Fresh lines can have a significant impact on the organization and curb appeal of any parking lot. Fortunately, achieving that professional look is also a very simple process when you follow the four major steps below:
Step 1: Preparation
If the paint you apply to the asphalt doesn’t stick to the pavement properly, it will chip or wash away easily, meaning all that work you put into it would have been for nothing. To reduce this risk, make sure that you’re well prepared for the job. This means having the right paint and a clean surface.
Parking lot line paint needs to withstand stress from weather, vehicles and other factors that can deteriorate it over time. Therefore, ensure you’re purchasing paint made specifically for asphalt. These come in two different varieties: oil-based and water-based. Weigh the characteristics of both before making your choice.
Even with the right supplies, a line striping job won’t come out right if the paint is applied to a surface that isn’t in good enough shape. Start by clearing the area of any debris, such as dust, loose asphalt and vegetation. Next, repair any cracks or potholes intersecting your lines.
Though not required, it is recommended you stripe your parking lot after completing the full four steps of asphalt maintenance on the surface.
Step 2: Measure & Plan Out the Lot
Few things would be more frustrating than to go through the process of painting new parking lot lines only to take a step back at the end of the day and discover they’re inconsistent or crooked. Carefully measuring out each space can help you avoid this.
Standard parking spaces should measure 18-feet long by 9-feet wide, with a 24-foot wide driving lane between each row of parking spaces. Measuring tape will help ensure your lengths are accurate, and straightedges, such as boards, or better yet, parking lot protractors, will help you plot precise angles.
You’ll also need to plan out where you'll be placing any symbols, such as directional arrows and handicap spaces. Don’t forget to consult with your local codes to confirm compliance with any regulations regarding accessibility.
Step 3: Paint the Lines
With all your lines and symbols planned out, it’s time to start painting. This can be done by hand, but that can be backbreaking work—especially if you have an entire parking lot to stripe. Using a line striping machine will make this task quicker, and yield far superior results.
Simple line striping machines are perfect for small parking lots, whereas larger or more complicated jobs might require models with greater paint capacity and additional features or attachments, for a wider range of uses.
Regardless of the model you choose, you will be able to apply the paint simply by pulling a trigger on your machine and maneuvering it over the intended line at walking pace. Most line stripers will include a locking mechanism to keep your wheels from turning and guarantee a straight line every time. Line stripers that hole five-gallon cans of paint can even be outfitted with lasers that help you stripe straight lines without having to chalk or mask off anything in advance.
Step 4: Let It Dry & Clean Up Your Equipment
The job isn’t over once the paint has been applied. It might look excellent, but it’s still vulnerable to damage, so it’s important to keep traffic off the lines until completely dry. Use cones and attention ribbon to alert drivers the area is closed.
Check the details on your paint’s container, as drying times will differ, depending on the variety and ambient temperature.
You must also clean your line striping machine after each use to keep it in good working order for your next job. If you used a water-based paint, you can simply run water through your line striping system to clean out any residual paint. If oil-based, you’ll need to use a solvent-based chemical solution.