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Road Markings Made Stronger

Where the Rubber Meets the Marking in the Road


When tires abruptly turn on a pavement marking (i.e., right-hand turn or roundabout), the amount of shear surface force on it causes coating materials – that are only held at the surface – to prematurely release. When the surface has a sound texture, one that matching the thickness of the applied coatings (without surface micro-fractures), the increase of mechanical bond strength will allow the applied coatings to withstand a much greater shearing turn force.

Most pavement markings fail due to its inability to properly bond with an underlaying surface that may be too impermeable, or too unstable to hold the marking in place. For instance, a dry-erase whiteboard is a good example of a non-porous surface where markings stay on top of the surface, which can be quickly wiped off on demand. Only when the whiteboard’s tough outer shell is scratched will the markings penetrate.

road marking

Alternatively, a white paper pad is a good example of a porous surface that quickly absorbs markings for a permanent bond that is very difficult to remove. If stripers install their markings on very smooth asphalt or concrete surfaces, especially in areas where there is heavy shearing of tires in stop-and-go traffic, turning lanes, or in traffic roundabouts, the bond strength of the coating is put to a severe test.

road marking

Markings that were applied on very smooth surfaces that are only on top of the surface (like a whiteboard) allow the shearing of the tires to quickly break the coating bond from the road. Adding a surface profile is the only way to support the applied coating system with a tough mechanical bond being formed, allowing the applied material to wet into the prepared porous substrate.

Here is a recommended profile guide for various applied coating, marking, overlay and repair materials when the material manufacturer does not furnish their own profile guide standards:

Marking Type
SP# Removal
to itself?
Best for
 Sealer (S) 1-5  N/A 1-2  80-100  Yes  C
 Thin Paint (P) 4-15 50 1-3 80-100  Yes A, S
 High Builds (H) 15-30 50 3-5 80-100 Yes A, S
Epoxy (2) 15-30 50 4-6 80-100 Yes C, A
Polyester (2) 15-30 50 4-6 80-100 Yes C, A
Urethane (2) 15-25 50 4-6 80-100 Yes C, A
MMA (2) 60-120 150 4-6 80-100 Yes A, S
Thermoplastic (T) 60-120 150 4-6 80-100 Yes A, S
Preform Tape (A) 30-120 150 4-6 80-100 Yes A, S
Overlays (O) 125-250 N/A 5-9 80-100 Yes A, C, S
Repair Material (R) 250+ N/A 5-9 80-100 Yes A, C, S
* A=asphalt, C=concrete, S=surface treatments

Surface Profiles:

road marking

NOTE: The pavement-marking material manufacturer will recommend their desired SP (1-10) range prior to the application of their materials on top, or recessed below the surface.




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Toll Free: 1-800-653-9311 | Ph: 954-941-9744 | Fax: 954-545-0348
Specifications and data are subject to change without notice.