What type of Line striping paint should I use on my parking lot?

The appearance of a parking lot can be enhanced by proper line striping. The color and the type of paint chosen have much to do with the look. Typically the striping is done in white or yellow and the handicap logos, blue square. Some feel that yellow is more visible and should be used on curbing, hashed areas, words and crosswalks. Others feel the yellow should be used in climates where there is snow. They feel the yellow will be seen better in snowy situations. Some feel the yellow is too commercial looking and should not be used in residential areas like condominiums and apartments. In these areas white may be the preferred color.

What it comes down to is the color you choose, is your personal preference. Some people are even using all blue lines and others are having custom colors made to have their line striping colors match their building.

There are a number of options for the type of paint you use. Prior to 1990, 90% of paint used for parking lots and roadways were oil based. In the 1990’s there was a movement away from the oil base paint and towards more environmentally friendly paints (lead free).

Below is a list of a few paint option you have for striping a parking lot:

  1. Waterborne Paints– Tend to be the most commonly used among line stripers. The advantages are simple; The product is easy to use, cleans up easily and there is barely any fumes. Waterborne line paint has advanced remarkably in the last few years. This type of paint is used when striping a parking lot that has been recently sealed with a coal tar product. Waterborne paints tend not to perform well in temperatures under 50° In Northern climates this shortens the striping season.
  1. Chlorinated Rubber– Typically is a more expensive paint than a waterborne paint. Until recently it would yellow when applied over a newly sealed lot with a coal tar. They now have corrected that problem. Chlorinated Rubber paint dries quickly and is a tougher paint and provides extra durability than a Waterborne Paint. Compared  to a waterborne paint it tends to perform better in a wider range of temperatures. Chlorinated Rubber can be applied in cool temperatures and thus extends the striping season in the cooler climates. Chlorinated Rubber is a high performance paint that dries quickly, has excellent durability and abrasion resistance.
  1. Reflective Paints– Provide the best visibility of parking lines. The headlights of cars light up the beads. This type of line striping is very useful in nighttime, snow, or icy conditions. Reflective paints are basically glass beads put in both Waterborne and Chlorinated Rubber paints. As soon as the paint is applied the beads need to be put in the paint. Then the beads just stick to the paint as it dries.
  1. Thermal Plastic Paints– This is what you see most of the time on highways in New England. It is the striping that appears to be thick and raised up. It is extremely durable and your most expensive option. The cost is many time more than conventional striping. This is not the normal striping material but contains plastic. It requires heat to melt the product down and apply it. Once, it is dry and cured it can withstand a lot more abrasion or abuse than normal line striping. Sealcoating will not stick to it and in most cases it cannot be applied over existing sealcoating or line paint; unless they are very worn. The upside is Thermal Plastic striping lasts longer but the downside is it is very expensive.
  1. Oil Based Paints– The more durable choice but it is banned in certain parts of the country due to the environmental concerns

Additives in Sealcoating

The use of additives is beneficial both to the contractor and the customer. When using additives properly the actual cost of the sealer will go up but the advantages will make it worth while.

There are many additives for coal tar and asphalt based sealers. Each additive may have a different benefit. Picking the proper additive and mix design for your needs is very important. There is an extensive line of sealcoating additives that help you get the most out of your sealer by improving the efficiency and effectiveness of your sealer. Some of the benefits of using a polymer additive are:

  1. Some allow the sealer to dry and cure faster. Saving time and money.
  2. This allows the job to be completed faster. The sealer drying faster means less time needed between each coat of sealer being applied.
  3. Once the project is sealed the line striping crews will be able to get on the lot and start line striping sooner.
  4. If the additive speeds up the curing time then the area will be able to be opened to foot and vehicular traffic sooner. This makes it less time consuming and less disruptive to businesses, schools and residential areas.
  5. Most Additives tend to make the finished job blacker and more uniform in appearance. This making the property more attractive. Which is a great benefit to both the owner and contractor.
  6. Additives will help keep the sand in the sealer suspended and uniformly mixed. The result is a uniform coating of sealer being applied. It also helps hold the sand in the sealer once applied to the asphalt there is less sand rolled out.
  7. The proper additive will improve the performance of the sealer itself by:
  8. Increasing the resistance to chemicals, such as deicing products, oil and gas spills.
  9. Increasing the resistance to water and the damaging elements.
  10. Increasing the flexibility of the coating, which is important with temperature changes.
  11. Sealer with additives typically have less power steering marks and less potential for tacking.
  12. By using additives it can extend the number of days that the sealer can be applied. Some allow sealers to be applied in cooler weather. The faster curing time can also allow you to apply sealer on days when the incoming weather conditions may not be ideal.

The use of additives is beneficial to both the customer (owner) and the contractor. The actual mix design may cost a small amount more, but the long term benefits for both parties of using quality additives and sealer will out weigh the additional material costs.