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How long do line markings last?


We all know that feeling of exasperation when a stretch of perfectly good road you use every day is suddenly adorned with traffic lights, cones and workers. There are plenty of reasons why roads that seem in perfectly good order get dug up - to access faulty utility pipes beneath them, because of hidden structural damage, or even because of a new junction or pedestrian scheme.


What you might not know though is that every time a piece of tarmac is ripped up and replaced, that road markings need to be reapplied - especially line marking paint.


But how long do those line markings last? Or, more pertinently, how long before that stretch of road will need to be closed off again, sans any burst water mains or landslides?


How long line markings last

Really, it all depends. In the UK where roads are constantly subjected to rain, ice, wind and then random bursts of heat during the summer months, it’s incredibly common to see the effects of weather on the roads we use every day - including tyre-killing and suspension-shaking potholes.


We also need to take into account how heavy traffic is on particular road surfaces too, and how often it is that line markings are going to be driven over. For example, a rarely-used country lane with a single white line down the middle, could last for anywhere between 5-10 years, although it will gradually fade over time.


Extremely busy roads, such as motorways and A-roads, might need a refresh every four to five years. Which, when you consider there are over a quarter of a million miles of road in the UK, is a massive job to maintain.


What helps councils, Highways England and road marking companies stay on top of this is making it as quick as possible to apply new paint. For example, our thermoplastic road marking paint can be applied and dry within minutes, meaning stretches of highway don’t have to be closed for more than a few hours to finish a refresh job.


Also, different thicknesses of applied paint can affect the durability too. For example, 3mm of paint thickness will last and stay visible for longer than a 1.5mm thick thermoplastic line.


The use of priming is always underestimated, the durability of the markings depends on the use of the right primer for the right surface.


Read more: The problem with ghost markings


But it’s also very common to see road markings lasting less than two years, especially in busy warehouses, car parks and on roads with high footfall, such as near stadiums or shopping complexes.


If you’re looking for line marking paint to refresh your existing markings, then shop online here.