The Importance of Surface Preparation for Preformed Thermoplastic Pavement Markings

As drivers, we often take road markings for granted, but they play a crucial role in guiding traffic and ensuring road safety. One of the key factors that contribute to the effectiveness and longevity of pavement markings is surface preparation and proper application techniques. In this blog post, we will explore why surface preparation is a big deal when it comes to applying preformed thermoplastic pavement markings like Crown USA’s Tuff-Mark and Tuff-Mark with Tuff-Grip.


Why Surface Preparation Matters


Proper surface preparation is vital for ensuring excellent adhesion between the thermoplastic material and the pavement. Without adequate preparation, the markings may fail to bond effectively with the surface, leading to premature peeling, detachment, and reduced durability—particularly in high-traffic areas where markings undergo significant stress.


Roadways and parking lots are subjected to heavy vehicular traffic, harsh weather conditions, and other environmental factors. By meticulously preparing the surface, the markings are better equipped to withstand these challenges and maintain their integrity over time, ensuring long-lasting performance.

 Smooth and Even Application

A well-prepared surface allows for a smooth and even application of the thermoplastic material. This not only enhances the professional appearance of the markings but also ensures that they are easily visible to drivers and pedestrians, promoting road safety.

 Longevity and Cost-Effectiveness

Effective surface preparation contributes to the longevity and cost-effectiveness of thermoplastic pavement markings. When the markings adhere well and have high durability, they require less frequent touch up or maintenance, reducing overall roadway maintenance costs.


The Steps of Surface Preparation


Thoroughly cleaning the pavement surface is the initial step in surface preparation. Dust, debris, oil, grease, and other contaminants can hinder the adhesion of the thermoplastic material. Cleaning ensures a clean and receptive surface for the markings.


Before applying the thermoplastic material, it’s essential to ensure that the surface is completely dry. Moisture can interfere with the adhesion process and compromise the effectiveness of the markings.

 3.Primer Application

In some cases, a primer may be applied to enhance the bond between the pavement and the thermoplastic material. This step can further improve the adhesion and longevity of the markings.

 4. Ensure a Proper Bond

Following the manufacturer’s recommended temperature range is important to achieve optimal bonding of the thermoplastic material. Also perform a bond check with the “chisel test” method after application using a mason chisel and hammer.  Check out the video a the bottom of this article and contact Crown USA’s Tech Support for more insight.


Considerations for Different Pavement Types

For aged asphalt, standard non-colored applications can be done using specific sealers, while concrete applications require using a different sealer. Additionally, applying on top of existing markings other than thermoplastic is not recommended, and proper surface preparation is required for new asphalt and concrete and some colored applications.


Surface preparation is the foundation of durable, long-lasting, and effective preformed thermoplastic pavement markings like Crown USA’s Tuff-Mark and Tuff-Mark with Tuff-Grip. By adhering to proper surface preparation techniques, transportation authorities and road maintenance teams can ensure that the markings remain highly visible, safe, and efficient throughout their intended lifespan. Following the manufacturer’s recommended application instructions is crucial to achieve the best results. By valuing the significance of surface preparation, we contribute to road safety and an improved driving experience for everyone.


Please contact Crown USA’s Tech Support Team for more insight on achieving long lasting results!