Warehouses, shipping facilities, and production locations require clear floor markings and visual cues, but areas with concrete floors may be more difficult to mark. While paint fails and can be time-consuming and costly to replace, floor marking tape is a long-lasting floor marking option for a variety of locations—including on concrete floors. Here, we detail what you must consider when applying floor marking tape to concrete, and how to prepare the floors for the best results.

What Tape Is Best for Marking Concrete Floors

While painting lines on concrete floors—which required curing, sandblasting, and extensive preparation—had been the industry standard, floor marking tape has greatly improved the application process for visual cues. But, not all tapes are created equal: Duct tape and painter’s tape leave behind residue and aren’t intended for floor marking or use in heavily-trafficked areas. Instead, choose floor marking tape specifically designed for long-term use, resistance against heavy wear and tear, and easy, damage-free removal. Superior Mark® floor marking tape is manufactured with recessed adhesive and beveled edges for long-lasting performance, even in areas with forklift and other vehicular traffic.

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Sealed Versus Polished Concrete Flooring

Polished concrete is polished with abrasive grit to produce a surface shine. Sealed concrete gets its shiny finish through the application of a sealer which must be reapplied as part of regular maintenance. Painted lines will not last on sealed concrete floors—the sealant prevents moisture absorption, which prevents the paint from bonding properly. Similarly, sealed concrete floors may require some preparation prior to applying floor marking tape.

Does Floor Tape Damage Decorative Concrete Finish?

While decorative concrete flooring finishes aren’t meant for warehouses and industrial locations, you may find them in retail, office, or home locations. If you’re applying floor tape in an area with a textured concrete coating, remember that this finish is not meant to withstand the same wear and tear or floor markings as a polished or sealed concrete floor. Decorative concrete is made by combining additives for a stone-like texture, meaning the surface is different from what you’d find in an industrial location. These decorative finishes can be damaged by improper floor tape use, so ensure you’re choosing the best floor marking tape for your intended purpose. Better yet, start with a free sample kit and spot test to ensure the decorative finish doesn’t sustain damage.

How Do You Prepare a Concrete Floor for Tape Application?

When using floor marking tape on concrete floors, consider what preparation may be necessary before applying the tape. In some circumstances, a permanent or removable primer may be necessary. Primer conditions the surface and helps adhesion, especially on porous surfaces such as concrete. It creates a uniform surface, which porous floors may lack, and improves the bond between the tape’s adhesive and a concrete floor. This is especially important for rough, non-polished concrete as the primer creates a smooth surface for a stronger, longer-lasting adhesive bond. Applying outdoor pavement markings on concrete may require additional steps or considerations.

5 Steps for Applying Tape on Concrete Floors

In addition to preventing adhesive failure, primer keeps the glue from seeping into the concrete’s finish. Follow these steps to prepare concrete floors and apply Superior Mark® floor marking tape:

  1. Strip any old paint or tape from the surface. Applying tape over peeling or flaking paint or scraps of tape will reduce the adhesive bond of the new tape.
  2. Clean the concrete by sweeping, applying a degreaser, and using a concrete-friendly cleaner. After the surface has dried, test it with a scrap of tape: Press the adhesive to the surface and pull it away. Examine the sticky side to see if any debris or contaminants remain. If so, clean again. If not, proceed to the next step.
  3. Apply your primer according to manufacturer instructions. Generally, you will mark the area where the tape will be applied, then roll or spray the primer on the floor to produce a thin layer.
  4. Allow the primer to dry, about 10 minutes. Tape cannot be applied until the primer is dry to the touch.
  5. After the primer has dried, apply and tamp your tape application following all tape application instructions.

Floor marking tape is an ideal solution for creating visual cues on concrete floors in warehouses, production areas, and industrial facilities. The application process is similar, no matter the floor material, but some preparation such as primer can improve the longevity of the floor markings. For more information about applying, maintaining, and changing floor marking tape, explore our Resource Center.