When it comes to road line marking removal, what are your options?

Often, a line marking project in a road, warehouse or other communal facility involves the need to remove existing lines first, either to repaint new ones in the same place or to create an entirely new liner marking layout. Simply adding new paint directly onto the existing lines will create problems later on when the old paint starts to flake or the new paint fails to adhere correctly to the surface and so required frequent maintenance. Removing painted lines is also not always as straightforward as one might imagine. The markings will be made up of different compositions and mixes of paint, retro-reflective glass, thermoplastics etc. Knowing the difference between each of these materials is the key to removing them safely and successfully the first time.

Here are a few ways to removal line markings


A scabbling machine comprises a rotating drum of tungsten-tipped points that chip away the paint as the device moves over it. This is especially effective for heavier duty paint removal jobs, such as thermoplastic or removing marks from a concrete surface. They are not so appropriate for more fragile surfaces, as there is more of a risk that the surrounding areas can become damaged in the process.

Thermal lancing

This is a common method that has been in use for years. It involves burning the paint away using compressed air that has been heated to a very high temperature. It is a cost-effective method and one that can be performed quickly to reduce the impact on the site and its regular traffic. However, it can be a noisy procedure so may not suit areas where the sound will have a negative impact, such as near hospitals or school playgrounds.

Short-term options

Of course, there may be circumstances when lines and road markings need to be removed on a temporary basis, such as during a building project on site when parking restrictions are altered to allow space for the construction machinery. Here, removable, performed black tape can be very effective. It must be applied during clement weather, with the surface dry, clean and free from salt. The tape adheres to the surface via a waterproof seal, so it is important that the seal is not compromised or the tape will start to lift and could become a tripping or other accident hazard.

Jet Blasting

Another method of line removal is jet blasting or directing extremely strong jets of water at the paint to remove it from the road, floor or ground surface. It has the added advantage of causing no damage to the surrounding ground and allows for high levels of accuracy and precision.

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