Top pros and cons of water based paints for line marking

Top pros and cons of water based paints for line marking

Marketing Team

The primary component of water based paint is… you guessed it, water. We are currently in a country that is looking to reduce our carbon footprint by 2050, and water based paints will become the new hero product in the line marking industry in helping to adopt sustainable practices. Here are a few pros and cons you will find when using water based line marking paint.


Pros of water based paints

  • The odour from water based paint isn’t as overpowering as traditional solvent based paints, and what is vapourised into the air is non harmful compared to solvent based paints
  • The durable resin technology of water based paint is a lot harder to break down compared to solvent based technology.  Contrary to popular belief, when water based paint is applied correctly, it is more durable than solvent based alternatives. This is due to the interlinking between the molecules as it cures.
  • One of the most appealing points of water based line marking paint is that you can directly apply the paint to freshly laid tarmac. This will have a minimal reaction to the fresh tarmac, unlike solvent and cold plastic solutions
  • The bead retention is very high and offers great reflectivity when applied correctly, as new technology has seen coatings introduced to the beads to help the curing time of water based paints.
  • The speed of application and number of kilos per linear metre ensures you can go further than thermoplastic in one pass, and is typically the same speed and rate compared to solvent based paints.



Cons of water based paints

  • Water based paints are more susceptible to poor weather conditions such as cold surfaces, humid temperatures and wind speed. These will all affect the curing time
  • Maintaining the cleanliness of the paint machine and hoses requires extra attention as the paint can settle and cure in hoses if left for long periods
  • Curing times can take substantially longer than solvent based paints, and water based paint shouldn't be used at all in temperatures colder than 5o This can also cause difficulties with logistics due to the differing temperatures in the UK.
  • It can be difficult to spray, especially if the product is cold. The viscosity of the paint changes a lot more than traditional solvent based options


Water based paint technology is rapidly increasing with developments forced by tighter safety and environmental pressures. However, the cons listed above are key factors for the current lack of use on highway and off highway situations.

Water based paints can come in varying forms, and you can now get a water based alternative for most types of solvent based paint. The most common road marking currently in use in the UK is thermoplastic, with water based paint being worlds apart in many aspects.

Graco Linelazers are excellent machines for using water based lining paints, creating a crisp edge finish with varying widths up to 1000mm using multiple guns. You can also use these machines to apply reflective or slip resistant media.


Did you find the information in this blog helpful? If you have used water based line marking paint before, we would love to know how you got on. If you are thinking of using water based line marking paint for your project, then take a look at our Eco & Hybrid line marking paint range for more information, or contact one of our line marking specialists today.