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More than one reason exists why road markings must be removed; whether they are outdated, no longer visible, or if a new marking will take its place, there are different methods to have the road markings removed. Depending on where it is located, or the condition of the road it is being removed from, the removal procedure will vary. Grinding and water blasting are the most common methods of removal, but others do exist as well.

Grinding
When grinding the marking, scarring will occur on the road; the amount and degree will vary based on equipment used and precision used when removing the marking. Rain, snow, or ice may collect in these scars, which can lead to potential road hazards. Grinding can’t remove secondary tape. Additionally, if the rain or wind does not blow away asphalt residue, a secondary cleaning procedure may be conducted, to eliminate road hazards.

Blasting
Water blasting is the second most common method to have road markings removed. Water jets will penetrate the pores on the asphalt and remove the markings, without causing damage to the asphalt below. This should leave behind no hazards, and the condition of the road remains unchanged after this procedure. It is also an environmentally friendly method of removal, and unlike grinding, it can remove secondary tape effectively.

Sand blasting is another method of removal. The equipment will use a combination of sand and compressed air, to remove the markings. Only minimal damage to the road and surrounding surfaces occurs via this removal method.

Shot blasting is another infrequently used method for clean up. Small metal beads (which are called shots) are propelled at a high rate, which helps to lift the paint and remove the road markings from the asphalt below. Due to the high frequency and shots, a layer of the road may be removed, causing slightly more damage than the other methods for marking removal.

Road Marking Removal – Preferred Methods
When new travel lanes are being added, if the road markings are no longer up to date or need to be repainted, or if any other changes have to be made to road markings, the original marking has to be removed. Water blasting is generally the most desired method, due to the fact that it causes no damage, and is effective. Sand blasting is similar in the removal process, but may cause a bit of damage to the pavement below.

Grinding is the second most desired method, due to the fact that it is a simple process, removes the markings effectively, and causes minimal damage to the roads below.

Regardless of the reason for removal of the markings, or what type of precision is required, any of these methods are effective and frequently used for the removal of road markings. The choice will vary based on where the markings are, how deep and how old they are. The cost of removal is another important consideration, which is determined by the equipment used, and the clean up required afterwards to remove debris and potential hazards from the road.