Street markings

Quick fade due to paint switch from oil to latex

Frank Gale
Published on July 11, 2014
Dick Sheppard, right, of Precision Enterprises, directs traffic around a West Street crosswalk in Stephenville, while Patrick Lannon spray paints lines and Travis Sheppard monitors the spray.
Frank Gale

The switch from oil-based paint to the more environmentally friendly latex-based paint has been posing problems for a local contractor hired to do street markings in Stephenville.

Deputy Mayor Mike Tobin brought the issue to the Stephenville town council meeting on Thursday, noting he had some calls from residents who were stating their concerns that the newly laid markings were quickly fading.

Tobin was quick to also come to the defense of the contractor, Precision Enterprises, saying the company was doing the best it could with the mandatory change from oil to latex.

“They have certain parameters this year that they didn’t have in the past, so it’s taking longer to do and unfortunately is fading quicker,” Tobin said.

Patrick Lannon of Precision Enterprises said some of the restrictions include that a contractor can’t paint within 24 hours before rain and 24 hours after rain. Another problem is salt residue left on the roads from the winter. He said the salt residue can be seen during a heavy rain when bubbles appear and the water looks whitish.

Yet another problem is painting the latex over the old oil-based markings, which doesn’t provide a good adhesion.

Lannon said his company is not the only contractor dealing with the same problem. He said he contacted the Department of Transportation and Works and was told they were also experiencing the quick fade problem.

“It may seem like we’ve been at this for a really long while, however we haven’t been able to paint for three days in a row yet and the number of days we’ve actually been able to paint has been only 14,” he said.

At one point this summer the contractor was so concerned about the lines fading they went back and repainted some.

Lannon said the job is now about 85 per cent complete and he expects to begin the section of road leading down to Little Port Harmon along Stephenville Beach sometime next week, weather permitting.