Trying to get Onto Roadways and LineStripe

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    My partner and I have just started striping last year and have had contractors ask us to bid on different city roads. Most of these require thermoplastic. The problem is we don’t have a Thermolazer and I am not sure what equipment is all out there. The only suppliers of thermoplastic that I have been able to find is DOBCO through the Sherwin Williams store. Are there any other suppliers? One other thing is I have been paying 14.50 for regular sherwin williams hotline paint per gallon. I think I am getting the raw end of the deal and whats a good price? Also the blue prints are some what hard for me to understand, is there anywhere I can go to get help with the striping prints?


    Hello Schaef
    Here you go…Yes, and…There are others, and…um…I’m not sure yet.
    So…Yes…there are others that MGF Thermoplastic applicators…or commonly called…a “walk-behind”, or a “hand-liner”.
    I’ll tell you those in a minute.
    Next…the big deal though is how can you supply that walk behind unit with hot, melted Thermoplastic = “Thermo”?
    Think of it like this…how fast can you run out of paint in your striper and how fast can you then “re-load” it?
    SO…the “Kettles” are your next exploration point…which are commonly called “Pre-Melters”.
    Next…Paint…some of the big MFGs are SW…PPG = Pittsburgh Paint and Glass and Glidden. There are other smaller chains but…they’re regional and I may not know of them. Visit them all. I do. So does my competition. ( And…we worked together, yesterday! ) Next…in some towns SW is high. In other towns PPG is high. That said…be kinda careful which actual location you visit. In other words…every SW store is autonomous. So, they’ll sell you that paint…but it’s after they buy it from the other SW store, 8 miles away. Find the store that actually buys a truck load from their supplier.
    Now…back to the beginning…do an online search for “Featherlite Hand Liners” = ASE Thermo Mark 2 Feather Lite. Next…do an online search for “Apollo Hand Liner”. AND…a company called PPP = Professional Pavement Products, may carry some too.
    Next…the actual Thermo. I haven’t purchased any for a while…I’ll get back to you. It was out of Atlanta. But they then sold it…I think…to Lafarge. ( OR…the other way around… ) I’d start there.
    Next…get your city’s specs. It may call for a Hydrocarbon type or an Alkyd type…= think of it as Water Based vs. Oil Based. They may even say…use block form not beads. That’s it though…it’s no too demanding…and…the Thermo MFG will know all this too…blah…blah…
    Last…all that said…I “Thermo’d” for 5 years. ALL my work was “Off Road” = Hospital ring roads, Shopping Mall Entrances, College Campus private roads…and I was busy enough. That said…you don’t need to drop 60,000.00 just to see if it’s a cool idea. You can move in slowly, if you want. Buy a kettle. Thermo a Mall entrance = 2 directional arrows, a stop bar, a channelizing lane…then paint the remaining 17,000′ of striping in the parking lot. As you get familiar…move up or sell it. Oh…search for M-B Companies too. THey have a smaller “Pre-melter Trailer”. Again…keep your options open ended.
    How’s that to get you started?
    And…here’s some shameless promo…I give all this in my book with…how I priced it.
    Let’s keep in touch.



    Well Dan covered your issue quite well. I have significant expertise in thermoplastic and paint products, equipment and application. About 21 years in the industry on both the supply and contracting end. The only things I would add is …

    Thermo Suppliers – Sherwin Williams (local), Crown Technologies (Georgia), Ennis Paint (Texas), Swarco (Tennessee) I have sold or used all of these. Many contractors have their preference for one or the other. But it usually comes down to price and availability.

    Getting into the business – The best handliner out there is the units sold by American Striping Equipment out of Georgia (Dan mentioned their Featherlite). You can contact Tom Waxler (the owner) tell him I sent you to him. If you can get through his brashness, he is the guy to help. Yes I sell his equipment but I have also sold about every other brand through my years. I even built them for a while. I wont go there though!
    However you should consider preformed thermoplastic for smaller thermo jobs. It is quick, easy and no big upfront costs. But know that the material cost is much greater than extrusion (Handliner applied). I teach this stuff in my Thermo 101 course. I believe we are scheduling one as a webinar for next month. The cost is nominal. You are welcome to contact us for more in depth info and assistance.

    I apologize to all if this sounded like a commercial. But understand that I am here to help whether you do business with me or not. I get a charge out of helping out!


    Thanks everyone, this will give me a start as to what thermo all entails. I have bought Dan’s book last year and I do reference to it quite a bit. If your new in striping I would start with American Striping’s book.


    ENNIS PAINT…!…that’s the name I couldn’t come up with…
    Thanks, Greg.
    And…yes…I’ve used the 4″ Yellow Thermo Tape, ( heat applied, using a torch ) for a short amount of Yellow Centerline that was needed ( and also for an entire Ring Road ). We had applied about 1600 lbs. of White…and I couldn’t justify all the set up for just 20′ of Yellow that was out in front of a concrete island. …again, though, all of it was “off road”…= I don’t know if it’s accepted by City applications. I’ve never asked though. ( Here’s a note…it’s ALL still there…heavy traffic. )
    That said…I’ve used it for simple Turning Arrows, Stop Bars, Legends…etc. And…if that experience is what it would take to catapult you into a new service…so be it. ( Here’s another note…the only place it “failed” was on the concrete…several chunks are missing. Maybe there’s a “Primer” to help adhesion for that type of application. )
    Thanks, Greg.
    See ya, Schaef



    Most thermoplastics require primers to be applied on concrete prior to the material. Also know that concrete will not hold the temps between heating and applying (during the surface preheating stage) thus smaller increments of material or higher temps may be necessary. BUT….. be careful of “spalling”created when sight moisture is present in the concrete and the concrete pops a chip out due to excessive heating.

    Good luck and feel free to post further questions. I will be monitoring the site a bit.


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