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Comparison of Industrial Quality Floor Marking Tape to Painted Lines on Concrete Floors

5S Industrial Safety Floor Marking - Tape vs. Paint
Top Photo (Painted Lines) Bottom Photo (Tape Lines)

Marking striped lines on warehouse or production floors is useful for organization and clear layout, it is also required for safety aisles and other OSHA reasons. Many companies use paint to mark out the shop floor and for many years it was generally the best solution available. In recent years, new products have emerged on the market that challenge painted lines as a viable option. Many people might question if floor marking tape can actually last as well and be cost effective compared to painting floor lines in an industrial setting where traffic from forklifts and tuggers will be rolling over it every day.

A short answer would be to point out that in our experience over the past 10 years, companies that turn to high quality floor marking tape do not go back to painting floor marking lines after the switch.

If it was found in some cases to be more cost effective to go back to painting, then at least some of these companies would decide to stop the tape program and return to painted floor markings. Some of the contributing reasons for this are outlined below:

High quality floor marking tape with high tack adhesive, tapered edges and a thickness of about 1/32-1/16” (35-70 mils) will be more durable than paint.

Note that this is not the 4-7mil thick vinyl film tape most often associated with floor marking tape. This thick tape with 2-tier tapered edges help keep pallets and equipment from catching and damaging the tape. The extruded PVC shell will not delaminate or wear through a color layer and when using a width of 4”, the strength of the dense plastic shell and adhesive will hold up to a pivoting forklift tire.

Heavy duty floor tape is a system designed for 100% compliance.

When working with paint, corners wear out, then longer lines and by the time a full repainting is completed, most plants are at less than 25% visible lines left on the floor. In some cases a year round touch up program is in place along with repainting lines every quarter. When switching to floor marking tape, companies do not replace full floor marking lines entirely, just the small sections damaged by skids or sliding pallets. A new piece of tape is laid directly over the damage, both old and new are scored through with a utility blade, and the new piece is installed to fit like a glove in the removed section. No more clean up, no cones to avoid or fumes in the building. Quick, simple, low labor method to maintain 100% of the floor marking lines in the facility.

Paint is not designed for smooth concrete.

Like trying to get paint to stick to glass, smooth concrete does not give paint a good grip. Most paint requires a bead blast or etching step to allow the paint to get some adhesion to the floor. Paint is also a rigid, dissimilar material that will often release itself in larger flakes that work off the floor due to slight expansion and contraction movement or moisture in the concrete. For adhesive tape, the smoother the better for a higher percentage of contact area of adhesive to the floor. This allows floor marking tape to stick to a smooth, polished concrete floor better.

Maintain bright, clean lines throughout the building.

Paint has a tendency to have ground in dirt and tire marks that cannot be removed. Over time this dirt build-up will camouflage the tape to a dingy color similar to the floor. Heavy duty floor tape will repel dirt and black marks can be removed with the right cleaner and scotch brite. Run a floor scrubber down the lines to keep them clean and vibrant. This is a reason that adhesive tape lines are so professional looking especially compared to older paint that has been touched up and you see the dingy next to a section of bright yellow fresh paint.

Will you ever change the layout in the area?

My local Costco didn’t think so either, now there is a painted walkway leading to a blank wall were the deli used to be located. Same with the orange painted footprints leading to the missing kiosk at Home Depot. Changes happen but they are not a problem with heavy duty floor marking tape. Just get a start and peel up with a steady pull right down the line. While it will take tremendous force from normal traffic, it can be removed without chemicals, scraping and generally leaves little or no residue behind. If this is an important feature make sure to choose an option with a blue release liner on the back. This adhesive has proven to be most versatile for permanent yet removable applications. In small sections tape and shapes are even successfully removed and re-applied to a clean floor.