Paint vs. Thermoplastic: Which should you choose for you line markings?

There are a number of frequently asked questions we get regarding our line marking services. One of the most common questions we are asked is which is the best product to use – paint or thermoplastic? This will depend on a number of factors including whether the line markings are inside or out, what they will be used for and if you need them to last short or long term.


Paint is a highly versatile product and can be used in combination with stencils, or our laser guided technology that meet your line marking requirements. Paint is a cheaper alternative to thermoplastic and is great for situations where you don’t need the markings to last for a significant period, or you need something temporarily that can easily be covered or removed.

It’s important to remember that paint is more susceptible to fading from the sun and harsh weather conditions than thermoplastic, and will need to be refreshed more regularly to maintain a bright and bold appearance. Any vehicular traffic driving over painted markings will greatly reduce the lifespan too.



Thermoplastics are extremely hard wearing, durable and long lasting, making the initial cost of this material a worthwhile investment. As with paint, thermoplastics can be used with stencils and laser guided technology to create bespoke designs to meet any line marking requirements or ideas you may have.

There are a few types of thermoplastic products; hot thermoplastic is used outdoors on tarmac in yellow or white; cold thermoplastic (MMA) is generally only used outdoors and you have more colour options if you need them, and pre-formed thermoplastic which are ready-made numbers, letters and symbols.

Due to the textured surface that thermoplastic creates they provide grip in any weather condition, which is great for outdoor walkways.

Thermoplastic is considered one of the best products in the industry to use due to its longevity, plus you can make it reflective by adding glass bead, which is why it’s used in road markings. However there are some environmental issues that could mean thermoplastic will no longer be used on roads in the future due to small parts breaking up and ending up in the river when washed away. With environmental concerns become increasingly important we have already started looking at other products and installation methods that can be used that will be as effective as thermoplastic without the environmental impact. This is an exciting time for the line marking industry as it could really be the start of some big changes in terms of how we do what we do, and the products we use.