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Different types of line marking paints and their advantages


Wondering which line marking paint is best to use for your project? It's important to understand the different types of line marking paint to ensure you pick a product that's suitable for each surface type.


There are six main types of road or line marking paints and products;

  1. Hot Thermoplastic

  2. MMA

  3. Solvent-Based Acrylic

  4. Water-Based

  5. Epoxy

  6. Pre-formed Thermoplastic Tape and Marking

  7. Others


Hot Thermoplastic

Thermoplastic line marking paint is the most common type of paint in the road marking industry.


Hot thermoplastic is a combination of synthetic resin, pigments and glass beads (pigments give colours and glass beads add reflectivity). It comes in powder form which is heated in a tank and is then applied by a special line marking/striper machine or the screed version can be applied with a hand mould. Applied correctly and at the right temperature, the paint melts on the surface and forms a strong and durable bond.


Depending on traffic conditions the paint can last for 7-10 years.


Advantages – Cheap. Cures in minutes, very fast drying. Excellent durability. Low maintenance.


Disadvantages – As it is hot-applied, extra care needs to be given to PPE and application. Needs special installation equipment (increases capital expenditure). Not advisable for application on concrete.


MMA

Methyl-Methacrylate (MMA) is also known as Cold Plastic. It is the most durable and also the most expensive paint available. It is similar to thermoplastic paint but applied cold and exceeds hot thermoplastic performance.


MMA line marking paint is a two-component paint - the paint component and the catalyst. The catalyst is added to the paint and mixed in well, it is then applied via hand (brush, roller or hand mould). The working life (pot life) when mixed is about 10-15 mins, so the application is needs to be done fairly immediately, all surface preparation is done before mixing in the catalyst.


MMA comes in a sprayable version as well. There are options of two catalysts that can be used a liquid peroxide or drop on coated beads. The sprayable MMA is ideal for bigger jobs.


Depending on traffic conditions the paint can last for 8- 10 years.


Advantages – Extremely long lasting. Dries quickly. Can be used in very low temperatures. Can be used on varied surfaces. Cost-effective in the long run.


Disadvantages - Expensive. Smells of ammonia.


Solvent-Based Acrylic

Solvent based acrylic line marking paint comes in a single pack. They are cold applied and can be applied with a machine (spray) or hand (brush, roller or hand mould). It is relatively straightforward to use, - open the tub, mix the paint and apply.


Solvent-based paints come in a low VOC option which is much safer for the environment and the installer. This paint is favoured more in countries where the weather is wet and humid.


Depending on traffic conditions the paint can last for 3-5 years.


Advantages – Easy to use. Hard wearing. Low VOCs. Does not freeze like water-based paints. Can be applied in humid weather. Can be used on varied surfaces.


Disadvantages – Not as durable as thermoplastic and MMA and takes longer to dry. Risk of hazard greater than water-based paints.



Water-Based Line Marking Paint

As the name suggests it is water-based and is better for the environment. It is cold applied and is as straightforward as single pack solvent-based paints - open the tub, mix the paint and apply. Again, it can be applied via machine or hand like the solvent-based paints.


It is less damaging to the environment and has low fume levels, however, it is not advisable to use it when humidity is high particularly in the winter months. This paint is favoured more in countries where the weather is hot and dry.


Depending on traffic conditions the paint can last for 3-5 years.


Advantages – Easy to use. Hard wearing. Environmentally friendlier compared with other paints. Quick-dry in a warm climate. Can be used on varied surfaces. Less hazardous than others.


Disadvantages – Not as durable as other paints. Takes much longer to dry to humid conditions.


Epoxy

Epoxy paints are extremely hard-wearing and resistant to chemicals. It is used more indoors in places like garages, workshops, warehouses and other industrial floors.

Epoxy paint comes in a single pack or a two pack. Single pack epoxy is not as hard-wearing as the two-pack.


The two-pack epoxy has a resin and a hardener that are mixed together before application. Once applied it forms a mirror-like film that is resistant to abrasion, fuel and chemicals. The paint can be applied with a spray, brush or a roller.


Advantages – Hard-wearing and long-lasting. Abrasion, chemical and fuel resistance film. Can be used on varied surfaces.


Disadvantages – More expensive than other paints. Takes longer to dry. Overtime can become chalky.



Pre-formed Thermoplastic Tape and Markings

Preformed thermoplastic is thermoplastic that has been bonded/preformed into rolls or sheets for ease of use. For the tape - simply cut the required length and heat it with a gas torch, that’s how easy it is to use. For the preformed and pre-cut markings, lay them as needed and heat it with a gas torch. The surface preparation is required as is with any paint. There is much less fuss and hassle with the preformed thermoplastics.


It is used for small projects and quick jobs. Depending on traffic conditions it can last for 2-5 years.


Advantages – Easy to sue. Cures in minutes, very fast drying. Good durability. No hassle. No wastage.


Disadvantages – Is not feasible for bigger jobs, it becomes expensive and time consuming compared to other paints.


Other types of line marking paint

There are other line marking paints such as Chlorinated Rubber and Polyurethane but their usage is slowly diminishing due to the harsh chemicals in the products, which is very harmful to the user and the environment. Some countries have completely banned the usage of these due to health and safety reasons and availability of better products.


These paints are used in the UK, albeit not very popular for line marking. They are both heavy-duty paints and can be applied in a similar fashion to the other paints discussed above.


Advantages – High durability. Inexpensive.


Disadvantages – Harsh chemicals and smell.



If you would like to give suggestions or add some more information to this article, please email us as at admin@linewayuk.com.