Clean and Retrieve – Blog post

What type of paint is used for road marking?

Choosing the right paint for the job is essential to ensure your road markings last. Get it wrong, and you may need to reapply your floor markings sooner than you thought. 

Learn more about the different types of road marking paint and their applications in this article. 

What are road markings made from? 

Road markings are made using various types of paint. They can be applied using specialist marking machines or by hand with a roller, brush, or hand mould. 

This section looks at the top four road line marking paints and considers their strengths, weaknesses, and ideal uses.  

  1. Thermoplastic paint
  2. Water-based and acrylic paints
  3. Epoxy-resin
  4. Methyl Methacrylate (MMA)

  1. Thermoplastic road marking paint

Thermoplastic paint is the most commonly used road marking paint. Most of the markings you see on the UK’s highways use this type of paint. 

Also referred to as hot melt marking paint or hot tape because it’s applied after heating, it melts to form a durable bond with the road’s surface. 

Large-scale areas can be covered quickly with this paint, and you can expect it to last a long time. It’s reflective and hard-wearing, making it an ideal road marking paint for busy highways. 

You can also buy thermoplastic paint in pre-cut shapes or a roll for easy application. 

2. Water-based and acrylic paints 

This type of paint has a low profile and anti-slip properties, so it’s ideal for factory and warehouse line marking, car parks, and airfields. 

Water-based and acrylic traffic paints are less costly than many other paints but less durable than thermoplastic road markings. Acrylic paints also have a high VOC content, so particular care should be taken when using them. 

3. Epoxy line marking paint 

Epoxy is a synthetic paint highly resistant to chemicals, abrasion, and fuels. It’s ideal for interior floor markings in workshops, warehouses, and factories. 

Two-part epoxy paint is pre-mixed with resin and then applied in a thin layer to form hard-wearing and highly visible floor markings. 

Its biggest drawback is that it’s relatively expensive compared to some other paints.    

4. MMA cold-plastic paint 

Methyl Methacrylate (MMA) shares many of the same properties as thermoplastic markings, but this type of paint is applied cold using a brush, roller, or hand mould. 

It’s hard-wearing and holds its colour well, which makes it ideal for junctions, roundabouts, and crossings.  

Cold-plastic paint is expensive, but it can be applied to most surfaces and outstrips the performance of almost all other road marking paints.

How long does road marking paint last? 

You can expect thermoplastic road markings to last between seven and ten years, depending on how much wear and tear they endure. 

Water-based paint, acrylic and epoxy paints generally last three to five years. Heavy traffic, harsh weather conditions, and exposure to chemicals or abrasion can all affect its lifespan.  

MMA cold-plastic paint is the most durable of all paints, lasting between eight and ten years.

Correct surface preparation and application are essential to maximising the longevity of these road line marking paints. This includes thoroughly cleaning the surface, ensuring it’s free of dust, dirt, and debris.

Post author
Galina Riggott
Date of blog post
12 May 2023

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