Ask the Expert: Should I Choose Paint or Tape to Mark My Warehouse Floors?
Warehouse floor markings are an essential element in any well-designed warehouse space. Floor markings, or floor striping, create visual cues for your warehouse team by dividing spaces, highlighting hazards, directing traffic, and alerting employees to the presence of safety equipment. These visual cues make it easier for employees to navigate the warehouse while improving efficiencies.
In this interview with ID Label’s Installation Manager Brian Blair, we review some of the most frequently asked questions about the differences between floor tape and paint.
“Primarily, you want to mark warehouse floors to designate the individual pallet storage lanes so that the warehouse operators know precisely how to align the pallets. Without the floor markings, it’s just a wide-open gray concrete floor. If you don’t have lanes and set a pallet slightly off, the next row is slightly off and continues to drift until you’ve lost an entire pallet storage location.”
– Brian Blair, ID Label Installation Manager
ID Label: Why do operators mark the floors in a warehouse?
Brian Blair: Primarily, you want to mark warehouse floors to designate the individual pallet storage lanes so that the warehouse operators know precisely how to align the pallets. Without the floor markings, it’s just a wide-open gray concrete floor. If you don’t have lanes and set a pallet slightly off, the next row is slightly off and continues to drift until you’ve lost an entire pallet storage location.
Some operators might set the pallets down under a sign or align pallets to a column, but if you have lanes marked on the warehouse floor, you’re guided within a few inches. This way, you’re ensuring the most efficient use of your space.
ID Label: Are there safety reasons to mark warehouse floors?
Brian Blair: Safety is another reason to mark warehouse floors. Designating forklift drive aisles and pedestrian walk aisles helps keep everyone safe and operations running smoothly. You can also designate no storage areas in front of fire exits or circuit breakers, eyewash stations, charging stations, and more.
ID Label: What’s the difference between marking warehouse floors with tape or paint?
Brian Blair: These are two different materials you can use to mark warehouse floors.
The most affordable floor tape is the one we are all familiar with: you peel it off the roll and stick it down on the floor. There are more expensive tapes, but they are often cost-prohibitive to install. You need a machine to remove the liner and press it onto the floor. Just the material costs for this tape are more than the costs of materials and labor for painted floors.
For floor paints, we use a two-part epoxy paint with a base and a hardener. There are also acrylic-like paints that can be used to mark warehouse floors. Epoxy paint is more durable but takes longer to cure—a minimum of 48 hours and up to seven days—while acrylic paints can dry within 15 minutes and cure the same day.
ID Label: Under what warehouse conditions do you recommend marking floors with tape?
Brian Blair: There are two scenarios where we recommend marking warehouse floors with tape. First, if it’s a pedestrian-only area and a warehouse is marking off small walkway aisles.
The second scenario is if a customer rents from a landlord and the landlord doesn’t allow painting, then marking the floors with tape is the only choice.
ID Label: Does marking warehouse floors with tape make it easier to change the layout later?
Brian Blair: Many warehouse operators think it is easy to pull up the tape and redo it. That’s just not true.
Warehouse floor tape often gets scratched, and vehicle tires create pressure seams, so when you try to remove the tape, it tears, and you’re stuck peeling up little bits of tape at a time with a scraper. The older the floor tape is, the more complex the removal because it’s more scratched up.
ID Label: What is a better option for marking warehouse floors?
Brian Blair: It’s often just as easy to remove paint floor markings as floor tape markings. For paint markings, we usually use a shot-blast machine, and it’s a straightforward removal.
ID Label: What’s shot blasting and why do you use it?
Brian Blair: Shot blasting is a concrete treatment process that uses a shot-blast machine containing metal shot – round metal BBs – and shoots them out at high pressure to break up the surface of the concrete.
Shot blasting can be used to remove old paint and to prepare concrete floors for new paint. Like sanding, shot blasting breaks through the concrete sealer, creating more surface area for the paint to adhere to.
Shot blasting is always recommended as a preparation phase before we paint any warehouse floors because it allows the paint to adhere better and last longer.
ID Label: Between floor tape and paint, which is easier to maintain?
Brian Blair: Warehouse floors get dirty, especially with tires driving over floor markings and turning them black. For warehouse floors, paint is easier to maintain because you don’t have to do anything but clean it. We’ve had customers complain that all the paint has worn off their warehouse floors, only to go out with some detergent and a scrubber and find a brand-new yellow line underneath the dirt.
Floor tape is more challenging to clean because if you get water or soap underneath any gaps in the tape, you can get a bubble, which will cause the line to fail.
ID Label: Are there color choices that make warehouse floor paint or tape preferable?
Brian Blair: A limited number of warehouse floor tape color schemes are available. Tape comes in standard primary and secondary colors with some striped options. There are also warehouse floor decals you can use for additional customization options.
Warehouse floor paint also comes in primary colors, but it can be tinted to whatever color you want. With paint, we can do various stencil work to customize warehouse floors, such as pedestrian footprints, stop bars, etc.
“Floor marking systems that incorporate color standards improve both safety and efficiency. For example, a standard yellow floor marking is often used to designate aisleways, traffic lanes and work cells. Yellow and black striped floor markings indicate areas where employees may be exposed to physical or health hazards.
No matter what color system is used to mark warehouse floors, the markings need to be consistent and employees must be trained on the color meanings for your warehouse.”
– Brian Blair, ID Label Installation Manager
ID Label: Are there design or color requirements warehouse operators should consider when marking floors?
Brian Blair: The Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) guidance on color usage states effective floor marking creates a visible, standardized system that is easy for employees to understand.
Floor marking systems that incorporate color standards improve both safety and efficiency. For example, a standard yellow floor marking is often used to designate aisleways, traffic lanes and work cells. Yellow and black striped floor markings indicate areas where employees may be exposed to physical or health hazards.
No matter what color system is used to mark warehouse floors, the markings need to be consistent and employees must be trained on the color meanings for your warehouse.
ID Label: Are there any temporary warehouse floor markings?
Brian Blair: As I mentioned, paint can be removed and added fairly easily and is a great option even if you’re changing your environment. If you need to mark your floors for a few months, I recommend temporary floor labels. They aren’t a good option for marking up the floors in your entire warehouse, but they are an option for temporary use.
ID Label: Can you help implement a 5S warehouse with colored floor markings?
Brian Blair: 5S is a strategy many warehouses use to keep their space organized, eliminate waste, optimize productivity and increase efficiency. We can paint any warehouse floor markings in any color you want.
Warehouse floor marking services and installation
ID Label offers complete installation and floor marking services to properly and professionally designate bulk storage areas, as well as forklift and pedestrian traffic areas.
The ID Label Advantage
ID Label manufactures extremely durable warehouse rack and bin location labels. Our materials have been tested and used in warehouse operations around the globe.
Interested in learning more? Contact us today.
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