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Archive for the ‘Preform Markings’ Category

Winter is Coming, Here Are 4 Ways to Help You Prepare

Monday, November 20th, 2017


With winter coming, SMITH has identified 4 ways to help you prepare for your surface-prep and removal work. 

#1. Last-minute job opportunities

Consider buying or renting equipment now if you expect your customers to, (1) ask you to complete jobs others cannot; or (2) add more work to your current book of business. SMITH can help you identify the right new or used surface-prep equipment, and deliver in time to meet your deadlines.

#2. Equipment service and support

If you have not properly performed your equipment maintenance work during the season, we can help. SMITH can provide your maintenance personnel with technical assistance to assure your equipment is ready to work before its next use.

#3. Operations review 

If you feel your performance fell short of expectations, we can help you identify, discuss, and solve surface-prep issues so they don’t reoccur in the new year. SMITH uses the IDS process which helps companies identify the real issue to performance problems. Once the real issue is clearly identified and all options, data, and ideas are discussed, a solution will be provided and ownership taken to assure the issue can go away forever. After the operational review, we will make recommendations to help you select the right equipment, cutting tools, and removal process to assure you will be operational ready before the start of the new season.

#4. Surface-prep work does not have to be frustrating.

When the prep work is clearly specified in contracts, and there is agreement between all parties as to what the final surface needs to look like, the work can be satisfying and rewarding. SMITH has designed a series of questions for pavement maintenance and concrete flooring maintenance contractors called “The Removal Analysis.” These questions help those organizations better understand if they are equipped with the right tools, personnel and processes to perform the work their clients expect. Organizations that participate in the Removal Analysis can complete their work faster, easier, and more cost-effectively, achieving safer, sustainable surfaces for their clients.

For a free no obligation Removal Analysis to help you prepare for winter, please click here.

The Seven Essential Surface-Prep Tools that belong in Every Striper’s Toolbox

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

Seven Surface-Prep Essentials That Belong in Every Striper’s Toolbox

It’s not always easy to figure out what type of surface-prep equipment tools to own. Even for an experienced pavement marking contractor, putting together the right mix of prep-before-marking removal equipment takes thought, time, and inevitably, money.

As a striping professional, you want to make sure the investment you’re making in surface-prep tools is a good one, especially if you are aiming for quality products where costs can quickly add up.

Various Examples of Removal Techniques

But there are some standards that every striper should have in his toolbox. The following 7 surface-prep tools are the building blocks upon which you can actually get your marking installations to perform better, erase existing markings without a trace, and get paid for doing this essential value added work.

Whether you’re a striping newbie just growing your business, or a pavement-marking veteran ready to ditch your inefficient tools, take a quick look and see what’s currently missing from your surface-prep arsenal:

1. Basic Push Broom

Why you need it:

A simple low-tech standard. You will need a few basic push brooms just to move the loose dirt from under your stripe. Without them, you’ll never get your stripe to stick to sandy roads. A high-tech luxury option is a sweeper broom truck that will sweep, vacuum, and collect dirt and debris in a single action.

How to use it:

Come on, you know how to work a broom! If you haven’t pushed a broom, you’re in the wrong business. Use as a backup to your blower – which may be too loud for the work environment, or inoperable prior to striping.

The affordable one: The luxury option:
Street Push Broom Rotary Sweeper Truck
b1124abroom_sm 1


2. Air Blower

Why you need it:

Blowers are a reliable surface-cleaning tools. A quality hand-held, backpack, or push-style blower serves as a utilitarian essential. Great blowers are low maintenance, and are one of the most important tools to quickly clear loose dirt and debris.

How to use it: 

You know how to blow; just aim that big nozzle under your feet until the dirt flies away.

The affordable one: The luxury option:
Honda Backpack Blower Billygoat Blower
honda-backpack-blower Billy-Goat-Blower

3. Power Washer or Blaster (water/sand/shot)

Why you need it:

After sweeping or blowing away the loose dirt, you still may need to get deeper into the surface pores and cracks on older pavements. You also may need to remove stubborn stains, oils, and grease. Newer style waterblasters that apply more pressure with less water volume allows for less dry time on hot days. However, you’ll need to check the stability of the surface – especially the fines and binder when ultra-high pressure water blasters are used. These expensive rotary jet discs quickly cause asphalt pavement rutting and micro-cracking on portland-cement concrete. Many stripers own a variety of these blasters that can mix with sand, soda, or beads, depending on the working surface and the materials to remove.

How to use it:

The use of low-pressure water systems is not rocket science, although working with ultra-high pressure systems may require a post-graduate degree in physics to get the surface just right.

The affordable one: The luxury option:
Simpson Power Washer Waterblaster
simpson-washer waterblaster

4. Drum-style Scarifier


Why you need it:

You’ve seen these machines used to grind down trip hazards on sidewalks, or scratch up the surface when removing paint, planing off old asphalt, or diamond shaving or grinding down concrete surfaces. If you ever followed the wrong stripe out of your lane in a work zone, you fell victim to a stripe removed by a drum-style scarifier, planer, or groover.

Since stripers normally own just one style of marking remover, it’s typically the drum-style scarifier. Commonly called a “grinder,” it removes the stripe by destructively cutting a sharp-edged groove deep into the surface until the marking is gone, but the surface has an embossed stripe pattern that appears as a former stripe or “ghost line” in wet conditions.

How to use it:

The drum-style scarifiers, planers, groovers and shavers are best used for prep-before-stripe applications. When scarifiers are used to eradicate surface contaminants with a scratching method, it leaves the perfect profiling pattern to mechanically lock the new pavement marking material to the surface. In snow country, a drum-style diamond shaver is the preferred tool to prepare a controlled slot groove prior to embedding liquid or tapes below the snowplow blade. It’s a debate we don’t have time to fully settle here, but know that if it’s called a scarifier, its going to scar the surface.

The affordable one: The luxury option:
FS209 or SPS10 FS351 or FS391
SPS10-FS209 FS351-FS391

5. Rotary-style eraser

Why you need it:

Not every stripe-removal job calls for permanent stripe removal. Some may allow for cover-up paint, or any scarring device to take off thermoplastics, epoxies, or tape that will be soon resurfaced with new asphalt. But if stripes will be removed and replaced in a new location, then it would be inappropriate to leave a deep scar or mark behind with a scarifier when there are far better tools – like no-scar rotary erasing.

How to use it: 

The best part of owning a rotary eraser is knowing it will only remove as deeply as you set it, and the removal pattern will be bevel-edged since the stripe will be pushed aside and not into the surface. The rotary eraser abrades and scrapes markings off the surface like a polisher, and when you properly use one, you’ll meet all DOT non-scarring requirements.

 The affordable one:  The luxury option:
 LNX8  X3 or X1

6. HEPA Dust Extraction

Why you need it:

Any removal method can create harmful silica dust. A HEPA dust extractor is the best possible tool for removing dust and debris from the job site. It’s also the law.

How to use it:

Simply attach the collection hose to the vacuum port of your scarifiers, planers, groovers, shavers, or erasers for dust-free removal.  

Pro tip: own a separate vacuum broom truck for your large removal or surface-prep projects that will follow behind the removal operation. Your future self will thank us during your next striping project.

The affordable one: The luxury option:
MV1000s MV5500
 MV-1000S  Mv-5500-with-MV-SB

7. Inspection tools, ASTM, SP 1-10 Pads

Why you need it:

Surface conditions can be crazy, and staying objective without work stoppage can be difficult when there are many eyeballs inspecting every detail of the job. The use of a visual inspection guide (like the SP 1-10 surface profile pad or SP chart) where a reference number helps all parties agree on achieving the actual surface profile conditions before and after the surface preparation work.

How to use it:

Before the road is striped, use the SP inspection tool to determine the current surface conditions for the new coating, sealer, or marking to be installed or removed. Then select the best representative pad or profile number for the required surface-prep profile finish. During application, your prior SP# agreement with the inspector will be one of the best assets you have before commencing your prep-before-marking work.

 The affordable one:  The luxury option:
 SP Chart  Profile Pads
Profile-Inspection-Tool profile-pads

Disclosure: This is brought to you by the Smith University Xtreme Removal team. We aim to highlight products and services that pavement and flooring maintenance contractors may find of value.

Have something you think we should know about? We welcome your feedback!

© 2017 Smith University

The Power of Surface-Preparation Work

Tuesday, August 1st, 2017

surface preparation

The Power of Surface Preparation Work

Surface preparation doesn’t start with a broom, air blower or power washer. Surface-prep work starts with a drum or rotary-style wet or dry impact device.
Impact equipment of scarifiers, grinders, blasters planers, erasers, or shavers are tools used to alter the surface condition, whereas a broom, air, or power washer simply cleans the surface of accumulated dust, dirt and debris.
Changing the surface condition to an acceptable state for whatever is planned “next” is the objective of proper surface-preparation work. Next can be the applied coatings, markings, overlay, or repair materials. Next can also be just improving the conditions of the existing surface conditions, then leaving it alone.
The use of an impact tool outfitted with the right tools operating in the “impact zone” will get the surface prepared to the right surface profile (SP) condition without causing the surface to micro-crack or bruise. When the surface is properly prepared at the highest level, a condition we call SMITHing, anything applied to that prepared surface will last longer.
Surface-preparation work requires specialized equipment, manpower, and time to complete the work properly. Allowing coatings, overlay, or repair materials to be applied to a surface that is too porous or too smooth results in premature bond failures and unsafe surfaces.
surface preparation
Always remember that an impact device will NOT be used on the job, if
(1) the job doesn’t clearly specify its use, or 
(2) it’s not a final surface condition requirement.
When the surface-prep work is clearly specified, it details what the final surface profile conditions will look like and follow a process like this 4-step.  After the profiling work ends, the final step before application is surface cleaning with a brush, blower, or power washer. 
To assure surface-prep work starts with profiling and ends with clean-up, all parties should agree:
  • The work will be clearly defined in contracts
  • The work will be given a pay consideration
  • The work requires agreement as to what the final SP surface conditions will look like


Proper preparation work can be a rewarding experience for the applicator, the client, and anyone who walks, bikes, rides or uses the surface. When we shine a light on the value of specifying, performing, inspecting, and paying for proper surface-prep work, everyone benefits.
That’s the power of surface preparation work.
© 2017 SMITH Surface-Prep Solutions - 1610 S. Dixie Highway, Pompano Beach, FL 33060-8913
Toll Free: 1-800-653-9311 | Ph: 954-941-9744 | Fax: 954-545-0348
Specifications and data are subject to change without notice.