project, from indoor art exhibitions to robust outdoor advertisements.

An Expert is just around the corner.

With over 100 years of combined product knowledge and industry experience, we are confident our plastics experts can help you find a solution for your application.

Foam Board vs. Ultra Board

Foam Board and Ultra Board are popular choices for lightweight, non-flexible substrates tailored for indoor purposes. Both derive from polystyrene foam, ensuring they're light yet sturdy.

Learn more about each material:

1.       Foam Board: A favorite of artists, educators, and advertisers alike, its adaptability is its crown jewel. Constructed by enveloping polystyrene foam within robust paper sheets, it's a prime choice for art endeavors, academic presentations, and indoor displays.

2.       Ultra Board: Imagine all the goodness of foam board but with an added layer of resilience. Ultra Board, characterized by its rigidity, promises longevity. With options in classic white and deep black and varied thicknesses, it caters to those projects that demand just a bit more durability than usual.

The Balanced Elegance of Sintra Board

Sintra Board is a perfect balance between flexibility and strength, all thanks to its PVC composition. A personal favorite among the many options at Piedmont Plastics, Sintra is adept at braving the challenges of the outdoors while still being gentle enough for indoor showcases.

Its extensive color palette, ranging from muted whites to dynamic oranges and blues, and the option to choose from diverse thicknesses ensures a custom solution for every requirement.


Polystyrene stands out as a go-to substrate in signage due to its versatility and durability. This rigid plastic sheeting can be tailored to various thicknesses, ensuring it meets the demands of diverse applications.

Its economic feasibility and resilient characteristics make it an ideal material for many. Other exemplary features include:

  • Economical: An affordable solution for diverse signage needs.

  • Customizable Thickness: Tailored to specific project requirements.

  • Durability: Built to withstand regular wear and tear.

  • Moisture Resistant: Stands strong against environmental elements.

  • High Impact Strength: Maintains integrity under pressure.

  • Versatile Applications: Perfect for both temporary banners and enduring displays.

PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)

PVC, one of the most adaptable thermoplastics available today, has become a staple in rigid substrates. This material, enriched with excellent chemical resistance and outstanding dielectric properties, ensures durability and safety in varied applications. Thanks to their non-absorptive nature, PVC panels' inherent resistance to moisture and mold promise longevity even in challenging conditions.

Another feather in PVC's cap is its vibrant color retention over the years, ensuring that displays remain as vivid as they were on day one.

At Piedmont Plastics, our PVC sheets are meticulously processed with a weather-resistant formula, ensuring each sheet stands the test of time, regardless of its application.


For projects that require an unbeatable combination of strength and elegance, Gatorfoam emerges as a popular choice.

This rigid display board, found prominently in Piedmont Plastics' roster of offerings, features a dense, firm polystyrene core wrapped in a wood fiber veneer laminate surface. One of the unique attributes of Gatorfoam is its water-resistant nature.

From outdoor signage exposed to the elements to indoor displays in humid environments, Gatorfoam stands tall and unbending. Its reputation as one of the most durable display boards makes it a common choice for those seeking longevity without compromising aesthetics.

Acrylic and Polycarbonate

We understand the need for materials that offer crystal-clear visuals while standing strong against external challenges. Enter Acrylic and Polycarbonate—two substrates that meet these demands.

Acrylic Celebrated for its unparalleled clarity and durability, it brings luxury to every project. From sophisticated menu boards to protective machine guards, acrylic's abrasion-resistant coating ensures longevity without sacrificing clarity. Available in a gamut of colors, textures, and patterns, acrylic caters to both functional and aesthetic needs.
Polycarbonate Often likened to acrylic in appearance, polycarbonate offers enhanced strength and a broader temperature resilience range. Its high impact resistance and malleability make it a preferred choice for projects demanding toughness and elegance. From greenhouse panels to bullet-resistant windows, polycarbonate's multifaceted nature shines through.

Need Rigid Substrate?

At the heart of every durable and visually striking project lies the choice of the right base material. With Piedmont Plastics, selecting the ideal rigid substrate becomes an assured step toward excellence.

Explore our products and let Piedmont Plastics be the foundation on which your project stands out and stands strong. Connect with us today and make a choice that combines quality with creativity.

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