Thermoplastic Pavement Markings in the Mid-Atlantic

Roads, parking lots and highways all need reliable methods for communicating with drivers and pedestrians. Clear road markings help individuals understand the flow of traffic, follow applicable laws and navigate public spaces safely and effectively. There are several options for adding permanent markings to concrete: traditional paint and thermoplastic.

Thermoplastic line marking is an alternative to conventional paint that offers superior visibility, durability and long-term performance. Though most commonly associated with long line highway and roadway painting, an increasing number of smaller and specialized applications now use thermoplastic paint.

At D.E. Gemmill, we work with several types of thermoplastic to provide complete long line and short line painting solutions. We are a partner to demanding clients and employ a range of application methods to quickly turn around projects of any size. Whether you need to paint lines in a new parking lot or add a bike lane to an existing roadway, we can get the job done properly. Thanks to the unique properties of thermoplastic paint, the finished result will withstand exposure to harsh conditions without losing visibility over time.

What Is Thermoplastic?

Thermoplastic is a type of plastic polymer material that becomes pliable when heated to an elevated temperature. When the thermoplastic cools, it solidifies, which allows it to be shaped and reshaped as necessary. Thermoplastic materials have a wide range of applications, including in injection molding and extrusion manufacturing processes.

Today, thermoplastic pavement markings have largely replaced traditional paint in road marking applications thanks to their longevity and reflectivity. Due to the nature of thermoplastics, this material must be applied to the road while hot.

Thermoplastic and Preformed Thermoplastic

Two types of thermoplastic are used to create road markings. Regular thermoplastic is mixed and applied with specialized equipment engineered to keep the mixture hot. A professional can shape this type of thermoplastic into any specified design or pattern on-site, using measurements as a guide.

In contrast, manufacturers cut preformed thermoplastic into its final shapes ahead of time, which means preformed thermoplastic is ready to use as soon as it arrives. To apply it, contractors lay the solid sheet out on the ground and heat it using torches to start the adhesion process.

Why Choose Thermoplastic Road Markings?

Thermoplastic offers several advantages over conventional paint, including:

  • Longevity: Thermoplastic pavement markings are up to seven times longer-lasting than paint, which means lower maintenance costs and fewer interruptions for restriping — significant benefits for busy highways, roadways and commercial traffic lanes.
  • Quick-drying: Thermoplastic dries quickly, adhering to the pavement and returning to a solid state as soon as it cools. As a result, you can open an area to traffic sooner after installing thermoplastic pavement markings.
  • Retroreflectivity: Thermoplastic paint contains microscopic glass beads that give it unique reflective properties. As a result, visibility is greatly improved. This is important for general safety purposes and also to meet the strict retroreflectivity guidelines introduced by many state highway agencies. Retroreflectivity is the ability for a surface to reflect light back to the source without scattering.
  • Wear resistance: Thermoplastic pavement markings hold up well in a range of environmental conditions. Even as vehicle traffic wears away the top layer of glass beads, new beads are revealed, preserving the markings’ reflectivity.

Though it costs more initially, thermoplastic line marking is an investment that will deliver benefits over the long term.

Products and Potential Applications

D.E. Gemmill, Inc. works primarily with various thermoplastic products: from multiple manufacturers. Typically, we can apply multiple mil thicknesses using the screed or extruded shoe method. Multiple standard colors are available to meet regulatory and ADA signage requirements.

Typical thermoplastic applications include:

  • Highway and roadway lines
  • Parking lot lines
  • Bike paths and markings
  • Crosswalks and pedestrian walking trails
  • Schools zone warnings and yield markings

We can also supply preformed thermoplastic products such as rumble strips, manhole protection covers, train and rail system platform edges, curb ramps and more. In preformed products, thermoplastic paints deliver superior oil and gas resistance as well as slip resistance and long-term durability. They are suitable for use in harsh and high-traffic environments, where they can be counted on for years of reliable performance depending on the application.

Our Thermoplastic Marking Process

At D.E. Gemmill, we typically apply thermoplastic road markings using a walk-behind cart designed to keep the thermoplastic material heated. As the machine moves, it leaves behind a line in the desired thickness. Before the thermoplastic dries, we apply a surface layer of glass beads to provide initial reflectivity. We can also apply preformed thermoplastic markings in a variety of shapes and designs using a special torch to adhere the material to the area.

Whether you choose liquid or preformed thermoplastic for your application, our dedicated team will work hard to ensure accuracy by following your designs exactly. We complete small and large jobs quickly, so you’ll be able to reopen roadways and parking lots on time.

Our Service Area

D.E. Gemmill, Inc. has a more than 30-year history of long and short line painting, parking lot marking and related services. As we’ve grown, both our capabilities and our service area have expanded accordingly.

Today, we are equipped, insured and qualified to perform thermoplastic pavement marking for clients in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and Virginia.

From our headquarters in Red Lion, PA, we are a proud partner to state and municipal highway agencies, commercial facilities and private properties with specialized striping and line marking needs. We can quickly turn around any project, and we provide full-service support throughout the design and planning stages. We will ensure the road marking material you choose meets regulatory requirements as well as your expectations for performance.

Contact G.E. Gemmill, Inc. to Request a Quote Today

Our expertise and our experience make us an ideal partner for any thermoplastic line painting project. We will assess your needs to determine the best product and application method. If thermoplastic isn’t a cost-effective choice, we can recommend alternatives that are more appropriate for your budget.

Get started by requesting a consultation today. Call or email our office directly for assistance from one of our knowledgeable representatives, or fill out our online contact form for more information. We offer free quotes for all our contracting services, including thermoplastic marking.