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How To Remove Road Markings

How To Remove Road Markings

  • Legal regulations outlined in the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions (TSRGD) govern road marking removal, ensuring adherence to standards and specifications to prevent legal complications.
  • Mechanical methods such as high-pressure water jetting, shot blasting, and grinding machines are commonly used in the UK for road marking removal, with each method offering different advantages and considerations.
  • Environmental impact should be considered when choosing a removal method, with high-pressure water jetting often preferred for its minimal environmental impact, though the effectiveness of removal and road surface damage should also be taken into account, alongside safety measures to protect road workers and motorists during the removal process.

Road markings play a crucial role in guiding motorists and ensuring road safety. However, there are instances where road markings need to be removed or replaced, such as road maintenance, changes in traffic regulations or as part of new construction projects. 

In this article, the Northern Marking team will provide insights into the methods and regulations surrounding the removal of road markings, so that you can better decide how to handle your road marking removal project.

finishing line removal

Legal regulations

Before starting any road marking removal project, it is essential to be aware of the legal regulations. The removal of road markings is governed by the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions (TSRGD). TSRGD outlines the standards and specifications for road markings, including their removal. It is crucial to adhere to these regulations to avoid any legal complications, so make sure you reach out if you are at all unsure.

Appropriate equipment

To remove road markings effectively, the right equipment is vital. In the UK, road marking removal is commonly performed using mechanical methods. For example, high-pressure water jetting machines, shot blasting equipment and grinding machines are widely used. These machines are designed to remove road markings efficiently while minimising damage to the underlying road surface.

Surface preparation

Before removing road markings, it is crucial to prepare the surface adequately. This involves cleaning the area to remove dirt, debris and loose paint. Proper surface preparation ensures that the road markings are removed evenly and effectively.

Water jetting

High-pressure water jetting is a popular method for removing road markings. This process involves the use of a specialised machine that directs a high-pressure stream of water onto the road. The force of the water effectively removes the paint, leaving a clean, mark-free surface behind. Water jetting is an environmentally friendly option as it does not involve the use of chemicals or abrasive materials.

Shot blasting

Shot blasting is another mechanical method used for road marking removal. It involves the use of a machine that propels small steel shots or abrasive materials onto the road markings. The abrasive action of the shot effectively removes the markings. Shot blasting is suitable for removing stubborn or older road markings, but may be less environmentally friendly due to the use of abrasives. It is also more likely to damage the road than water jetting.


Grinding machines equipped with diamond blades can also be used for road marking removal. This method is effective for removing both painted and thermoplastic road markings. Grinding machines are known for their precision and ability to create a smooth surface after removal, and are generally preferred over shot blasting, but can be more expensive.

Environmental considerations

When removing road markings, it is essential to consider the environmental impact of the chosen method. As we mentioned earlier, high-pressure water jetting is often preferred for its minimal environmental impact compared to abrasive methods like shot blasting, but of course, you need to balance this against the stubbornness of the road markings to be removed. If you are unsure what course of action to take, make sure you speak to a reputable line marking company to help you make the decision.

Anti Skid Surfacing

Safety measures

Safety is paramount when removing road markings. Proper personal protective equipment (PPE) should be worn, and traffic management measures must be in place to ensure the safety of road workers and motorists. Road users should be informed of any temporary changes in road markings to avoid confusion.

Northern Marking is based in Manchester, but provides services to clients in the following areas; Huddersfield, Blackburn, Rochdale, Preston and beyond. Northern Marking is a leading road marking company, providing the following services; line marking, school & playground markings, warehouse markings, electric car parking space marking, line removal, white lining and car park markings.

Northern Marking is an independent, council-approved line marking contractor based in Manchester. If you would like to learn more about our services, or if you want a free, no-obligation quotation for a line marking project, please get in touch.

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