The difference between hot and cold line marking

The difference between hot and cold line marking

This guide gives you a side-by-side, comparison between hot and cold line marking, along with information about the various projects, which will help you move forward with your next project and make informed decisions for the best results based on safety, sustainability, and durability.

Hot Thermoplastic Line Marking

When it comes to thermoplastic paint, the material mainly consists of synthetic resin, glass beads, pigments, packing materials, additives, etc

Before thermoplastic road marking resin starts its chemical transformation, at room temperature, it starts as powder. It is then heated up in specialist equipment to approx. 200 °C (392 °F), after which it is applied to the road surface.

With hot thermoplastic markings, the thermoplastic material is mostly produced in white and yellow.  The particle size of the material influences the flow, sedimentation, and surface processing. Glass beads are mixed in and applied at point of application to improve the visibility at night and improve the brightness and durability of the marking. The glass beads are colourless and function as retroreflectors for the road users

The Advantages of Thermoplastic

  • Short drying times. No need for full road closures.
  • Low initial cost per metre.
  • Can be applied to fresh black top without a primer
  • Minimum product waste

The Disadvantages of Thermoplastic

  • Low UV stability on colours
  • Colour matching difficult with pigments being manually added
  • Poor adhesion values on concrete
  • Low softening point – durability reduced in hot weather
  • Pick up dirt easily in mucky environments
  • Hot temperatures to apply and permits may be required for application

Cold Plastic

MMA (Methyl Methacrylate) Cold Plastic is a two-component road marking paint. It is ideal for high wear locations such as roundabouts, junctions, and heavily trafficked roads due to its high durability. The product is traditionally available as a screed applied system and is now available in a spray system whilst still offering high performance specification. The technology used to develop MMA Cold Plastic has been successfully used throughout Europe and America for many years in varying climates.

While the initial cost is higher when compared to traditional highway marking systems, MMA Cold Plastic will have an increased service life when used at high stress locations. Whole-life cost modelling demonstrates significant savings when tracked over multiple years.

Spray systems are perfect for long stretches of highway/car parks and can be applied with specialist machinery; mixing in the machine, or with the reactive bead systems. The reactive bead system is growing in popularity due to its ease of application. The MMA can be applied with a standard airless spray machine, and the beads are applied with pressurised bead dispensers. (Manual application is also an option, however we do recommend ensuring the correct dosage, and beads are not over/under applied)

The Advantages of Cold Plastic

  • Cold application, reduced safety risk and no hot works
  • More durable than hot plastic methods
  • Increase retro reflectivity improving safety and experience for road users
  • Sustainable with less site visits required, reducing disruption also and reducing worker safety risk
  • Smaller application equipment required and lower investment.
  • Can be applied with solely electric equipment – carbon friendly
  • Factory controlled colour, UV Stable and options to match to specific RAL Codes

The Disadvantages of Cold Plastic

  • Initial product application more expensive per metre
  • Longer cure time – deeper operational process
  • More susceptible to weather conditions and changes at point of application
  • Higher skill set required - Training required to ensure correct application