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Road marking refers to any kind of material or tools used on road surfaces to communicate official information. Markings are also usually applied to other facilities that are used to mark spaces for parking. In the UK, these markings are mainly found on paved roadways where they serve to provide guidance to both pedestrians and motorists.

It is important that there is consistency in these road surface markings as this helps to reduce confusion regarding their meaning. Lately, there have been concerted efforts to make sure that these markings are standardised across borders.

In this article, we explain the 4 main methods of road marking in the UK.

1. Thermoplastic

In the UK, the use of thermoplastic materials that contain glass beads, plasticisers and fillers are one of the most common methods of road marking. After the thermoplastic markings are laid on the road, glass beads are immediately applied on the surface so that they can be fixed in place as the hot material sets. These glass beads help to enhance reflectivity.

Using thermoplastic materials is one of the cheapest methods, and with good traffic management, it is possible to achieve vast outputs. The lines created can also be refreshed in the future without the need to remove them first.

Since the 1950’s this method has been used for marking over 95% of UK and Ireland public roads, and it is also commonly used around the globe. Although the main colours are yellow and white, other available colours include blue, green and red.

2. Cold plastic road marking

Methyl-Methacrylate, abbreviated as MMA, is a cold plastic technology that is resistant to the heat and cold. This material is extremely durable making it the best method to use in places with the highest volume of traffic, like roundabouts, give-way lines, and box junctions.

3. Paint

When combined with additives like retroreflective glass beads, paint can be used for marking travel lanes. It is also useful for marking parking lots and special purpose spaces such as loading zones, time-restricted parking locations, and areas for disabled parking.

Usually, the paint is applied immediately after paving the road, and as it is an inexpensive method of road marking in the UK, it has been used widely since the early 1950’s.

4. Preformed Thermoplastic

Preformed thermoplastic is a highly durable and cost efficient material most commonly used to mark out stop lines, crossings, bike lanes, and arrows. It comes pre-cut in the design appropriate for its specific use and is applied to the road using a propane torch.

Irrespective of the marking material, there is one requirement that is common to all the above methods if they are to perform to their best; they need to be applied on a clean and dry surface.

As long as you make sure that you take the recommendation of experienced road marking experts who will implement the most suitable method and material for the job at hand, you will get the best possible results that match your needs and budget.