Posted by formed on 30 November 2016


The removal of existing road markings is a common process, and needs to be performed for a number of reasons.

Whether traffic layouts have changed, markings need to be removed after a road construction project, or general wear and tear means that relining is necessary, it’s important to choose a method of line removal that is best suited to the particular project.

In this article, we’re looking at some of the methods of line removal; what they are and why they might be used.

Thermal lance

This is the most traditional method of line removal, and has been commonly used throughout the country for many years. Thermal lance removal involves burning off road markings using compressed air at incredibly high temperatures. This is the most cost-effective removal method, and can be performed swiftly to reduce disruption to traffic.

This method can be noisy, and might not be suitable for use in town centres or near hospitals and schools, but it is a highly effective means of line removal. It is particularly suitable for the quick removal of car park markings, or safety markings at junctions, for instance.


Another effective way to remove many road markings is through use of a scabbler. The machinery involved here relies on force, using a rotating drum of tungsten-tipped picks to peirce, chip and smash markings from the surface.

Scabbling is especially effective for thicker thermoplastic markings and removing markings from concrete surfaces.

Scabbler machines are commonly used to level out or reduce the height of bulkier markings, and are helpful when removing thick markings which have formed hazards for motorists or trip hazards for pedestrians – at crossings, on pathways or in car parks, for example.

Due to the force and potential penetration of a scabbler machine, they are generally unsuitable for thinner or more fragile surfaces, as the surface layer itself may become scarred or damaged. Debris is generated as the markings are chipped away, but this is collected and removed from the site using a road sweeper.

Scabbling is a very cost-effective way to remove road markings. The machinery is hand operated by one person, and is suitable for a variety of applications; along with the uses we have noted already, a scabbler can remove linear traffic markings at up to 1,000 feet per hour – without causing disruption to traffic.

The scabbler also has a vacuum port attached, so any dust that is generated during the line removal is immediately dealt with, ensuring a safe working environment the operator and anyone nearby.

Other methods

You can also employ other methods to remove certain line markings, depending on the size and scale of the scheme.

Hand controlled equipment, such as a pneumatic chipping bar, can be useful for removing small amounts of marking, but more substantial means will be necessary for bigger projects.

Water blasting can be incredibly effective, but is highly expensive and not usually as cost effective when used on the same scale as other methods.

Hand operated water blasting machinery is useful for the removal of interior warehouse markings, although the use of such machinery is mainly reserved for medium sized projects, to meet the best price and speed requirements.

Professional contractors

If you require line removal services, it’s always best to seek out the services of the professionals. Whether it’s interior removal at an industrial location, traffic line removal, safety marking removal or more, professionally trained contractors will be able to employ the most suitable method of line removal for your needs.

Road Marking Services are leading suppliers of line removal services for a variety of clients throughout the UK. Our team of skilled, qualified operatives work with safety and efficiency in mind, and we make sure to use only the best, most reliable equipment available. To find out more about our line removal services, dont hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team today.

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All of our work is fully guaranteed and we as a company always make sure that you are happy with the completed work before we leave. We undertake all types of marking work from small one-off car parks to contracts that require regular work.

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