This is going to be a very basic step by step article that goes through the process of striping a typical parking. This is intended to give you an idea of what you will be doing on a typical job.
1. Set up for the job. The first thing you will be doing is setting up your trailer for the job. Load your striper, paint, etc.. Everything you are going to need from paint to Gatorade is going to be either in the trailer or the back of your truck. Forgetting important items either means a trip back home or a trip to the store.
2. Arrive at the job. When you arrive at the job you will unload your striper and set up a work area. I like it to be near grass and water if possible. That gives me a place to clean my machine without getting paint on the parking lot. I normally go ahead and fill my striper with paint and run a test line or two. I also pull out any stencils that I will be using that day or night. Also, get your blower out and gased up.
3. Set up a Striping Zone. Next I choose an area to stripe that is nearest to me and I enclose it if necessary with caution tape, cones and whatever it takes to keep cars and people out. I then blow off the lines and make sure everything is ready for paint.
4. Striping the Parking Lot. Now I power up the machine and start striping. I always stripe in a logical progression. For example, if you have nose to nose parking with a center line dividing the two rows of cars you would never stripe the center line first. If you did then you would have to wait 15 minutes for it to dry before you could do any more striping. Instead, start doing the 40 foot lines and work your way to the end. Then you can roll back to the other end of the line and do one line down the center to finish off that section. You may have to wait a little for the last lines to dry but if you don’t want to wait you can knock out a few stripes in the next section, then roll back to section one and finish the center line. It is all common sense.
5. Move on to the Miscellaneous Items. Once the main stripes are done I start working on all the miscellaneous items. I do the white painting first, then go to yellow or blue if necessary. If you do white first then you can do a basic flush and put in yellow or blue. If you do yellow or blue and then want to go to white you have to completely clean out the machine or you lines will have a blue or yellow tint to them. Again, common sense. I usually go to yellow next and do any striping that needs to be done. Usually fire lanes and curbing. Then I move to blue after a decent flush of the machine. I do the handicap lines. I am then done with my machine. I clean it and put it away.
6. Rolling out any arrows or symbols. Once everything else is done and my machine is put away I take out a 3 inch roller and a gallon of paint (blue, white or yellow) and I start on the arrows, words, handicaps, etc.. If the handicap symbol is already there, which it normally is, I just use the roller and freshen it up. It always looks perfect and I don’t need a stencil. If its not there I have to use a stencil at least to get the outline down. Once I am done with my miscellaneous items I close the gallon bucket and put my roller in a bucket of water and close the lid.
7. I do one last check of the lot and then go home.
Watch out for drunk people. They will go through any barrier you can set up. To keep them out try blocking off the actual entrance to the parking lot. Then also rope off your stripe zone. That is about all you can do.
Watch out for the parking lot vacuum truck. If you stripe at night you will most likely see the super vac truck. He will run over the entire parking lot so it is important to catch him before he does.
Watch out for the dumpster truck. Same rules will apply. Keep in mind these people are sometimes in a semi sleep state and are just running on auto pilot.
Watch out for people. If you are striping while the store is open you have to be especially careful of pedestrians. They will not even know you are there and will walk right through your paint and into the building. When near pedestrians work on small areas at a time and exercise extreme caution. Not only will they walk in your paint, they will also slip and fall in it.
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Steven Cole (Economics, MBA – University of West Florida, Business & Innovation – Stanford University) 30 years experience in the parking lot striping business. Expert in reflective visibility solutions.