Highway Pavement Marking

When considering which material to use for the marking of highway asphalt or concrete, one should take note of the various options that are available for purchase, and weigh the advantages and drawbacks of each. For the longest time, pavement paint was considered the marking device of choice, due to its relative longevity versus what were then flimsy tape alternatives, which were easily stripped or warped by passing traffic. Paint suffers from such significant disadvantages as having to block off the newly painted area for a period of time while waiting for the paint coats to dry, and the hassle of having to paint several coatings to form lines that are sufficiently reflective. Eager to provide a cost-effective alternate choice, manufacturers of pavement tape have been quick to design and offer series of pavement marking tapes that outperform paint without much added cost to the consumer. The resulting products function just as well on the road for permanent lane marking tasks as they do in the delineation of temporary construction zones for asphalt overlay and repair work. To attain this level of flexibility and utility, these particular grades of marking tape must conform to certain minimum standards.

Each such tape product is typically comprised of several layers – a reflective top layer in the standard white or yellow colors, a middle backing layer that provides reinforcement, and a precoated pressure-sensitive adhesive bottom layer to permanently adhere the tape to the pavement. The top layer is pigmented with a color that catches the light quite capably, and usually enhanced with large glass beads to further boost the reflectivity of the tape. Certain variations of standard-grade highway pavement marking tape use a metal middle layer, usually aluminium, supplying a material that is both resistant to wear and flexible enough to conform to different pavement surfaces and directions. The bottom layer adhesive should be of sufficient strength to ensure that the tape stays put without requiring a liner for protection from blocking, pre-adhesion or contamination.

To keep the cost down for a product that seeks to achieve so many things, the average thickness of the tape material is relatively low, but not less than 12 mils, as any lower measurement would compromise the advantages provided the component layers of the tape. Even at this level, however, the marking tape, when applied as the manufacturer has instructed, is both weather resistant and durable against wear, and will not fade, lift, shrink or otherwise deteriorate during the term of its useful life.

Highway pavement marking tape is typically packaged in standard commercial containers that are built to protect the product from damage while it is being shipped, and when it is stored. Since storing conditions may vary, the material should be comfortable in storage for up to one year, in temperatures of up to a balmy 100 degrees F. When you open that container, you should check that the tape is of decent appearance, free from cracks and edges, and no more than 3 splices for every 50 yards of tape to insure integrity.