Refurbish or Replace? Your Guide to Upgrading from Fluorescent Signs to LED Signs

As a business owner, you must constantly consider how your facilities, property and equipment lend themselves to the success of your company. You choose an optimal brick-and-mortar location and invest in the best equipment for your industry.

But some business owners fail to think about updating their signage as frequently as they improve other essential materials. If you fall into this category, you may look at the signs around your business and realise that they look outdated or shabby rather than eye-catching.

One of the biggest reasons your signs might look old is the lighting type they employ. While fluorescent was the best signage option for a long time, fluorescent tubes now look antiquated and perform poorly when compared to LED lighting.

In this blog, we discuss the main differences between fluorescent tubes and LED lights as well as your upgrade options.

Fluorescent Versus LED

For many years, fluorescent lighting represented the standard option for indoor lighting and competed heavily with neon as the preferred type of signage lighting. However, fluorescent no longer represents the best option for most signs.

When you compare fluorescent and LED lighting, you may observe the following:

  • Fluorescent looks less striking and modern. This characteristic results from the ‘softer’ glow produced by fluorescent tubing. When placed next to brightly lit signs, fluorescent models often pale by comparison.
  • Fluorescent poses more health and safety risks. While most businesses use fluorescents without negative effects, these lighting tubes are highly breakable and contain mercury. Not only must these tubes be displayed and maintained properly to improve safety, but they require specialised disposal. By contrast, LED lighting components can withstand shipping, extreme weather and other high-impact situations.
  • Fluorescent represents a less effective and efficient option. Fluorescent signage requires a high level of maintenance since the bulbs can need replacement as often as three times a year. LED models produce less heat, require less energy and can last for 50,000 to 100,000 hours of use time. Additionally, LED lights are recyclable, making them a more eco-friendly option.

LED lights also offer more design flexibility than either fluorescent or neon signs. LED components can fit into small spaces, which allows you to design in whole images rather than in simple line work.

Ready to recapture your audience’s attention by switching to more visible signage? You have two primary options when upgrading from fluorescent signs to LED models: refurbishing or replacing.

When to Refurbish

For some businesses, simply replacing fluorescent tubes with LED components provides the best upgrade option. This choice may work for you if your signs meet the following criteria:

  • Compatible with LED lighting elements
  • In good or easily repairable condition
  • Well-designed and featuring current information

You will likely need a signage professional to assess your signs’ compatibility and install your new lighting elements. But before you get started, remember that you’re more likely to have success refurbishing your sign if you have cabinet or pylon signs.

When to Replace

While refurbishment can cost less initially, it simply isn’t available to all business owners looking to upgrade their signs. And in some cases, full replacement proves more cost-effective in the long run despite higher initial costs.

Consider replacement over refurbishment if you have signs with the following characteristics:

  • Antiquated shapes, designs or looks
  • Hazardous or unsightly components
  • Visible damage, errors or missing pieces

Instead of trying to salvage an outdated or heavily damaged sign, partner with a professional to design and install a new sign altogether.


As you consider how to optimise your signage, work with Landells Signs. We have helped many business owners just like you switch from signs with an outdated look to sleek, modern and energy-efficient

Retire your fluorescent signs in favour of attractive, well-designed LED models to make your business more attractive, appealing and profitable.