Easily done and mostly inexpensive, upgrading your house number can quickly add new pop to your home's curb appeal.
House numbers obviously are functional—this is how people find your home for visits, deliveries, utility work, or emergency calls. For this reason, house numbers should meet some basic guidelines. Within those guidelines however, is plenty of room for personal expression and stylish choices.
A house number should be visible from whatever thoroughfare is used to approach your home. The minimum numeral size for a standard home setback is 4 inches. If your home is not visible from the street due to distance or vegetation, the house number should be mounted near the street on a post or fence.
Municipalities usually have specific guidelines for house numbers. Most requirements stipulate that numbers, not words, be used; that numbers be posted near the main entrance to the house, sometimes the rear entrance, and often the garage if an alley is present; and that numbers be permanently affixed to a non-movable structure, so no storm doors, doors, or garage doors. In general, using numbers that contrast with the background and are illuminated with a light are preferable. Spray paint and tape are usually disallowed, although some communities may require street numbers stenciled onto street curbs.
Choosing a Style
House numbers are available in every conceivable style, material and price range. Metal is very popular for durability, hand-painted tiles for their artistry and Euro-flair, and brass plaques for a luxury look. Wooden numerals can be painted or stained for contrast, but might not be as durable as other materials. Clean, sans-serif numerals are available in many styles and present a more modern look. If you are crafty, you might want to use stencils to stencil numbers onto a wood or metal plaque that you then install.
Most numbers come with pre-drilled holes for installation and templates for proper spacing and leveling. Floating numbers are slightly different. You will need a drill/driver and drill bits, masking tape, and a level. If attaching to brick, stone, or concrete, a hammer drill with masonry bits, masonry fasteners (small plastic sleeves), or construction adhesive are necessary. Numbers can be installed horizontally, vertically, or diagonally up or down.
Cut out the templates and tape them together. Tape the template to the desired location using the level to assure the display is level or plumb. Step back to the curb to double check to make sure the placement is accurate.
Drill pilot holes at the marked locations using the recommended bit size. If no bit size is recommended, choose a bit with approximately half the diameter of the provided screws (unless using floating numbers). If attaching to masonry, drill the holes to fit the masonry fasteners. You can use construction adhesive to attach the numbers to masonry without screws.
Drive the screws through the mounting holes in the numbers. If attaching to metal or vinyl siding, you may need longer screws to reach a solid substrate. First mounting the numbers to a wood or acrylic plaque and then mounting to the siding with 2- or 3-inch screws might be helpful.
For floating numbers with standoffs, carefully thread the standoff stud into the back of the number. Slide the spacer over the stud. Squirt a small amount of silicone adhesive or construction adhesive into the pilot holes. Slide the standoff assembly into the pilot holes. For very large or heavy numbers installed this way, hold them in place with tape until the adhesive has set.
Elevate the Game
A simple way to make numbers look more modern is to choose floating numbers that are not flush with the mounting surface. Many numbers are available in this style, but you can easily create this effect with any numbers by purchasing standoffs at your local hardware store. You will also then need to use longer screws.
Another option is to install numbers on a small metal plate which you can then attach with standoffs to the mounting surface. Or, contract with a metalworking shop to create a metal sign with the numbers cut out, creating a nice effect. Make sure the color of the metal and the background color contrast to increase visibility of this style. Mount this plate with standoffs.