Category Archives: Articles about the Striping Business

Articles about parking lot, factory floor and field striping.

Marking Bollards and Light Post Bases with Reflective Tape

When restriping or sealcoating a parking lot you will often be asked to freshen up light pole bases and bollards.  (bollard are poles that protect other objects like buildings)

As a part of painting these items it is normally a good idea to apply a band of reflective tape around the circumference so that vehicles can see and avoid them.

Because bollards are fairly large in diameter, any reflective tape will wrap around them.  The choice would be how bright of a tape  you need and how much you want to spend.

Standard flexible engineer grade tape is inexpensive and easy to apply.  It is very pliable and will conform very well.  A 1 inch – 6 inch roll is normally plenty wide.  Type 1 engineer grade is good for applications where the viewer is within 300 feet of the bollard.

Prismatic reflective tapes such as an Oralite V82 or V92 will also work well and are much brighter.  They are thin and will wrap well around a radius.  You would use a brighter tape like one of these for applications where the viewer needs to see the tape a thousand feet out versus a few hundred feet.  

For applications that require a lot of conformability, a flexible high intensity tape is best.  These tapes are in between an engineer grade and a prismatic tape in brightness.  Good out to say 500 feet.

– Where to Find Parking Lot / Traffic Striping Paint

– Where to Find Parking Lot / Traffic Striping Paint

Once you have your machine assembled and ready to use you are going to need some paint.  For striping parking lots, warehouses or roads we recommend using traffic paint.  There are several types of traffic paint.  We recommend either waterborne acrylic or solvent/oil based traffic paint.  Both have their advantages and disadvantages.

Water based paints clean up very easily with water.  They are easy to find and easy to thin and mix.  Under normal conditions they dry very quickly.  Normally in around 10 – 15 minutes.  At night or on a cloudy day the dry time will increase.  They are recommended over solvent based paints when spraying over sealcoat or fresh asphalt as the chemicals generally will not bleed through the paint.  The only disadvantage is the dry time.  It can be a little long at night or in moist conditions.  Adding alcohol to the paint will shorten this time.

Oil or Solvent based traffic paint generally dries very quickly.  It must be thinned either with a solvent or mineral spirits.  The machine would also need to be cleaned with a solvent or mineral spirits.  Getting rid of the solvent or mineral spirits after cleaning may present a problem.  Unlike water, it is unlawful to just pour it onto the ground.  Also, since solvent or oil based paints dry so quickly you have to constantly clean the machines spray tip so the paint does not dry on it.  These types of paint are not recommended to be used on sealcoat or fresh asphalt as bleed through often occurs.  In other words your white or yellow lines can turn brown.

Overall I highly recommend waterborne or  water based acrylic traffic paint.

You can find traffic paint at Sherwin Williams or a Home Improvement store.  However, you will pay a premium price.  To get a good deal on paint go to an independent paint store and look for traffic paint.  When you find it look on the bucket for the manufacturer.  They are normally fairly close and will almost always sell to you directly or point you to a distributor.  You can save from $5 to $10 dollars per gallon getting paint this way.

– Best Ways to Stripe a Factory Cement or Concrete Floor – Striping How To Guide

Lines on factory floors serve several purposes.  Lines let people and machinery know where to go and where not to go. They designate where inventory and raw materials belong.  They guide you to safety in the event of an emergency.  And most of all, lines keep people safe.  The liability to a company in the event of an accident on an unmarked floor is tremendous and avoidable.

This article covers the various ways of striping a factory floor along with the pros and cons of each.  We also cover what the different colors mean.

The color of a line has a distinct meaning.  The chart below outlines what the different colors mean.

 5S Floor Marking Color System

Line Color  Used to Mark:
Yellow Aisle-ways, traffic lanes and work cells
White Equipment and fixtures (workstations, carts, floor stand displays, racks, etc,) not otherwise color coded
Blue, green and/or black Materials and components, including raw materials, work-in-progress and finished goods
Orange Materials or product held for inspection
Red Defects, scrap, rework and red tag areas
Red and white Areas to be kept clear for safety/compliance reasons (e.g. areas in front of electrical panels, fire fighting equipment and safety equipment such as eyewash stations, safety showers and first aid cabinets)
Black and white Areas to be kept clear for operational purposes (not related to safety and compliance)
Black and yellow Areas that may expose employees to special physical or health hazards (e.g. flammable or combustive material containers); Indicates that extra caution should be exercised when entering and working in the area

Ways of Creating Lines on Factory Floors

Solid color lines can be created using either paint, preformed thermoplastic or adhesive tapes.  Striped lines can be created with paint or thermo but they are more easily created using pre-striped adhesive tapes.  Remember, nothing sticks to wax, grease or dirt and nothing will stick to a wet floor.  A clean dry surface that has been stripped of all wax and grease is necessary for any striping to work.

If you prefer to use tape we carry a product called Tuff Mark.  It is an industrial floor striping tape that is extremely tough and has a very aggressive adhesive.  The tape comes in 2″, 3″ and 4″ widths.  The rolls are 54 feet long each.  We have red, yellow, black, white, green, blue, yellow/black and white/red. We carry the yellow and yellow/black rolls in 2 and 3 inches at  For other colors and widths you can contact us at 850-934-3157.  The advantage of using tape is ease of application. (no equipment needed)  Longevity is another advantage especially when using the Tuff Mark product.  Adhesive tapes work well on slick, smooth surfaces where paint often has a problem sticking. The main disadvantage of tape is the cost per linear foot.  You can click here for an image of the available colors.

Another tape that you can use is our aluminum based floor marking tape.  It is less expensive per linear foot than the Tuff Mark product.  It has the advantage of being conformable since it is aluminum and is also removable if necessary.  It can be damaged by fork lifts but is easily replaceable.  We carry 1″, 2″ and 4″ rolls of this product in yellow and white.  This product also works best on smooth surfaces but will conform if necessary.

 Painting floors is probably the most popular way to apply lines.  A paint striping machine like the ones we sell on this site work very well.  A striping machine can lay down a hundred feet of lines in just a matter of minutes.  The disadvantage of paint is that on a surface that is very slick it tends to want to flake back off.  This is because it was not able to truly grip the surface.  Grinding or scarifying the floor can correct this issue.  A striping machine will apply any color that you need.  The only thing it won’t do is put down striped lines.

Preformed Thermoplastic is another way to stripe floors.  This is a 90 mil thick product that is melted into a surface.  It is very tough and will last longer than any other form of striping.  In general, this product will only work on a surface that is porous. To test your surface just take a teaspoon of water and apply it to the cement.  If it soaks in immediately then preformed thermoplastic should work well.  If it sits on top then preformed will not work well.  As a general rule, if a surface is like a driveway it will be porous and will be compatible.  If it is like a garage floor it will be too slick. One thing to note is that scarifying of grinding the surface can will make it compatible in most cases.  Also, preformed thermoplastic works very well on all asphalt surfaces.

Note – Tapes are great on smooth surfaces where all of the tape can make contact with all of the surface.  Paints and thermoplastic work best on porous rougher surfaces where they have something to grab onto.  Tape will often work on surfaces that paint will not stick to and paint or thermoplastic will often work on surfaces that tape will not conform and stick to.

All of the products listed above have characteristics that make them the best choice given certain conditions.  A typical factory may use tape, paint, and preformed thermoplastic for the different areas in the plant.

– Striping or Marking Concrete / Cement Factory or Warehouse Floors – Paint or Thermoplastic

OSHA and other regulatory agencies require that floors be marked for safety purposes. Striping or marking cement floors is always a challenge.  When using paint or thermoplastic there are a few issues that make the task problematic.  These are slick cement, curing compounds, grease and dirt.  The good news is that these issues can be corrected. If you choose to paint your floors or use a melt down thermoplastic then the first thing you would want to do is a water test.

Water Test – To see if your concrete is ready for paint or thermoplastic you can try this simple test.  Take a tablespoon of water and put in on the floor.  If it soaks in in just a few second then your floor is porous enough to accept a coating.  If it sits there for several minutes then paint or thermoplastic will not perform well since it cannot grab the surface or soak in.  Keep in mind that if water can’t soak in then the paint will not either.

If your cement does not soak up water you do have the option of using an adhesive tape. We carry a product called Tuff Mark that is made to work on slick surfaces as long as they are clean and dry.  It is very rugged and adheres very well.  If you choose paint then the steps below will help.  We have an article outlining the various ways to stripe factory cement floors at this link.

Problems –

First, warehouse and factory floors are generally smooth much like your garage or house foundation floor.  The finishing process that is used to smooth the cement to a slick finish closes the pores in the cement and prevents moisture from soaking into the floor like it would on say a driveway or other rougher cement surface.  The problem that this creates for striping is that the paint has little to grab and subsequently will begin to flake or chip off.  This problem is accelerated by forklift and equipment traffic.

Second, when cement is poured a curing compound is often used to help the concrete hold in moisture so that it cures slow and  gains proper strength.  This compound is present on the surface of the foundation and remains indefinitely.  The curing compound can prevent paint or thermoplastic from adhering to the surface.

Third, over time cement becomes dirty and greasy.  These types of surfaces tend to not hold paint well.

Solutions –

The problem of slick cement or curing compounds can be overcome via the use of a concrete grinder or scarifier.  These machines take off from 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch of cement.  This removes the top layer of the cement that would have the most curing compound in it and also roughs up the surface so that paint can grab it.  Running a grinder or scarifier over the areas where you want lines will increase paint and thermoplastic adhesion substantially.  After you scarify a strip for painting you can try the water test again.  At this point the water should soak in to the cement more quickly than before.

Dirty and greasy cement can be cleaned using a degreasing compound and a pressure washer.  You can also use a degreaser, a scrubber and a water hose.  Once the surface is clean just let it dry for a few days and then apply your paint.

– Laying Out New Parking Lot Stripes, Lines, Arrows, Handicap, ADA Markings

In certain situations you will be called upon to lay out a new parking lot that has no lines.  Doing this requires pre-planning and knowledge of regulatory restrictions.  In other words there are some lines and symbols that are required by law.  Some lots will be part of a new construction project where plans are involved and others will be lots that for some reason just do not have stripes.   Some may have had stripes at one time but they are worn completely.  We will cover both types of lots.

For almost all new construction projects there will be a set of plans that will tell you exactly where to put all lines.  If you are in a situation like this all you need to do is mark where the lines will go and spray.    To mark the lines you will take an inverted spray can in a holder and mark dots where the lines begin and end.  This way you can go over the job BEFORE you spray and make sure everything is perfect.   You will need to find a benchmark which is something on the plans that you can locate and measure from.  This is often a curb.  Using a benchmark will assure that your lines are in the proper place.   Also, measuring from two or three spots is a good idea.  Measure out using the plans and begin marking where the lines start.  Then measure again and mark the other end of the lines.  For centerline on nose to nose parking you should be able to make two marks and pull a cord between them to make a straight line and then mark dots down the line.  For arrows you can just make a litte arrow with your spray wand to denote where the arrow will go and which direction it will point.   For angled spaces you would measure out all your center lines if it is nose to nose parking then mark where the parking line is going to cross.  Then you can take an angle tool and pull your parking lines.  If each space is 20 feet you would make a cord that was 40 feet long with a mark in the middle.  Pull it tight over the centerline, verify the angle, and mark dots down the line.  You can go into as much detail as you wish with the spray wand.  When you are done you can drive through the lot and try to park and pull out and turn, etc..   Make sure everything makes sense.  Go over it with the contractor if necessary and then when you are sure everything is correct begin spraying.

For unmarked lots with no plans you would do the same thing but you would have to do a sketch beforehand and get the owner to sign off on it.  You need to make sure there is sufficient room for cars to come in and park and back out and turn.  Don’t create a maze. Also, on angled spaces make sure they are wide enough.  When you angle a space the top and bottom widths have to be increased.  Otherwise you can easily create a lot full of motorcycle spaces.  As with the previous method, make sure to mark everything with paint dots and try to park yourself before striping.  Make sure the owner looks at how things will be laid out.  Once you are satisfied that everything is ok just set up your machine and spray.

Here are a couple of tips.  If you are using a water based paint then use a water based inverted spray so that the two are compatible.  For pulling long lines you can take an extension hose reel and put rope on it.  Pull out what you need, weight it down and fasten the other end.   You can click here to see our article on ADA and handicap marking requirement.

– Parking Lot Striping as a Business

Parking Lot Striping has been consistently rated as one of the top small businesses in America. Your initial investment is relatively low and profit margins are high. Once you have purchased your equipment and supplies, you will find that materials make up about 10% of each job. This means that the vast majority of the revenue from a job goes to you.  A typical striping company can earn $2,000 – $4,000 profit per month with ease.

To begin striping as a business you simply need to take the following basic steps.

  • Set up a basic business structure.  (sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation or LLC)
  • Set up a bookkeeping system and checking account.
  • Purchase a striping machine and practice using it.
  • Begin marketing your new business.
  • Prepare quotes for new jobs.
  • Complete the job and invoice the customer.
  • Collect the check.

This may seem like an over simplification of the process but it is really not very difficult.  We started our company and before we even had a machine we had two jobs to do.  One was Baptist Hospital and the other was Home Depot.  We made about $3,000 in a weekend and paid for all of our equipment.