Paints & Coatings Resource Center

Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive

by Ron Joseph

October, 2005

Reflective Glass Beads for Road Marking Paint

Q. Sir, do I mix beads with paint or sprinkle them on top or mix with clear sealer or sprinkle them on top.... and the ratio of beads... I'm painting speed bumps for the Army at Camp Taji in Iraq to make it seen and safe for our soldiers.

Thanks and waiting for your answer....

Doug Hartman

A. First apply the traffic marking paint to the road surface. While the paint is still wet sprinkle the beads into the paint. You do not need to be scientific about this; simply fill your hand or use a home-type fertilizer spreader with the beads to do the job. Don't worry about the ratio, but on the other hand don't over saturate the coating with the beads.

If the beads are too large, they will fall out of the paint as soon as traffic goes over it; and if the beads are too small they will be submerged by the paint. Ideally, you want to select beads that are submerged just over half way into the paint so that they will be held in place, but the tops of the beads MUST protrude so as to catch the vehicle lights and reflect them back.

If the beads and the paint have already been specified, then experiment with the paint thickness so that you can achieve the desired goal.


Ron Joseph

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