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Creating safe areas for customers, visitors, and employees isn’t any less important outside of the building. Parking lots, garages, and traveled lanes are safer for everyone when they’re clearly marked. But painted lines and signs have limits: It takes time and equipment to paint parking lot striping, you have fewer options in terms of messaging and graphics, the area must be closed to traffic for an extended period, and the markings wear away and need to be replaced. Explore this guide to learn how to install pavement marking tape, parking lot striping, crosswalks, and adhesive-backed signs—without the downtime associated with painted markings.

Pavement Marking Solutions

For safety markings, visibility aids, or directional cues that adhere to asphalt or concrete—such as in parking lots or intersections—look for outdoor-rated, heavy-duty pavement marking tape. Temporary and permanent pavement marking tape options are available, so follow the instructions for your intended application for the best results.

Some of the most common pavement marking products include:

  • Parking lot striping
  • Crosswalk lines
  • Rumble strips and road reflectors
  • Handicap parking signs
  • Vehicle charging station labels
  • Bike lanes
  • Directional cues and lane designations
  • Entrance or exit cues
  • No parking notices

Installing Outdoor Permanent Tape Markings

Follow these easy steps to install permanent pavement markings, such as parking lines or crosswalk markings. Ensure the air temperature is at least 60°F (15°C) and only apply pavement tape to dry surfaces. The surface must be dry 24 hours prior to, and after, installation.

To install pavement marking using the overlay method, the basic steps are:

  • Clean: Ensure no grease, dirt, debris, salt, or other contaminants are present on the paved surface. If necessary, pressure wash, sandblast, or grind the surface to remove any old tape, residue, or curing compound that has been left behind from previous pavement marking.
  • Mark: Before removing the backing, place the tape or sign on the pavement and trace the outline, or mark the paved surface where the markings will be applied.  
  • Prime: Apply primer to the paved surface, extending slightly beyond the traced lines for full coverage, and allow the primer to dry completely before installing pavement markings or signs.
  • Apply: Peel the backing away to expose the adhesive, press the pavement marking onto the asphalt or concrete, and smooth away any wrinkles or bubbles before pressing the stripes or sign into place.
  • Tamp: After application, tamp the tape using a tamper with a load of at least 150 pounds to activate the adhesive. The product should be tamped first in the direction of the tape application, with at least three passes with the tamper, total. Do not twist or turn the tamper as it can damage the tape installation.
  • Open: The parking area or roadway can open to traffic immediately after tamping.

How to Install Crosswalk Lines

When installing crosswalk lines, the same process applies. You must apply the lines to a clean, primed surface. If you choose to measure, cut, and apply pavement marking lines, ensure you are following all requirements regarding striping width and spacing. Make the job easier with a crosswalk line marking kit, available in various stripe widths including 6-inch, 12-inch, and 24-inch.

Other Traffic Marking Application Methods

Painted Parking Lot Lines

Installing pavement markings isn’t limited to parking lot striping tape. For temporary markings, you may choose to paint parking lot markings by rolling paint over durable stencils to create common parking area symbols. Choose from reusable LDPE stencils—two thickness options are available—or brass stencils that are rugged enough for many uses. We can work with you to create custom stencils to suit your individual parking lot marking needs.

Installing Temporary Parking Lot Markings

Temporary pavement markings include products to provide visual cues, such as removable aluminum base tape, and options like temporary camouflage tape to cover markings. These temporary markings are ideal in construction areas, when a detour or short-term closure creates a traffic pattern change, or in an industrial setting where flexibility is required. To apply temporary markings, choose your products based on longevity needs and follow application instructions for best results. Temporary primer may be necessary.

Inlaid Pavement Markings

Rather than applying on top of the asphalt, you may prefer to inlay pavement striping and signs during the compacting phase, or in a cut groove in an existing paved area. This process creates recessed striping or signs that are flush with the pavement, which helps reduce damage from dragged pallets, snowplows, and other traffic for longer-lasting pavement markings. Contact us to speak with one of our experts about this application method.

Installing Rumble Strips to Road Surfaces

Rumble strips, raised strips that create vibration when driven over, help keep drivers in their lanes and alert them when they’ve crossed out of their designated zone. They’re also ideal in areas where extra caution is required, such as in a school zone, pedestrian crossing area, or where construction is happening. Applying rumble strips is as easy as applying pavement striping: Peel away the backing, stick the rumble strip or marker to the road surface, apply pressure, and open the roadway to traffic right away. For permanent application, use a primer before adhering the rumble strips to the road surface. No primer is necessary for a temporary application.

Pavement Marking Tips and Troubleshooting

When applying pavement marking tape, follow these tips to ensure a long-lasting application.

  • Always test a small piece of the pavement marking tape prior to installation.
  • Use butt splices where tape meets—do not overlap tape pieces.
  • Remove deteriorating markings prior to installation.
  • To apply over seams or joints, leave a 1-inch gap on either side of the seam or joint for the best adhesion.
  • Follow all installation instructions provided with the pavement marking product, including using primer and other pre-application requirements as specified.

Pavement markings improve communication in traveled zones—which, in turn, improves safety for visitors and employees. Extend your visual communication strategy to the parking lot, garage, or other paved areas with parking lot striping, signs, and lines. Explore our Resource Center for more information on creating a visual communication strategy that works.