Thermoplastic Or MMA: Two Contenders, One Everlasting Line Striping Material

Thermoplastic Or MMA: Two Contenders, One Everlasting Line Striping Material

Thermoplastic or MMA can be a hot topic of debate, but we’ll make it easy for you. There is no one answer to the question of thermoplastic vs. MMA because they each have their pros and cons that may work better for your needs.

  • Thermoplastics show up well in sunlight (especially clear thermoplastics), while MMA does not
  • Thermoplastics are water-soluble, while metal materials like MMA are not
  • MMA line stripes last longer than those made from some other materials

But what about the essential things? What do line stripers prefer? They choose both!

We will break down some key factors that you should consider before deciding on thermoplastics or MMA for your next project.

What is Thermoplastic?

Thermoplastic is a material that can be shaped when it is hot and hardens as soon as it cools. After thermoplastics are applied to your line striping, they need time to cure to become durable and withstand weather elements such as rain or snow. When thermoplastics are being melted for use, they have low viscosity levels, making them easy to work with while line striping.

What is MMA (Methyl Methacrylate)?

MMA has many uses, including what it is typically known for line striping. It is no surprise that it is preferred as an ever-lasting material because of its high-temperature resistance and durability against weather conditions like rain, snow, ice, and high traffic.


MMA is known to have a long lifespan, which can last for up to ten years. For thermoplastic, that number is only five years maximum. Thermoplastics are much cheaper than MMA when it comes down to application and removal processes; however, the process of applying thermoplastic over thermoplastic is not recommended due to thermoplastic’s shorter lifespan.


Priming involves cleaning and removing any contaminants from the surface of a material that will prevent an adhesive from adequately sticking. With thermoplastic, you must clean the surface thoroughly because thermoplastic will not stick to oily or greasy surfaces. MMA can be applied directly onto an oiled surface without cleaning it beforehand.

Chemical Resistance

MMA has better chemical resistance to mineral oils, gasoline, and diesel fuels than thermoplastic materials. Still, thermoplastics have a higher resistance against water-based fluids such as hydraulic oil or glycols.

Different Industries – Different Preferences

MMA is used in the automotive industry for permanent line striping, and construction companies more commonly use thermoplastics.


MMA can be used on all types of surfaces, while thermoplastic materials are not always recommended if your surface has certain coatings such as epoxy paint, so you should check with the manufacturer before making a decision.

Thermoplastic and MMA are both line striping materials that have been around for a long time. One of the main differences is the installation process. If you want to install thermoplastic, it is best to do so in warmer weather because it tends not to work as well when installed when the weather is cold (typically below 50 degrees Fahrenheit). This means your fall and winter jobs might need an alternative. You may also use this material on some types of asphalt surfaces like those found at parking lots.

Let our experts know what kind of surface you will be working with before deciding whether or not one material will better suit your needs. We hope this blog post about thermoplastic versus MMA line striping has been helpful. Get a free estimate from Sweeney’s Pavement Maintenance, LLC in Liberal today.