For decades, factories and warehouses have relied on painting safety lines on floors to improve safety and prevent accidents. By clearly marking out designated areas for pedestrians, forklifts, and other equipment, safety lines help to ensure that everyone in the warehouse knows where they should and should not be standing or walking. This can help prevent collisions between vehicles and people, as well as other types of accidents. In addition to improving safety, floor markings help improve organization and efficiency.

While floor marking lines are critical in warehouses, the actual act of painting lines on the floor has serious drawbacks. Fortunately, with today’s technology, we have alternative ways to mark warehouse floors without paint. Here, we explain six disadvantages of painting floor safety lines on the warehouse floor—and the reasons to choose floor tape instead.

Concrete Floors Require Extensive Preparation

Because concrete is often smooth, it can be challenging to prepare the surface for proper paint adhesion. Concrete floors are also likely to have dirt, debris, and stains that can reduce paint adhesion. Because painted lines will be subject to significant wear and tear through foot traffic, heavy machinery tires, and pallet dragging, it is important to ensure your safety lines are designed to withstand damage.

Prior to painting floor markings, the surface must be properly preparedwhich can be a days-long process that includes roughening the surface, cleaning it, and applying primer. 

On the other hand, floor marking tape requires minimal surface preparation: Simply clean the surface, mark the intended application area, and apply your tape. If you’re looking to simplify the process and reduce your time investment, adhesive-backed floor tape is an ideal alternative to floor painting

Stripping Line Markings

Painting Floors Means Stopping Operations

Even after the paint is applied, it requires multiple days to completely dry and cure before you can open the area again. While waiting for the paint to cure properly, you may have to shut down operations for a week or more. This significant loss of productivity is an often-overlooked cost of painting concrete floor marking lines. 

If, like most warehouses and production facilities, you can’t afford to cease operations for days or weeks at a time, consider floor marking tape for your floor safety needs. After applying, simply tamp the area to fully activate the adhesive, then open the floor to traffic right away. This process is less time-consuming than painting, and no cure time minimizes disruption to your business. 

While the paint is drying, the floor area will need to be shut down.

Painted Lines Are Difficult to Change

When painting floor safety lines, the goal is to optimize adhesion and prevent the lines from fading. But what happens if you need to reorganize your facility layout to improve efficiency? If you’ve painted the lines, you’ll have to go through a time-consuming and labor-intensive process to remove the old lines. Then, to apply new floor markings, you’ll need to go through the preparation, painting, and drying process all over again. Once again, this takes considerable time and effort to accomplish. 

Instead of painting, an adhesive option like Superior Mark® Floor Tape allows you to make updates to your floor striping, without wasted labor or time. Compared to paint, our floor marking tape is incredibly durable, yet easy to remove and reapply as your facility’s needs change. The adhesive sticks through use—and even withstands repeated pallet dragging and machine traffic—but pulls away easily in a single piece, no scraping, paint remover, or sandblasting required.

Paint-stripping chemicals and abrasive paint-stripping methods remove sealant concrete tint producing ghost lines.

Painting Floor Lines Inhibits Process Improvements

In Lean and 5S production processes, “continuous improvement” (kaizen) is one of the key concepts for process optimization. As part of a production facility’s ongoing improvements, floor lines may need to change to support better layouts and workflows. Painted lines are difficult and time-consuming to create and rearrange, posing a significant barrier to a facility’s continuous improvement

Because floor stripes need to be able to move as your needs change, choosing a semi-permanent floor marking tape helps minimize the time and effort spent making layout and workflow improvements, removing significant barriers to optimization. 

Painted Floor Safety Lines Are Difficult to Customize

General facility operations and Lean and 5S processes benefit from customized floor safety markings with words and pictures that clearly and easily convey meaning. For instance, labeling a storage area with a floor border that contains both the name and a graphic of the item that belongs there can help improve understanding at a glance, helps make a storage location more memorable, may increase productivity with less time spent searching for the location, and even help reduce language barriers. But, painting words and graphics is difficult, even with stencils.

On the other hand, floor marking signs are available with a wide variety of frequently used words and images. These can be paired with floor marking tape and are also easy to customize to meet your facility’s specific needs. 

Painted Floor Markings Quickly Become Worn and Faded

Even if you take the time to properly prepare the surface and allow ample time for your painted floor safety markings to dry, they will chip, fade, and wear off. Most often, sections of floor lines will experience more wear and tear than the surrounding areas. While you can choose to retouch only the impacted section, the repair will stick out like a sore thumb. The proper solution is to remove the floor markings and repaint the concrete floor, which requires the days- or weeks-long process of stripping the surface, preparing it, painting, and waiting for it to dry. Because this process is so time-consuming and causes major disruptions to operations, facilities often delay repainting lines as long as possible—choosing instead to operate with faded, cracked, and peeling floor lines. Unfortunately, when the lines are incomplete or difficult to decipher, they fail to serve their intended purpose of keeping workers safe and optimizing facility operations—and may be subject to fines for failing to meet OSHA standards. 

Instead, opt for floor marking tape that can handle heavy traffic, yet is quick and easy to remove and replace as needed—and you can choose to replace sections at a time rather than having to re-do the entire floor as with painted lines. Whether it’s because your layout needs to change or because the tape is becoming worn over time, the easy process for repairing or updating floor tape allows you to keep your floor markings clear, current, and easy to interpret.

Floor Marking Tape Is the Best Warehouse Safety Line Solution

While warehouses and factories rely on their floor markings to optimize operations and improve safety, there are quality options beyond paint. Floor tape provides the same operational advantages without the drawbacks of painted lines.

Some advantages of floor marking tape include:

  • Clean removal which allows for adjustments in workplace layout to support continuous improvement goals
  • Standard and custom-printed options provide more impactful messaging through words, graphics, and photo-realistic images
  • Adhesive-backed floor tape requires less time and labor for installation
  • No drying or curing time means no costly shutdown of the floor during installation
  • Because there is no aggressive surface preparation required, floors will not be damaged
  • When floor markings inevitably show signs of wear, it is easy to touch up portions of the striping or markings—whereas painted lines involve a time-consuming and labor-intensive process to repair
  • Floor tape allows for broader use of color coding to help support Lean and 5S initiatives

While appropriate floor markings are integral to an organized, efficient, and safe workplace, painting lines isn’t the optimal method anymore. With advanced technology, floor marking tape is the ideal material thanks to its durability, adaptability, and ease of application and removal. For more warehouse safety guidelines and floor marking tips, explore our Resource Center.

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[2] G. Galsworth, “Automatic Recoil: The Visual Where,” live webinar, The Visual-Lean Institute, 2015.
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