Primer, available in both permanent and removable options, is applied to surfaces prior to the application of floor tape, adhesive-backed signs, or painted lines. It’s especially useful for high-traffic areas or uneven surfaces as it to conditions and seals to improve overall adhesion. Explore this quick introduction to primer for floor markings to determine whether you need to use primer for your application and learn how to apply it properly.

Benefits of Primer for Floor Marking

unprimed vs. primed

Facility safety depends on clear communication—including directional cues and visual instructions. Applying primer as part of your floor marking process helps ensure floor markings, grit tape, and glowing or reflective tape adhere properly. Primer application may help prevent premature failure. When applied to porous surfaces such as concrete, primer creates an even surface and seals to prevent application failure due to seeping moisture or environmental factors.

Does Your Floor Tape Application Require Primer?

Primer can be used when applying floor markings, glowing or grit tape, or signs on bare or sealed concrete surfaces. Outdoor pavement tape or sign applications also benefit from primer application prior to installation. However, not every tape or sign application needs to start with primer.

Our Superior Mark® floor marking tape is backed with a pressure-sensitive adhesive and doesn’t require primer—but high-traffic areas or floors with uneven or highly porous surfaces may benefit from a coat of primer prior to installation.

Vinyl floor marking signs may adhere better with primer, but our rubber and inlaid mesh options are installed using strong adhesives that promote a long-lasting application and do not need any additional primer treatment.

  • Our rubber floor signs adhere using a peel-and-stick butyl adhesive, which is highly conformable and ideal for use on uneven or irregular surfaces or high-traffic areas.
  • Our inlaid mesh floor sign is the most durable option, which adheres using a permanent liquid adhesive and an epoxy curing compound—no additional primer should be used.

When applying non-slip tape or stair treads indoors or outdoors, you may choose to begin your installation with an appropriate primer to improve the bond and create a longer-lasting application.

How to Apply Primer

Primer should not be applied over painted lines or old tape or signs; always remove all leftover paint or tape prior to installing new floor markings. Primer may be applied with a bristle paintbrush or roller. For larger spaces, you may find that a pressurized sprayer is a better option for even application.

To apply floor marking tape with primer:

  1. Clean the application area thoroughly using a degreaser followed by isopropyl alcohol.
  2. Mark the location of your floor markings, whether you intend to apply a sign, pre-cut kit, or taped lines.
  3. Paint the primer onto your intended application area using a brush, roller, or sprayer; extending one inch beyond the outlined area.
  4. Allow the primer to dry, usually about 10 minutes. The primer should not transfer to your hand when you touch it.
  5. Apply your floor marking tape or sign, pressing to activate the adhesive.
  6. Use a tamper cart to apply pressure and complete the installation process.

After you have applied primer, installed your tape or floor sign, and tamped to activate the adhesive, you may immediately open the location again as there is no required drying time.

how to prep and apply floor signs

Applying Primer for Outdoor Tape Installations

Applying a permanent pavement primer is an important step while installing outdoor pavement markings, rumble strips, and crosswalks. When applying outdoor pavement markings, ensure the air and surface temperature is at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit and rising, and only apply primer and install markings if the surface is dry with no rain expected within 24 hours of installation.

Follow these steps for outdoor primer and pavement marking:

  1. Remove any old markings and curing compounds.
  2. Thoroughly sweep and clean the paved surface.
  3. Mark your intended application area.
  4. Apply primer to the surface, spreading it evenly.
  5. When the primer is dry to the touch, you may apply your pavement markings to the road surface.
  6. Finish the application by using a tamping device or a load of at least 150 pounds. After tamping, you may open to traffic immediately after installation.

Note: Newly laid asphalt does not require primer.

Primer can improve the lifespan of floor marking tape or pavement tape applications. If primer is required for your intended application, follow these steps prior to tape application. For more floor marking tips and tricks, explore our Resource Center.