Introduction: PVC House Numbers
These white numbers make a very bold statement against a charcoal background and relatively dark brick. Nobody is going to miss them as they are adjacent to the front door entry space.
We had been looking for house numbers since we moved here in 2014. The house came with typical hardware store metal numbers, but we removed them when we painted about a year ago. We've been trying to keep with a more modern theme and settled on a modern font style. The numbers we wanted were available in metal for about $30 each, and then you have to mount them. That was a lot more than we wanted to spend for unmounted numbers. Another constraint was I don't like drilling holes into brick or mortar. We have siding but it's the really flimsy stuff that swells and disintegrates if you drill into and water gets in. So the project finally came together a few weeks ago.
To summarize, the numbers are PVC attached to porcelain tile and hung on the brick like a picture.
Total cost was about $25.
Step 1: Parts List and Sources
- Numbers: 6 inches tall, 1/2-in thick, Neutra Display Font, in PVC from Woodenletters.net. These people were great to work with. They emailed me a sample of what the numbers would look like before I ordered. They work in wood, PVC, and MDF materials in different thicknesses. They did not have my font on their website, but they got it. Cost was about $2.50 per number, plus shipping. Numbers arrived much faster than I thought. It came to $13 and change.
- Tile: 1x2 feet porcelain tile from Home Depot. These were on clearance. Cost happened to be free, because they could not read the barcode on the side of the tile, so they just let me have it. Cost should have been $1.98.
- Brick Hanger: Hillman brand from Home Depot or Lowe's. These are in the picture hanging parts display. Cost was $2.98 for two.
Expendables and piece parts:
- Glue: E6000 industrial/hobby glue. Cost if you don't already have this is $2.98 at Walmart (hobby department). More about the glue in a later step.
- Command brand picture hanging strips. Cost was about $3.00 at Walmart or anywhere.
- Painter's tape or masking tape.
- Picture hanging parts. Got a kit at Home Depot for $3.00
- Speed square: about $6 at Home Depot or Lowe's
- Straight edge: I bought a 16-inch level at Dollar Tree for...a dollar.
Step 2: Designing the Layout
I did not simply eyeball this. I went round and round printing the design on paper with different spacing between the numbers and finally decided on what appears to be numbers encroaching on each of the adjacent number's space. I just liked the look. Space them out or squeeze them together - whatever you like.
I put the numbers on the tile and moved them from side to side until I was happy. The tile was 12 inches high and the numbers 6 inches. That leaves 3 inches at the top and bottom. I put blue painter's tape on the tile to make my pencil marks. I used the speed square to measure up from the bottom to 3 inches on the left and right. Also found the center of the tile along the 3-inch line and marked that on a piece of tape. I held the straight edge on the 3-inch line and placed the numbers into position. When I was happy with the spacing I measured the numbers width from left to right. Divide that by 2 to get the measurement from center. Using tape I marked the left and right sides of the numbers on the tile. Holding the 2 and the 0 against the straight edge, I slid the 2 left and 0 right to the pencil marks on the tape. Then I placed the 7 between and adjusted it to look right between the others. Finally I made small alignment marks on the tile and on the letters so I could align everything without the tape. I tried to keep these marks on the bottom edges of the numbers so you can't see them under normal conditions. You can see the pencil marks for the 0 in the picture. If you do not want pencil marks on the PVC, then cover the adjacent area with tape before you mark the tile. Pencil does not simply erase from the PVC.
Tape is cheap. Use all you need to keep the final project neat looking. Sorry I don't have pictures of the tape and alignment pencil marks.
Step 3: Attaching the Numbers to the Tile
I had originally intended to use Command Picture Hanging strips. They worked, sort of. These are like Velcro but different than the hook and loop Velcro. For the 2 and 7 I put the strips in the middle of the numbers. For the 0 it went on the top. The Command glue seemed to stick okay to the PVC but it did not stick to the ceramic at all. At all. To be fair, I did not wipe the tile with alcohol as they recommend, but given the complete release from the tile I abandoned the idea of doing that again. I pulled the sticky back off of the tile side of the Command strip and planned to glue it onto the tile. Of course I could have simply glued the PVC directly to the tile, but in retrospect, I would have made a mess. My second attempt to glue the Command strip on was with super glue. The super glue dried quickly, but did not stick either to the Command strip or to the tile. It lasted long enough to assemble and put it outside, but the numbers fell off. The glue flicked right off of both the tile and the Command strip. Third attempt was with Aleene's Tacky Glue. That stuff never dried. After 3 full days of letting it dry, I pulled the Command strip up to reveal wet glue underneath. That stuff wipes off with water, so cleanup was easy. Finally I got some E6000 glue. All along I suspected E6000 would work, but I live in the country and you have to need a lot of stuff before you just go to town. I think silicone caulk or Liquid Nails would have worked, also.
Step 4: Mounting the Tile to the Brick
At this point it is just like hanging a picture on the wall. I did not think I would like these brick hangers, but they work great! Basically you jam the wings into the gap between the bricks and they lock in place. Push on them to release and adjust. Our bricks don't have perfectly clean mortar gaps, but the clips worked anyway.
Again I eyeballed the location on the house. I held the tile up and made a mental note of height and placement of the upper right corner on the house. Specifically I noted which brick and where on the brick for the upper right corner of the tile.
From that corner I mounted the brick hangers sort of in the right place less than 24 inches apart. at the next mortar gap down. Then I measured the distance between the hangers and decided to make them 18 inches apart. That made it easier to locate the picture hangers on the back of the tile. I measured down from the eyeballed upper corner of the tile location to the hooks on the brick hangers to get the distance to mount the picture hangers on the back of the tile. Using the speed square and a pencil I measured and marked the locations for the center of the picture hanger on the back of the tile.
Step 5: Attaching the Hanger to the Tile
This was the last assembly step for me. By this time I had figured out the E6000. I glued the hanger onto the back easily. Allow 24 hours to dry and it's done.
Step 6: Summary
- Get numbers from woodenletters.net. I cannot say enough good things about these folks.
- Mount numbers to tile with Command Strips or with glue
Glue picture hangers to back of tile with E6000 glue
Hang tile on the house with picture hangers on the tile and brick hangers in mortar gaps on the brick