Which Material or Line Marking Paint to Use

Paint, epoxy, thermoplastics, ... We tell you everything about the different road marking materials

Epoxy, thermoplastic road marking or one, two or three component paints

There are different kinds of materials that can be used for road marking. The processing method is equal for all materials, but you might want to consider a specific material for a specific application. We give a roundup of the most important materials for road marking and explain the points of concern when applying them. 

1-component waterborne road marking paint

As the name suggests, water is one of the base ingredients of waterborne paints, making it the most affordable of all pavement marking paints. It can be applied at a faster rate than most other materials and under ideal conditions it can have a very fast drying time. One major disadvantage of water-based paint is its sensitivity to temperature. Precautions must be taken to protect stored material from freezing and extreme heat. During application, the paint is very sensitive to high humidity, which can drastically increase drying time. It is also the least durable marking material and thus not recommended for roadways with high traffic volumes.

1-component solventborne road marking paint

Solvent-borne paints are formulated on the base of hydrocarbon solvents carrying the solid components (binders, pigments and additives). If you operate in colder climates you might prefer solvent based paint because it won't freeze – water based paints tend to break down when the temperatures reach near freezing. Humidity is generally not a problem for solvent based paints. Keep in mind that cleaning up requires special solvent thinning products such as mineral spirits.

2-component road marking paint

Multiple-component paints mostly consist of two components: base material and hardener. The components stay separated and are only mixed during the process of applying the paint.  These types of marking materials are particularly durable and characterised by a good price/performance ratio. They are stronger than 1-component paints, making them the perfect material for outdoor marking.


Epoxy road marking paint

Epoxy resin is a durable, two-component pavement marking material consisting of a pigmented resin base and a hardener. Before applying, both components are mixed at a rate of 2 parts resin: 1 part hardener. This material is sprayed and often combined with reflective glass beads to provide night-time retroreflectivity. Epoxy can be applied at lower temperature and makes a mechanical bond with the road surface. Pay attention to the mix proportions as they are crucial for the quality of the material.

About reflective beads for road marking

Reflective beads are added to the surface of the paint during application to produce night-time retroreflectivity. A separate gun adds reflective glass beads to the wet paint at the time of application. They are typically applied under pressure to achieve the proper embedment in the paint before its fast drying nature causes it to form a surface skin.

Polyester road marking paint

Polyester resin material is a 3-component material. At the time of application, a catalyst is added to start the reaction. After that the material is sprayed onto the roadway. Reflective beads are added using a separate gun located directly behind the paint gun. Polyester is long lasting and durable, does not discolour badly and is relatively inexpensive. It works well on concrete. As with epoxy, the mix proportions are crucial.

Thermoplastic road marking material

Thermoplastic resin material is a blend of solid ingredients that become a homogenized liquid when heated and properly agitated. It comes intermixed with some reflective beads. Applied at the proper temperature, the thermoplastic melts into the upper surface of the pavement forming a thermal bond. Thermoplastic provides a visible, durable pavement marking because of its thickness and the use of intermixed and drop-on beads. Thermoplastics are not suited for indoor usage.

Road marking tape

Road marking tape consists of pigments, resins, and reflective materials (glass beads or reflective elements) and comes ready to use. Tapes are similar to other markings: pigments are used to produce colour, and suitable resins are used to provide the necessary wear characteristics. This material can be used for lane lines, legends, symbols, and transverse markings. Permanent Additional adhesive (primer) can be applied to the pavement to enhance the bond. Road marking tape is ideal for temporary markings and is particularly used for indoor applications like warehouses, where paint is not always possible or the layout changes from time to time.

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