Why is the Gloss Finish of Membrane Switch Not Suitable for Outdoor Use?

18 Jan, 2024

By hqt


When it comes to membrane switches, choosing the right finish is crucial to ensure their functionality and longevity. One of the common finish options available is the glossy finish. However, despite its aesthetic appeal, a glossy finish may not be the best choice for outdoor applications. In this article, we will delve into the reasons why the gloss finish of a membrane switch is not suitable for outdoor use.

Understanding Membrane Switches

Before we dive into the specifics of why a glossy finish is problematic for outdoor use, let’s briefly understand what membrane switches are. Membrane switches are thin, flexible electronic devices that consist of several layers, including a top graphic overlay, spacer layers, and a bottom circuit layer. They are commonly used in various industries for applications like control panels, keyboards, and keypads.

The Appeal of Glossy Finish

Glossy finishes on membrane switches are chosen for their aesthetic appeal. They provide a sleek and shiny appearance that can enhance the overall look of a product. However, this visual advantage comes with several drawbacks when it comes to outdoor usage.

Challenges of Glossy Finish Outdoors

1. Reflectivity

One of the primary issues with a glossy finish outdoors is reflectivity. The glossy surface tends to reflect sunlight and other sources of light. This reflection can be blinding and make it difficult for users to read the information on the switch or control panel. In outdoor settings where visibility is crucial, this can be a significant problem.

2. Durability

Outdoor environments expose membrane switches to a wide range of weather conditions, including rain, snow, and UV radiation. Glossy finishes are more susceptible to scratches, moisture, and UV damage compared to matte or textured finishes. Over time, these factors can degrade the appearance and functionality of the switch.

3. Fingerprints and Smudges

Glossy surfaces are notorious for attracting fingerprints and smudges. In outdoor applications where the switch might be touched by multiple users, maintaining a clean and readable surface can be challenging. Smudges and fingerprints can obscure the information on the switch and reduce its usability.

4. Glare

Glare is another issue associated with glossy finishes. When sunlight or artificial light sources strike the glossy surface at certain angles, it can create glare, making it difficult to see the switch’s labels or symbols. This can be especially problematic in environments where precise control is required.

5. Limited Customization

While glossy finishes offer a high-end appearance, they can limit the customization options for membrane switches. Matte or textured finishes allow for a broader range of graphics and designs without compromising readability. This limitation can be a significant drawback for companies looking to create unique and branded outdoor products.


In conclusion, while glossy finishes may add a touch of elegance to membrane switches, they are not suitable for outdoor use due to their reflectivity, durability issues, susceptibility to fingerprints, glare, and limited customization options. When designing membrane switches for outdoor applications, it is advisable to opt for matte or textured finishes that can withstand the challenges posed by outdoor environments while maintaining functionality and readability.


1. Can I apply an anti-glare coating to a glossy-finished membrane switch for outdoor use?

Yes, anti-glare coatings can help reduce glare on glossy-finished membrane switches. However, it may not completely eliminate the issue, and other problems like durability and reflectivity may still persist.

2. What are some alternatives to glossy finishes for outdoor membrane switches?

Matte and textured finishes are excellent alternatives to glossy finishes for outdoor membrane switches. They offer better durability and reduce the problems associated with reflectivity and glare.

3. Are there any outdoor-specific membrane switch options available?

Yes, some membrane switches are specifically designed for outdoor use. These switches often feature rugged construction, weather-resistant materials, and matte or textured finishes to withstand outdoor conditions.

4. Can I clean a glossy-finished membrane switch to remove fingerprints and smudges?

Yes, you can clean a glossy-finished membrane switch using a soft, lint-free cloth and a mild cleaning solution. However, frequent cleaning may be necessary in outdoor settings.

5. Are there any alternatives to membrane switches for outdoor control panels?

Yes, alternatives like capacitive touchscreens and rugged mechanical switches are often used for outdoor control panels, depending on the specific requirements of the application.


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