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Marking Removal - Updating Road Stencils

March 23, 2023

3 min

When most people think of stencils, they imagine the quaint paper type that creates sharp and precise lettering. However, a different stencil is made from durable plastic or metal. It is the kind typically used by road crews for pavement markings.

Although this tool is necessary to ensure safe driving conditions, it can also be frustrating for those who need to update or change markings. Leaving outdated or incorrect symbols on the ground can be an eyesore and a safety hazard. Fortunately, a few techniques can make removing outdated road stencils quick and easy.

Water Blasting

Water blasting is the process of using pressurized streams of water to accomplish a specific goal. Water blasting uses needle-sharp water jets to pierce the pores or cracks in the asphalt or concrete with incredible precision.

Water blasting effectively removes pavement marking materials without harming the surface beneath, making it the most popular pavement marking removal method globally.

Disc Grinding

Disc grinding is a process that uses rotating abrasive discs (typically Diamond) to remove material from a surface. Disc grinding can be used on asphalt, concrete, or brick surfaces.

Disc grinding is a cost-effective way to remove pavement markings because it does not require the use of chemicals or other harsh removal products. However, the process can be time-consuming and labor-intensive.

Paint Stripping

The process of paint stripping uses chemicals to remove paint from a surface. Paint strippers are safe for use on concrete and asphalt surfaces and will not damage the surface beneath the color.

Paint strippers effectively remove all types of paint, including water-based, oil-based, and latex-based pigments.

Paint strippers are available in both liquid and gel form. Gel paint strippers are easier to apply and remove than liquid paint strippers.


Sandblasting is one of the most efficient, safe, and cost-effective ways to remove old markings from paved surfaces. A sandblaster uses high-pressure air to blast sand at a very high velocity, effectively stripping away the old paint or seal coating. Sandblasting is also effective at removing rust and other buildups from metal surfaces.

Sandblasting is a versatile method used on both small and large surfaces. Since it does not create any hazardous waste, it is considered safe for the environment.

Soda Blasting

Yes, it's the same soda that's in your toothpaste. A non-hazardous food-grade soda is used as the blasting media. It's a delicate process that won't damage the pavement, and it's effective at removing paint, oil, and grease.

The process is similar to sandblasting, but the soda is finer and gets into all the nooks and crannies. It's also safe for the environment and does not create any hazardous waste.

Bottom Line:

It is essential to remove all old markings before painting new stencils on the roadway. The importance of removing old roadway markings cannot be understated. It is a necessary part of maintaining a safe and effective road system.

Proline Parking Lot Maintenance, Inc. is the Greater Charlotte Area's #1 Pavement Maintenance Company. We specialize in curb painting, stenciling, and pavement markings.

We offer pavement-grade paint or preformed thermoplastic for your specific needs in Charlotte, NC, and we provide a 1-year warranty on our work.

Give us a call today for a free estimate!

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