Paint is the most basic and essential road marker used worldwide. Road markings applied in paint can be seen almost everywhere. This is because modern road paints are economical and long-lasting. Road painting has gone into many series of innovations and improvements throughout history. Road paint, by Ennis Flint particularly, now has different varieties and many other types of road markers are now used to complement basic road painting.
The application of paint involves the use of special trucks and equipments to ensure that the outcome of the road painting is uniform and well-polished. Road painting needs to be very neat and clean because drivers depend on the clarity of the road marking’s appearance for guidance in direction, hazard warnings, and traffic lanes. The special truck used for paint application is called a “striper” and the process of applying road paint is called striping. Striping, however, is only done with road lines; other road markings need to be applied using different methods.
Road paintcomes indifferent types, but there are only two major classifications: water-based and solvent based. Water-based paint is the type that uses water as the paint’s solvent instead of chemical solvents. It is usually used in road pavement along environmentally-friendly places because it does not contain chemicals that can harm the surrounding environment. Water-based paint, however, is long-drying compared to solvent-based paint. This type of paint is also thinner in consistency, but thicker applications can allow for the addition of retro-reflective glass beads to enhance road painting reflectivity and brightness.
Solvent-based paint is the type that uses synthetic chemical solvents. It has several types based on the kind of chemical solvent used in the paint mixture. Solvent-based paints are fast-drying compared to water-based paint. They also bind well on pavement and asphalt road surfaces, and retain added retro-reflective glass beads better than water-based paints.
The following are the common solvent-based paints used in road marking:
Latex paint – This is the most common type of solvent-based paint used in road marking. It dries very fast when applied with heat because it uses sealant chemicals to bind the paint more efficiently on the surface and ward off humidity that can affect the paint’s quality.
Acetone paint – This is commonly used on cured asphalt road surfaces. It uses acetone as its main solvent, so it is highly volatile and fast-drying. It is applied only on dry roads and without any heat application.
Besides the use of paint, road lines and marks may also be applied using other chemical road markers:
Thermoplastic – This is applied like the other road paint, except that it has properties different from paint. Thermoplastic is a solid chemical material that heated and melted in a “hot kettle” during application and dries into its solid form again as it binds with the road surface. Thermoplastic dries and hardens as quickly as 60 seconds and may also be added or combined with retro-reflective glass beads. Thermoplastics are wear-resistant and are ideal for high-traffic highways. However, if not used with glass beads, the thermoplastic surface may tend to be shiny and slippery so it has to be coated with another layer of anti-skid paint.
Preformed thermoplastic – These are pre-cut thermoplastic markers that have the same properties of thermoplastic paint. These are ideal for marking logos, arrows, and signage on the road pavement. Preformed thermoplastics are applied manually using a gas torch.