What glass beads do I need for my pavement marking?

Glass beads vary based on the state or county specification where you may be doing work.The bid usually specifies which type of glass beads are necessary. If no written specification was included the department of public works can provide this information.

What effect do coatings have on glass beads?

Coatings play an integral part of the performance when applying glass beads for pavement markings. Simply, coatings help improve the embedment and adhesion qualities. Coatings are applied based on the binder application.


1. What happens in cold weather ?

At temperatures lower than +15°C, adhesives evaporate much more slowly and so waiting times are increased. The road is also more likely to be damp and this causes difficulties with adhesion.
At temperatures lower than +10°C, the laminate becomes stiff and difficult to manipulate and it can break. In addition, it does not conform well onto the paving and may leave air pockets into which rainwater can run, causing it to become detached.

2. Why is dampness dangerous ?

Water is an enemy of all adhesives and makes them totally useless.
If the relative humidity level is very high when the strips are being laid, a film of water may condense on the strip treated with adhesive, because of the local cooling effect caused by the evaporation of the solvents, and this will prevent the glue from sticking.
If the dampness is actually in the paving itself, the heat from the sun will cause it to rise to the surface after the strip has been laid, and if it has no other means of escape, it tends to detach the sheet from underneath. This can be observed by putting a layer of transparent polyethylene on the ground and sticking the edges down with adhesive tape. With the sun's warmth the inside will steam up in a short while and this condensation is a result of the dampness rising up from the paving.

3. What happens if it is laid on top of a layer of paint ?

The most common paints (e.g. Chlorinated rubber paint) dissolve in the usual solvents and this also happens with the solvents contained in the DUSTFIXER and the PRIMER.
It follows that, having been laid on a soft surface, the strip can then slip with the movement of the traffic.
At other times the strip may adhere well on top of the paint, but then this, over a period of time, separates from the paving, taking with it the strip itself.

4. What if there are oil or grease stains ?

Obviously oil and grease are the enemies of adhesion. If they are not permanently removed the strip will not adhere to those areas, and, with the movement of the traffic, it will move, often taking with it other pieces nearby.
Particular attention should be paid to places where buses and lorries are likely to stop and spill drops of oil from the engine (e.g. at traffic lights).

5. What are the effects of cracks or unevenness in the paving ?

Cracks are a source of dampness coming up from underneath and frequently act as channels for rainwater. Unless they are sealed completely, laying of the strips should not continue in that vicinity in order to avoid increased possibilities of their becoming detached in the future. The same thing happens with very uneven surfaces: then, in addition to the problems with water, there is some difficulty in making the material fit, and this can cause rips.

6. Why must the road surface be thoroughly cleaned before laying the strips ?

Apart from the oil and grease stains on the road and the dampness (see above), there are also small stones and dust. The stones prevent perfect adhesion and form sharp points which may pierce the strip, so allowing water to enter. Dust prevents adhesives from working properly and makes them ineffective.7. Why must the adhesives always be well shaken before use ?

Liquid adhesives are made with rubber and resins dissolved in solvents: when standing they tend to form a sediment, that is they solidify at the bottom. If they are not vigorously shaken to mix them well, the first part used will be very liquid, made up almost entirely of solvent without any adhesive capabilities, followed by a part that is too thick, difficult to spread and which takes a very long time to dry.

7. How close to the edge of the pavement should they be placed?

It is advisable to keep the strips at a distance of at least 0.5 m from the edge of the pavement (e.g. at pedestrian crossings) for several reasons:

  • this area is usually dirty
  • rainwater collects there, sometimes forming puddles of stagnant water
  • it is usually impossible to press down the strips sufficiently well in such close proximity to the kerb

8. What safety measures should be taken?

Adhesives contain harmful inflammable solvents and so, in general:

  • do not use in confined spaces
  • wash hands before eating or touching the face
  • do not smoke or light a flame near the containers of adhesive
  • follow the instructions on the label and refer to the safety data sheet

9. What environmental safety precautions should be taken?

All products containing solvents are harmful to the environment and so any excess product remaining should never be dumped on the road or down drains, but should be disposed of properly with special waste

10. How should these products be stored?

In closed containers away from extremes of temperature, in a cool well-ventilated place. The effectiveness of the product must, in any case, be checked after 12 months from the date of manufacture.