Clean and Retrieve – Blog post

How long do road markings last?  

When you dig up the roads, you have no choice but to replace the road markings you’ve disturbed. But it’s not the only time you’ll have to re-lay these lines.

Road and car park markings inevitably fade over time. 

Line markings typically last between one and four years under average conditions. Of course, there are variables, and we’ll look at some of the determining factors in this blog. 

The difference between types of road marking paint 

Your choice of road marking paint will affect the longevity of the white lines and road markings you apply. Thermoplastic paint typically lasts longer than water-based paints. 

Here’s a rough guide to what you can expect from the different types of road marking paint: 

  • Water-based paint: six months to a year 
  • Thermoplastic paint: one to three years or longer 
  • Epoxy paint: two to five years or more 

Surface preparation is crucial to ensuring your road markings last as long as possible. The paint cannot adhere properly if the road’s surface isn’t primed in the correct way. 

A well-prepared surface enhances the durability of thermoplastic markings. The paint forms a strong bond with the road, reducing the likelihood of premature wear and peeling.

Wear and tear (weather and traffic) 

Over time, white lines and road markings fade on roads and in car parks.  Weather and traffic conditions are the two biggest contributors to this wear and tear. 

The flow of traffic impacts how long your road markings last. Quiet country lanes with fewer vehicles passing over them daily will likely last longer than a busy motorway with heavy traffic. 

Weather conditions also have a part to play. Ice, snow, and rain can all affect the longevity of road markings.  Additionally, the salt used to de-ice roads in winter can accelerate wear and tear. 

Guidelines on replacing worn road markings

There are no official guidelines on how often you should replace worn road markings, but car park owners and highway agencies do have a duty of care to ensure the markings are clearly visible and well-maintained. 

Transportation authorities typically have their own guidelines and inspection schedules to determine when road markings need replacing. 

It’s essential for transportation agencies to take a proactive approach to road marking maintenance, including regular inspections and timely replacement based on established criteria.

The final word on road marking replacement

Road markings are critical to keep drivers and pedestrians safe. They keep traffic flowing in the right direction; without them, the roads would be chaos. Faded, peeling or poorly maintained road markings present a danger to road users. 

If they can’t be seen, the markings must be replaced. There are no official guidelines on how often you should replace your road markings, so it’s important you regularly inspect them to ensure they’re still up to scratch. 

Road markings typically last between one and four years, depending on the weather conditions, traffic flow, and the type of paint used. Correct surface preparation is key to increasing their longevity, so it pays to use a professional road marking contractor. 

Post author
Galina Riggott
Date of blog post
8 December 2023

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