Here’s why house numbers need to be visible

Have you ever noticed how few homes have their house numbers posted prominently so they are easily visible from the street?

I can’t give you any hard-and-fast statistics, but just from personal observation I’m guessing the number is about 30%. And that’s during the light of day. The percentage is even lower for numbers that are visible at night.

Why so few? I suspect it is because home owners rarely stop to think about why it might be important for their house numbers to be visible. After all, the mail carrier certainly knows your address, who else needs to know?

Emergency Responders do, that’s who!

If, heaven forbid, your home catches fire or a loved one has a heart attack, Emergency Response personnel need to be able to find your home quickly. A missing or nearly-invisible house number can cost precious time in the event of an emergency. It can literally mean the difference between life and death for you or your loved ones.

Here are some guidelines for maximizing the visibility of your house numbers.

~ Numbers should be posted near the front door, above eye level and within an area illuminated by a porch light. This is preferable to less obvious places such as above the garage door.

~ Posting house numbers on the mail box is fine, but this should be in addition to near the front door.

~ Numbers should be visible from both directions of travel. Check periodically to make sure that trees, bushes or shrubbery haven’t grown up and obscured your house numbers.

~ Numbers should be a color that contrasts with the background. E.g. if your house is painted a dark color, the numbers should be a light color. They should not blend with the background. Brass and bronze numbers tend to be difficult to see on many backgrounds.

~ Numbers should be at least 4″ high. The bigger and bolder, the better.

~ It is not necessary to include the street name on your house or mail box, especially if it forces a reduction in the physical size of the house numbers.

You can buy house numbers at any hardware store, with prices starting at about $2/numeral. That’s about the cheapest form of insurance you can find to help safeguard your home.

Are your house numbers visible?




Not so good.







2 responses to “Here’s why house numbers need to be visible”

  1. Barb Avatar

    You know who else needs street numbers—big ones???? Businesses! Driving down a busy road, inc. California, and not seeing a visible address for blocks just freaks me out. Don’t they WANT people to find them without causing an accident? First responders also need to find them, and Folks, addresses don’t normally change. Once you get it up there, it’s gonna BE there for all time most likely.

    1. Alice Kuder Avatar
      Alice Kuder

      You are so right, Barb! Such as easy thing to do and everyone benefits. Thanks for pointing it out.

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