How to look after outdoor markings during winter

Outdoor line markings have a lot to contend with; the range of weather conditions in the UK from snow and ice to heatwaves, and of course – lots of rain! 

Having markings that can withstand that and more is vital when we decide which products to use for each job. Once the markings are laid there are a few things that can be done, especially in the winter months, to keep them not only looking as good as new but also ensuring they are doing the job they were laid for. 

As with most things preparation is key and now is the perfect time of year to get prepped before the cold weather really sets in. Checking the condition of the surface firstly is vital, as well as having a plan in place to protect the surface from snow, ice and frost.

Outdoor markings on tarmac

  • Check for surface damage and identify areas that need repair or maintenance. In winter any water that gets into holes and freezes will expand, further exacerbating the problem
  • If it does snow it’s best to remove as much as possible before it becomes impacted ice
  • Using metal spades can damage the tarmac and thermoplastic line markings; using a plastic shovel is a better option if possible
  • Salt can be used on the surface when you know adverse weather is coming to help prevent ice forming in freezing temperatures

Outdoor markings on concrete

  • Concrete is a solid but porous material; when water freezes it puts a lot of pressure on concrete, especially if there are already cracks or weaknesses in the surface
  • If you do have any cracks in the concrete it’s best to repair them with a flexible sealant to create a watertight bond
  • Avoid using salt on the surface as it can attract moisture to the top
  • Gravel or sand will help to make the surface less slippery when it freezes
  • Take care when removing snow around thermoplastic markings as the cold weather and a sharp object could lift them from the surface

Outdoor markings on block pavers

  • Clean any moss, fallen leaves or other debris from the surface
  • Check for gaps between the pavers and repair any issues or fill with sand
  • Snow and ice can cause wear and tear when it penetrates the gaps between the slabs – extra sand and some salt can help prevent this
  • Clear snow before it becomes impacted ice and makes the surface incredibly slippy and unsafe

It’s fair to say that outdoor markings are only as good as the surface they are initially marked on; as long as these have been properly prepared the markings will have a much longer life than markings laid on a surface that has had no surface preparation. You can find out more about different surface preparation techniques here.