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Industrial Floor Tape vs. Floor Paint

By Lucas Wiseman

floor tape in factory

Like the VCR or the ham radio, floor marking paint must now compete with a modern evolution of its function: industrial floor marking tape.

We have analyzed the advantages and disadvantages of floor paint and floor marking tape in the following categories: Visibility, Time, Durability, and Versatility.

Read on for our full analysis, or order your facility the best warehouse floor marking products on the market, and compare the two for yourself. 

Visibility—Can You See It? Is It Clear What It Means?

For the first round of the floor paint versus floor tape cage match, we look at visibility. Floor marking material needs to be highly visible above all else: if it cannot be seen, it fails at its primary function.

Old-fashioned floor marking paint has been the standard for a reason: it is affordable and reasonably reliable. However, its ubiquity means that it begins to fade into the background (often literally, as the color degrades over time). Needless to say, becoming part of the scenery is not ideal for a thing that is supposed to be noticed. Because of its relative newness, floor marking tape is interesting enough to draw attention and keep it. Additionally, its durable plastic coloring and protective overlaminate means it is easy to clean if it gets dingy, so the color stays vibrant.

With floor marking paint, painting floor stripes of alternating colors requires double the time investment and a competent painter to keep the lines in order. Concrete floor marking tape has no such issues: it can come pre-printed with words or hazard stripes, and can feature phosphorescent and reflective stripes.

A final point in warehouse and facility marking tape’s favor: it isn’t just for floors. It can adhere to any surface at any orientation, from walls and staircases to vehicles. Using paint on a vehicle puts it out of commission for many hours while you wait for it to dry, and often the paint needs to be specialized for use with metal or exposure to the elements.

Time—How Long Does It Take To Dry And Use That Space?

worker placing floor tape in active warehouse

Our next point of focus is time.

Cordoning off an area and stopping all work there to let paint dry can cause a significant financial impact in a manufacturing environment due to lost person hours. Concrete marking paint also requires tools, rolling brushes, paint scrapers and trays; none of which are needed when using industrial floor marking tape. According to paint-titan Behr, floor marking paint should only have “light traffic” after 24 hours, “heavy foot traffic” after 72, and you should wait a week before letting anything with tires drive over it. Conversely, PathFinder floor tape can be used immediately for all standard traffic and for heavy abuse after 24 hours.

Removal time is also a factor we considered. Scraping paint off of concrete floors can require a belt sander, caustic paint removal chemicals, and a lot of elbow grease. With marking tape, all that’s needed is something flat and thin to slide beneath and begin the lifting process. This quick and easy way of removing warehouse marking tape also helps make the environment more adaptable to new changes and updates: instead of scheduling a week of low-impact activity to let paint dry, you can pull up the tape, slap down a new line where you need it, and get back to work.

Finally, the time it takes to teach someone how to apply floor marking tape is minimal. Instead of worrying about training someone on the ins and outs of painting straight lines on concrete, you can get them to lay a perfectly straight, highly durable line in a matter of minutes after watching the video (especially if you use the PathFinder Floor Tape Applicator).

Durability—Can It Withstand Steel Toe Boots, Forklift Tires, and Pallet Drags?

forklift zone marked with industrial floor marking tape.

A majority of the time, you don’t want to think about your floor marking solution, you want it to sit on the floor and do its job. When it starts peeling up at the edges or blending into the surrounding concrete is when you take notice and have to do something. With paint on concrete, fading and discoloration can happen as soon as a pallet is dragged across or something spills and stains it. Not so with facility floor marking tape: you can order extra durable tape capable of withstanding forklift traffic and pallet drags.

The other durability factor is longevity. It’s unlikely that you’ll use up all of your supply of floor marking tape at once; there’s likely to be some left over. With a shelf life of over two years, you won’t have to worry about it drying out. There’s nothing worse than cracking open a paint can only to see a dried-out husk inside. When you choose floor marking tape, drying out becomes a problem of the past.

That being said, ancient parking lot lines are still visible in buildings constructed in the '70s. Floor marking paint may fade, scrape and discolor, but it does tend to be quite hard to get rid of.

Versatility—Can It Be Used For Anything Besides Marking A Concrete Floor?

Floor marking tape is able to be used in many places besides the floor: its adhesive backing means it can stick to hand-rails and stairs to add a glowing strip for emergencies or to provide much-needed traction. The most versatile uses of marking tape are adding it to fleet vehicles or delivery trucks and forklifts, the outside of utility poles, and other objects that might pose a danger if struck.

Floor marking paint is usable only on the floor, and perhaps on walls.

Standard operating procedure for any modern warehouse or facility is to practice some form of 5S system to speed up production and reduce costs. An evolving, shifting workspace requires a quickly adaptable marking application. If a forklift zone needs to be widened, you want to quickly mark that without wasting a week watching the new paint dry. Floor marking tape also comes in a variety of highly-visible colors, which can help integrate with a 5S system that relies on color coordination to improve wayfinding and production flow in a facility.

If your facility doesn’t use an efficient 5S organizational method, we’re happy to explain how egress and wayfinding marking with tape can play a significant role in improving your facility.

While we’re talking about customizing your workspace, we’d be remiss not to mention our selection of unique signs and facility-specific labels. If you need a specific message in your facility, Graphic Products is the company for you. Feel free to request a sample to see for yourself.

Conclusion

Industrial floor marking tape is a superior marking solution for indoor facility and warehouse use. Paint won’t vanish, however: it’ll always be used in parking lots and airport runways around the country. Anything smaller than an air strip or parking garage, however, deserves a more modern solution. Our PathFinder floor marking tape is some of the toughest and most visible in the industry. Not to boast, but our PathFinder floor marking, wayfinding, and safety tape is some of the toughest and most visible in the industry. 

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