Line marking is essential on a variety of surfaces such as roads, car parks, warehouses, loading docks, depots and manufacturing facilities. It’s important for directing traffic, marking out areas and zones, creating hazard warnings, indicating entrances and exits and so on.
From time to time, however, line markings will need to be altered. This could be due to roadworks, changing warehouse layout or changes to safety regulations or a host of other reasons. However, since line markings are designed to withstand an incredible amount of wear and tear, they are not easy to remove. That means line marking removal requires some serious machinery to get the job done.
Line removal also needs to be safe to those carrying out the work, as well as safe for those nearby like pedestrians or other workers. The process should also minimise damage to the surface while thoroughly removing all traces of the lines and should be carried out in an environmentally friendly way so that the marking and the material used to remove the marking is all collected.
There are several common methods used for line marking removal. The best method depends on the type of line marking and the surface the marking is being removed from. So let’s have a look at the most common methods of line marking removal.
Technically speaking, blacking out isn’t a form of line removal since it only obscures or covers up the lines with a topcoat of similar colour to the road (usually black) or pavement (usually grey). This is the most cost-effective form of line removal since it’s quick and easy and doesn’t require any specialty equipment.
However, blacking out is generally considered only a temporary solution, especially on high-traffic surfaces like roads. Over time, the blacking out material tends to fade or get worn away by foot or road traffic, exposing the old lines. This can be confusing and potentially dangerous, especially on roads or in car parks as drivers may not know which lines to follow.
Blacking out is often used when lines need to be obscured immediately and the proper line removal equipment isn’t readily available.
Mechanical grinding is another common way of removing paint and lines from concrete and bitumen surfaces. Grinding involves the high speed rotation of hardened steel or tungsten carbide cutters. The pressure and depth of the cutter can be adjusted to remove only the desired amount of surface.
Grinding is another cost-effective way of removing paint and line markings from hard surfaces. However, it does have its downsides. Grinding can leave indentations in the surface and leave visible texture differences. It can also be messy, throwing up a lot of dust and surface debris. Some grinders include dust collection systems. But for those that don’t, surface cleaning may be required after grinding.
Blasting involves accelerating and propelling the blasting media (which can include metal shot and garnet abrasive) at high speeds towards the surface. As the media strikes the surface, the markings are broken up through abrasion.
Blasting is noisy and messy and the removed markings and blasting material needs to be collected and disposed of according to environmental guidelines.
As the name suggests, high-pressure water blasting uses highly pressurised water to remove link markings. This is probably the cleanest method of permanent line removal. Most professional water blasting units include suction recovery and will recover the majority of removed paint particles. For systems without suction recovery, you should use a skirt around the blaster to contain the paint particles and stop them being washed away into stormwater drains.
These kinds of water blasters can be tricky to operate and can require up to three trained operators at a time. They also use a large amount of water. Read 2 Most Important Factors for Warehouse Flooring
When it comes to line marking removal, it’s essential that you get the job done right. Improperly removed lines or damage to the surface can present serious safety hazards.