All Painters Are Not Created Equal

A Strange Call

Today I received a nice chuckle from a phone call that came in earlier this morning.  The caller on the other end wanted to know if I would be able to paint the stripes on her parking lot.  Whoa, that was a new one for me.  I have been asked to paint a lot of things but never have I been asked to do parking lot striping.   As much as I would have loved to take the job, I just can’t see myself out with a paint and roller trying to paint the strips on a parking lot.

Yes of course I know there are companies specifically for this task.  They have special machines, and special paint that is used for the job.   The equipment and paint I have access to is strictly for home use and not for outside in a parking lot.  I explained this to the lady calling and she was shocked to hear and had no idea.  I think the strips on a parking lot are something you just really do not think much about, and when it came time to repaint hers, she had no idea where to turn.  So she made a good call, just the wrong call.

I contacted my good buddy David Sinclair who lives in Austin.  He actually does parking lot striping as a profession, and I know he would be the best person to point me in the right direction.   He had loads of wisdom regarding the entire process of how they go about striping a parking lot that I had never thought about.   You simply do not think of how getting the lines straight and uniform is important, but it is very important.   He also brought up some really good points regarding fire lanes, handicap spaces, and signs.   Again all things we take for granted when driving in a parking lot (until the lines fade and we feel lost).


Fire Lanes

fire laneAs I mentioned above I do not have the correct paint for taking on this job.  Here are a few fun facts about parking lot paints, and the fire lanes in specific.   Texas fire code states that

  • Fire apparatus access roads must be marked with painted lines of red traffic paint that is reflective (I definitely do not have reflective paint at my disposal).
  • The fire lane lines that get painted must be a minimum of 4” or a maximum of 6” in width to show the boundaries of the lane.
  • Painted in white letters must be the words: “NO PARKING – FIRE LANE”  or  “FIRE LANE – NO PARKING” and these words must be every 25 feet.
  • If a curb is available the red paint and the white letters must be on the vertical face of the curb.

There are plenty of other rules related to the signage and maintenance of the fire lane areas, but I will not bore you with those details.  Your striping guy should be fully aware of all the codes, or you can google for the Texas Fire Lane codes to read them all for yourself.


Handicap Spaces

handicap parkingWhile we are on the subject, we might as well talk about the handicap space requirements as well.  With the American Disabilities Act (ADA) that was put in place back in 1990 there are some pretty strict rules that must be followed.  I am in agreement with these rules by the way, just stating they are strict rules.

The handicap parking space requirement revolves around the number of parking spaces in the parking lot itself.

  • The handicap accessible parking spaces must be located at the shortest route to the facility entrance.
  • When/if new accessible parking spaces are added, they must be added to the most level ground closest to the accessible entrance.
  • There must be a 60-inch wide access aisle located adjacent to the designated parking space.
  • Based on the number of parking spaces in your lot you are required so many handicap accessible parking spaces to be on the lot. Ask your parking lot striping guy for clarification or google the ADA re-striping rules to understand what will be required in your parking lot.

I probably told you more than you wanted to know about parking lot striping today, but I simply had to share since I got such a chuckle of the visual of me out in a parking lot with a roller and some paint.

As always if you have comments, please contact me and share your thoughts.

Here is a quick video showing how they actually do stripe a parking lot, just in case you were interested.