Preformed Melt Down Thermoplastic Road and Parking Lot Striping


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Thermoplastic or thermosoftening plastic is a polymer that becomes soft and molten when heated and becomes hard and durable when cooled. It can be taken to these two states multiple times. When it is hot and in a liquid state it is able to seep into pores and crevices and form a very strong bond with the material it is applied to. These unique characteristic make thermoplastic an excellent choice for durable road striping.

Basic Thermoplastic Striping has dominated the traffic marking industry for decades. It is durable, easy to apply, and reflective. These features have made thermoplastic road striping the product of choice for almost every municipality in the United States. For safety reasons, billions of dollars are spent each year maintaining road markings. A road with worn out markings is a danger to both drivers and pedestrians. For low traffic areas traffic paint is fine and will last for a year or so. However, in higher traffic areas paint simply cannot handle the wear and will disappear in just a few months. Thermoplastic striping will outlast paint by many times making it a very cost effective traffic delineation solution. Municipalities like this feature because they can budget for a thermoplastic job once every several years instead of having to budget for paint striping every year or less.

Thermoplastic road striping was originally only available in a granular or pelletized form. This type of material is melted first and then poured onto the pavement to form lines and symbols. The equipment needed to put down this type of thermoplastic is expensive. A thermoplastic striper and premelt tank will run in excess of $20,000 and a truck based striper will run well over $100,000. Also, when letters or logos are needed, expensive stencils made of metal must be purchased. The cost of this equipment has historically kept thermoplastic well out of reach for the average person. In the 1970's "Preformed" thermoplastic changed all of this.

Preformed Thermoplastic was created as a way to apply thermoplastic without the need for expensive melters onsite. Since thermoplastic can be taken from a solid state to a hard state and back to a solid state it was discovered that it was possible to "preform" lines, logos, letters and symbols in advance in a factory setting and then transport those items to a jobsite and simply remelt them into a pavement surface. This is what preformed thermoplastic manufacturers do. The result is an easy to apply product that is superior in quality and performance to machine applied thermoplastic. Also, preformed markings have sharp, clean edges. This makes lines easy to see and letters easy to read.

Just a few decades ago, you would need tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment to apply thermoplastic markings to an intersection. Now, one man and a hand torch is all that is needed to do the same job. To apply a line of "Hot Tape" you would first sweep or blow off the application area. Then you would heat the surface using a basic roofing or weed burning type torch. When the surface reached 300 degrees you would lay down the letter and continue heating from the top until the material was fully melted. When the thermoplastic cools it is ready for traffic. PreMark is another type of preformed thermoplastic that is a top heat only product making the process even simpler. The two types of preformed thermoplastic available today are "Hot Tape" and PreMark". The advantages of each are discussed in articles on our main site. Both are manufactured by Flint Trading company. With the right tools and basic training, almost anyone can apply this amazing product.

Our company carries both Hot Tape and PreMark thermoplastic products. Both are manufactured by Flint Trading Company. The two products are very similar but installed in two different ways. Hot Tape is installed by preheating the surface to 300 degrees and then laying down the material while continuing to heat. PreMark is a top heat only product and involves heating the product from the top until it is molten. Also, both are reflective and both can be special ordered with non skid built in if needed. If you would like more information on this amazing product including pricing and availability just click here to go to our main site.

Steve Cole
Cole Farms,Inc.
1610 Guam Lane
Gulf Breeze, FL 32563