Road Line Marking: How to Choose the Right Paint

Whether you’re already in the industry or thinking about starting your own painting and line striping business, make sure you check with the local authorities about the latest regulations concerning the type of paint you can use. Some municipalities have put a ban on the use of oil/solvent based paint, while others now require high-build paint.

On the other hand, a vast majority of cities don’t impose any kind of restriction other than the existing standard federal specifications regarding paint consistency and colour. Here are some tips on how to make the best choice of paint for road line marking.

Road Line Marking: How to Choose the Right Paint

Paint types

Most paints you can buy commercially are quite universal in the way you use them, but you do need to bear in mind that there’s a small number of paints that have specific applications.

One type that is the least expensive and very commonly used for road marking is the water based regular dry road paint that is very versatile and can be used for curb and road marking as well as line striping, and works well on both concrete and asphalt.Other types of paint include oil/solvent based, water based, thermoplastic and reflective paint.

Oil/solvent based paints

These paints consist of chemicals that are solvent with each other in order to make the paint. The key ingredient is oil, vegetable or petroleum based, and because of that, the cleanup process requires special thinning products such as toluene or mineral spirits that can dissolve the oil in the pant.

Solvent based paints are highly recommended for use in colder climates since they don’t freeze or break up, and for higher temperatures, especially above 50 degrees, water based paints are more suitable.

Road Line Marking: How to Choose the Right Paint

Water based paint

The main advantage of regular water based paints is that they contain water as their key ingredient, which means that they are environmentally friendly, easily cleaned without the use of aggressive paint dissolvers and thinners, and are very affordable.

There’s another type of water based paints that’s specially created to fast dry to the touch in about five minutes and be ready for traffic in 15, which makes them especially suitable as line marking paint solutions for the places where regular traffic needs to be restored as soon as possible.

Thermoplastic paint

Thermoplastic paint is no ordinary paint as its key ingredient is plastic, which means that it’s much more durable and wear-resistant once it is dry. Its application can be either hot or cold using different methods, but it also costs more than other regular types of paint. For cold application, you can use the same equipment as for the solvent based paints, without any special attachments. The paint contains plastic polymers which are dissolved in the paint and make it far superior in comparison to its regular counterparts.

Hot applied thermoplastic paint can be applied by a torch (heating the material and bonding it to the surface) or a melter (melting the material in a big hopper), and offers the durability of several years, which can compensate the fact that both the material and the necessary equipment are expensive.

Road Line Marking: How to Choose the Right Paint

Reflective paint

These types of paints are very specific in their use and are generally more expensive, especially if you opt for true reflective paint. Their production process requires adding glass beads into the mix right after its spraying, which gives them the highly reflective characteristic at night time. It’s mostly used for informational road marking and there are several ways of applying it. It can be done by sprinkling the beads by hand onto wet paint, using a bead dispenser or if you own a line marking machine, many leading brands include a glass bead dispenser built in behind the spray tip, so it saves you time and gives maximum quality.

By following the tips outlined here, regardless of the exact type of work you need to do, your choice of the right paint will be much easier. Knowing the specifications about the paint application and its best qualities, you will get exceptional end results every time.

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