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  • Worker safety and environmental health

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Refresh your building’s exterior and ensure its durability
Improve your interior with durable, low-VOC finishes tailored to your needs
Comprehensive warehouse floor markings and line-striping solutions tailored to your needs
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From pipe labeling to hazard marking, ensure safety and compliance
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Comprehensive warehouse floor markings and line-striping solutions tailored to your needs
Durable coatings for forklift traffic, slip resistance, chemical resistance, and more
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Transform floors into sleek, resilient surfaces with our concrete polishing.
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Certified ESD flooring for durability, safety, and compliance
Comprehensive warehouse floor markings and line-striping solutions tailored to your needs
Durability and thermal shock resistance for industrial environments.
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Industrial Painting

7 Decision Factors: Paint vs Tape for Industrial Floor Marking

Floor markings and line striping on warehouses and other commercial / industrial floors are done primarily for two reasons:

  1. Workplace safety and OSHA requirements: Mainly Standard Number 1910.144 - Safety color code for marking physical hazards.
  2. Operational efficiency: To direct foot and vehicle traffic and in some cases support ISO 9001, Six Sigma, 5S, and other lean manufacturing / quality management initiatives.

You have two ways to obtain those lines, pathways, and other markings: paint, or adhesive tape and decals. This article shares seven factors to consider as you make your choice for your facility type and needs.

Why you should trust us

Painters USA has put down miles of aisles, lines, and other floor markings. We’ve had this discussion with many different clients and prospects, for a wide variety of floor striping projects in warehouses, factories, and other facilities.

Our value as a concrete flooring contractor and provider of line striping services is helping you clarify needs, planning and plotting out the area(s) that need marking, and getting the work done on schedule. We’ve learned a lot along the way, and we’re happy to share some of that wisdom.

We are including our own basic rating system to convey how both paint and tape can fit the needs of particular situations to help you make the right decision for your needs.

Poor Neutral Strong

It’s important to note that each setting is unique, often with extenuating circumstances or nuances that could tilt the needle in one direction or the other. We are happy to discuss your situation for personalized guidance.

Factor 1: Food processing and other industry standards

If your industry is one with high standards for sanitation and hygiene, like food and beverage processing or meat processing, your floors must meet FDA and USDA guidelines, as well as supply chain requirements and expectations, which generally include:

Because sanitation is critical, floors that are easy to clean and maintain are the gold standard, but the cleaning products and hot water typically used can be very harsh. In addition, some food and ag operations involve temperatures that remain either hot or cold, undergo thermal cycling, and other environmental circumstances.

Tape cannot withstand these destructive forces for very long, and as it begins to wear away, crevices and traces of residual adhesive often remain which can collect debris, liquids and other materials that can harbor bacteria.

Paint applied to a well-prepped surface and topped with a suitable performance top coating like food-grade epoxy or polyurethane can hold up for years, even with harsh cleaning. They can also be customized for additional antimicrobial protection.

For any industry with facilities and operations that involve these circumstances, painted floor markings are the way to go; for some food and ag facilities, they may be the only viable option.

Paint Tape
Food, Ag, other industries with heavy sanitation requirements

Factor 2: Heavy wear and tear

Some facilities and operational settings involve heavy wear and tear due to things like constant forklift traffic, pounding or vibrating machinery, and other forces.

When long-lasting durability is a necessity and a priority, paint is the best option. Painted floor markings done with quality paint and finished with epoxy or urethane top coats by experienced professionals will hold up for many years, even under punishing conditions.

We already mentioned paint’s ability to withstand heavy duty cleaning and destructive environmental forces like extreme temperatures and high humidity. Paint is also better at withstanding heavy use of forklifts and other machinery, heavy foot traffic, and wear and tear due to rigorous operations.

In some situations, production schedules cannot accommodate the time to have floor markings painted. If so, you could wait until a planned facility maintenance shutdown and include line striping during that time. Another option that clients often choose is to include line striping as part of an overall floor restoration and coating project, with or without a full shutdown. We often work off-hours or coordinate our schedule and work areas to cause as little disruption as possible to normal operations.

Yet if shutdowns or operational accommodations are not an option, or you need an immediate remedy, tape could be a solution worth trying. In this case, we would advise choosing a product that is specified for heavy duty use, with superior adhesive properties.

Paint Tape
Facilities with heavy wear and tear under normal operations

Factor 3: Versatility for imminent changes

The need for versatility comes into play for these three situations in particular:

  1. Imminent plans (like within months) for space utilization and floor plan changes.
  2. Floor plan revisions as a fairly regular and routine occurrence.
  3. Plans and preparations to close or sell / lease a building.

If any of these criteria apply to your situation, then tape is the best option, hands down. It’s quick to put down and more affordable, making it ideal for temporary or rapidly changing needs.

Paint Tape
Imminent or frequent floor plan changes

Factor 4: Versatility for custom colors

While tape is easily removed, the color palette is limited to available options on the market. This will not be a problem if your plan is to implement standard colors like safety yellow. However, if you need or prefer to implement custom colors for corporate branding, aesthetics, or your own facility standards, paint is infinitely customizable to any shade.

Paint Tape
Need for color customization

Need your floors marked?

Speak with one of our Flooring Consultants to find a solution that works best for you.

Factor 5: Workplace safety

Workplace safety should always be a priority, and floor lines and markings play an important role. While the facility managers we work with are concerned about safety, it’s not always a high priority. Sometimes it becomes the center of attention only after an incident or near miss.
According to a senior Painters USA sales representative,

Pedestrian walkways are a big thing, but that’s not always realized or prioritized until something happens, like a collision between a forklift and a worker on foot. We try to think of the pedestrian point-of-view when plotting pathways and lines.

Yet more prevalent than collisions are slips, trips and falls, the number one cause of workplace injuries. Performance coatings can be formulated to enhance slip-resistance on walkways and in areas where slippery conditions are common. Textured tapes are available, and should be chosen over smooth tape for pedestrian walkways and other areas where slips, trips and falls could be an issue.

OSHA recommends a number of colors for various safety purposes, and these colors are standard options in both paint and tape. Some companies prefer their own color schemes, in which case paint may be the best fit since paint can be easily customized and tape comes in fixed colors.

As both tape and paint can satisfy workplace safety needs, your choice should include the other factors mentioned in this article and any unique needs.

The most important thing, whether it’s paint or tape, is to distinguish pedestrian walkways, equipment paths, safety exits, hazardous areas, and other functions. Ensure they are highly visible and well-maintained to convey clear meaning and purpose.

Paint Tape
Floor markings for workplace safety

Factor 6: Installation time

For pure speed, tape wins over paint, as it’s ready to go as soon as it’s applied. We all know that paints and coatings require drying or curing time.

Painted line striping and floor markings are generally a 3-step process, involving 2 coats of paint and a clear epoxy or urethane top coating. This process is the source of paint’s durability and longevity.

The time requirements for paint can be mitigated by using products that are fast drying/curing and scheduling work so that most of it (including drying time) occurs during slow shifts, weekends, or downtime.

If speed is a top priority and durability is not a major concern, tape is the fastest method to implement.

Paint Tape
Low installation and maintenance time

Factor 7: Cost

When looking at cost, it’s important to balance immediate, upfront expenses against long-term value. It costs less to implement a tape solution as the material and labor costs are lower, plus it’s less time-intensive.

But when you take a longer view, including the expected useful life and replacement frequency, it’s possible that paint could be less costly in the long run.

For long-term value and budgeting considerations, always ask your floor marking / line striping vendor:

What is the expected useful life based on facility type and operational plans and setting?
What are the maintenance requirements and how frequently will marking changes or replacements need to occur?

In cases with immediate needs and tight budget constraints, tape may be the best choice, with the understanding that the results may not last as long as paint. When durability is key and no imminent floor plan changes are anticipated, paint could be more cost-effective in the long run.

Paint Tape
Cost. When factoring in long and short term costs

When to use tape, when to use paint

Depending on the size and scope of the project, Painters USA will be happy to implement either solution for you. Therefore, we feel the most important advice we can give is to make your decision based on all 7 factors, and any other circumstances unique to your situation.

Consider paint when:

Durability and longevity are a priority, for areas of high wear and high foot / vehicular traffic, on floors with textured coatings, and for facilities / industries with heavy-duty cleaning or other extreme environmental / operational demands.

Consider tape when:

Flexibility is a priority, namely if you are preparing to sell or close a facility or redo floor plans in the near future, if regular changes are a common occurrence, or if the cheapest, fastest solution is your only option for the time being.

Overall comparison

Of course no floor markings–whether taped or painted–will last forever. No matter which option is selected, skilled application on a properly prepared surface is necessary for getting as much useful life as possible.

Paint Tape
Relative strengths
  • Durability
  • Long useful life
  • Customization (colors, functional properties)
  • Speed
  • Low material and labor costs
  • Easy changes
Stringent sanitation standards
Heavy traffic / operational wear
Versatility for imminent changes
Custom colors
Workplace safety
Installation time
Floor marking and line striping options

Remember Painters USA for all floor marking services

Now that you have this overview of line striping / floor marking considerations, we invite you to call your account representative or contact us via phone or web to discuss your specific needs. We provide a variety of painting and concrete flooring services as a stand-alone project or part of a bigger maintenance project, including planned shutdowns.

Painters USA is a full-service and solution company for busy facility managers with multiple and/or complex maintenance needs, including line striping and other floor markings. We are confident in saying that we have worked on probably every surface and structure found in the commercial / industrial world. We look forward to an opportunity to be of service in your facility.

Helpful links and resources

Need your floors marked?

Speak with one of our Flooring Consultants to find a solution that works best for you.

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