Note: these archives were compiled from past Parking Lot Planet Forums. The answers and opinions are those of the posters. Things may have changed since then, so be sure to get up to date information from the current Parking Lot Planet forum

Determine Size of Parking Lot


Layout Buddy

Layout drawings, constants, tables, etc.

Layout Cable

Chalk Line

45 degree angle?

laying out crosshatch

Laser Chalklines

parking spaces width

Long..straight lines...

Layout 90' by 120' Need help

Painting Radius Curves



Determine Size of Parking Lot

From: pat
Date: 11/21/99 9:07:05 PM
Does anyone know to determine how many parking spaces are needed for a business? Any rule of thumb?


From: Bookman
Date: 11/21/99 9:07:43 PM
The number of parking spaces is dependent on the area of town the business is in. New construction in old areas is often at the mercy of available space. New office, warehouse, & manufacturing facilities have parking space that correlates to the building's size (square footage) and/or expected occupancy. As JPanz stated, it's all determined by your local planning and zoning commission. Unfortunately, those Bozos often lack PRACTICAL knowledge of what makes a parking lot FUNCTION, and like to beautify them with islands, trees, etc. that drive stripers and snow removal contractors crazy. As you get more experience, you might get with the Planning & Zoning people and try to EDUCATE them as to the FUNCTION of a parking lot to make YOUR future business easier to deal with. As everyone on this site knows, EDUCATION of the decision makers and property owners/managers is the name of the game! There should be specs for every job you bid on so the uneducated don't have to compare apples to oranges when they get umpteen bids for 1 job. If they don't have specs, offer to write them (for a fee of course), specifying # of stalls, type & color of paint, etc.


From: jpanz
Date: 11/21/99 9:08:21 PM
Check with the local zone and planning office. Every town is different.

Good Luck

Jim P





Date: 1/7/00 8:51:55 AM
I understand the benefits of using the Layout Buddy for holding the dumb end of the tape when marking stall widths but, how can one person chalk or mark the line which is to be painted without running back and forth? Also, does anyone have ideas on how to use lasers for lay out work? If you don't want to share on the board please email me at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


From: jpanz
Date: 1/7/00 12:23:42 PM
There is no easy way to layout with one person without running back and forth, the easy way out is hire a friend for cheap to hold the end for you. That’s out it.

Lazer from what I have seen only work well in long straight lines not really for parking lots.



From: RandyV
Date: 1/7/00 3:29:20 PM
There is no way to prevent the excessive walking for layout work, There are just more efficient ways to reduce it. Working with a layout buddy ensures that one person does ALL of the walking which makes it seem like more walking but is not. We usually mark three places for every 18' line painted, curb, middle and beginning (a "T" marks beginning) and for double stalls, 5 marks are used, beginning, middle, center line, middle then end (beginning and end are marked with a "T"). The long center lines are usually marked with a cable and inverted tip paint can or chalk line.

It is very confusing to describe in plain text unless you already do it the same as us, but I hope this helps.


From: Beachwalker
Date: 1/7/00 11:23:07 PM
Thanks for your reply. You mentioned three marks for an 18ft line and five marks for a 36ft line. I am guessing you don't chalk the lines rather you connect the dots?? Is this the case? If so I had never consider this approach which seems to be less work than chalking the lines.


From: RandyV
Date: 1/11/00 7:23:33 AM
Hey Beachwalker, Yes it is a matter of "connecting the dots" or lines as they may be. It takes a lot of practice to paint a straight stall line using this method because you can easily get off your mark from one layout mark to the next (they are usually about 9' apart). It is best (as many will attest) in terms of quality and straightness to snap all layout with a chalkline. However, we have found that we can (with practice) provide a very good product by laying out as I described. On very large lots, we sometimes send one guy 1/2 day or one full day early to begin layout then the second day, two return so one can begin painting and the other can resume laying out alone. When the layout guy is done laying out, he shuffles shingles to speed up the painting operation. Shingles? Oh, we use shingles for those crisp straight ends of the lines. One shingle cut into thirds lasts many weeks (about 1/2 the summer) and when they get to loaded up with paint, it is cheap to throw them away and stop by the lumber yard and buy another bundle.


From: straight line
Date: 7/24/00 5:55:05 PM
here at straight line we just use 2 marks, can teach my illegals to do it straight in one week, and you can put a straight edge to prove its straight. for double stalls we have a three man team and a 400 ft rope and can move faster then the sprayer can put out paint, about 600 lines an hour not counting time out for refills. so figure ten dollars an hour per man we still come out way ahead.




Layout Buddy

From: RandyV
Date: 1/1/00 8:44:36 PM
Before Fonz gets any wild ideas, I'll explain. It's not something that helps on a date or something you find in an adult magazine (sorry Fonz).

What I refer to a layout buddy is a weight (about 30 lbs.) with three 1/4-20 screws protruding through the bottom to provide a stable base - with three legs and a low center of gravity, you are never off balance or rocking as with 4 legs. The screws stick out the bottom about 1/2" and work great to catch the looped end of the stainless cable (we use a 300' cable for long straight lines) and also to hold the layout tape. It has a handle (1/8" pipe just under 3' tall with a "T" handle on top to carry it). One I made with spare cast iron lifting weights and the other with a scrap piece of steel and welded tabs for putting the "legs" through. If you wear out a set of legs, just put in new bolts - you can even adjust the length of them if you are on a hot mat and they are sinking in too much.

I am able to pull a 300' layout tape or the cable using the buddy making layout very easy for one person - layout is not harder, it's just that one person does ALL of the walking. We have proven this past summer that it made us a lot more money working one person as much as possible. I think the largest lot I laid out alone was somewhere around 27,000' of striping and doing it with one person, we made a killing on it.

If my description of the tool is not good enough for you, I can take some pictures and e-mail them to you and you will see how simple one is to make. But if you don't think you can make it, I know there is someone that makes one commercially - even if it cost $500, it would be a great buy.

Good Luck Randy


From: Robert Liles
Date: 1/2/00 7:36:29 AM

I've used a homemade layout buddy for years. Don't forget to weld a couple of hooks on the handle to hang your tape measure & chalkline.


From: beachwalker
Date: 1/3/00 5:22:03 PM
The weight works well for marking the stall widths, but how do you chalk or mark each of the stripes for painting ? ?


From: Ken
Date: 1/5/00 12:47:56 AM
Got it!!!!! I've been using something like that, but didn't know what to call it. Mine isn't as elaborate though. I have been using a heavy sledge hammer with the end of my chalk line looped around the bottom. The handle of the sledge is then run up and through a traffic cone. You then have what looks like an orange traffic cone with a "stick" poking out the top and a string out the bottom. Most of my work is on new concrete (here in the south). 'Not as good as your design but the base of the cone tends to keep it from moving on the concrete.


From: broncobilly
Date: 1/7/00 12:09:08 PM
Whenever I was stuck laying out a parking lot by myself If I've used paint cans to hold the ends of marking tapes, chalklines, or ropes. They are more than adequate to stretch a 300' tape without it sliding. I just never took the time to make a "layout buddy" but now you have inspired me to do so. Thanks. However, realize you are probably better off finding someone(anyone) to hold the other ends as layout by yourself is too time consuming.




Layout drawings, constants, tables, etc.

Date: 12/12/99 2:27:49 PM
Do any of you use tape measures that read tenths of inches? Do you ever have new lay out work on large lots that have angled parking @ 60, 70, etc.? Have any of you gotten, bought or read information that is incomplete, or wrong? Do you have problems dividing an area into equally spaced stalls, or worse making them all the same size except the last one? I was thinking about bringing some drawings, constants, and tables to the show. I need to know the answers to the above question. By answering and questioning among yourselves, I will get a better handle on how to format the information I will be giving away. Having read the posts for a long time now, I see that there are some of you who could use a little help. There are some who could use a lot. I would like to pass on this info to those who would use it, and pass it on to others. It is not easy to understand, and some of you will not take the time to learn. But if you do, it will help you in many ways to save time and labor. Hope to see you all at the show!!!


From: HH
Date: 12/14/99 8:39:14 PM


parking stall width

Date: 3/21/00 1:04:13 PM
is there anyplace I can go to find out codes or regulations for parking stall width, not ada, just normal spaces. would it be a county thing or state. I normally go by what’s standard to the neighborhood, but sometimes am asked about codes and would like to give an informed answer. please help!


Date: 3/21/00 3:32:20 PM
Contact the city planning dept. in the city you're striping in, they should have that for you.

City codes vary from town to town




Layout Cable

From: jpanz
Date: 12/3/99 9:14:14 PM
I finally tried the layout with a cable(you told me about strapping) with the start and stops marked on it. It worked GREAT. I took me about 2 hours two layout and stripe 450 lines in a large lot. I was a little concerned try this, but finally got the chance to try it.

Once again, thanks for the great tip.(Hopefully you make it to the show this year with more great tips)

Hope you feel better. Jim


From: jpanz
Date: 12/7/99 12:32:59 PM
Alright, I will give this a try.

This only work on a parking lot that has no islands or breaks in the pavement. 1. Make out the width of each stall on the ends of the parking lot 9 or 10 feet. 2. layout a cable or strapping material across the parking lot. I used 1/8 on a 500 foot run with 2 other guys. My main concern was would the cable move with the paint spraying right next to it. I did not move at all. 3. Mark your cable for your stop and stops What I did was starting only from one end I mark 18ft(head in stall)24ft aisle,36ft double stall, 24ft aisle, and so on. 4. Then with the edge you started with hold that on the mark and pull the cable tight. It will not stretch but it comes damn close to straight. 5. Then use your marks to stop and start with. I used yellow electrical tape to make the cable, I found out after about 100 stalls your eyes get to focused on the cable. Next time I am going to used nylon cable straps mark it.

If I left out anything, I am sure someone will remind me.

Try it if you get a chance.



Date: 12/8/99 5:40:48 PM
Good job Jim, sounds like you got it. I use duct tape to flag my starts and stops.


From: jpanz
Date: 12/8/99 8:52:11 PM
I was going to use duct tape, but I thought there is to much of a possibility that the lines will not be even because the tape is three inches wide. That’s why next time I am going to use nylon ties, little room for error

Thanks Jim




Chalk Line

Date: 6/2/00 12:16:23 AM
Anyone know where I can find a good chalk line? I would like to find something that has a large chalk capacity so I don't have to waste time constantly refilling and a thicker rope that will require only one snap. Thank you in advance for your comments/suggestions. RRLINE This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


From: Line Guy
Date: 6/2/00 6:34:47 AM
I use Keeson Giant Chalkline, some stripers use a chalkline made from an ammo box, but the Keeson's a lot lighter and quicker. Only drawback - the thing's made out of cheap plastic and wears out in a month or two. Order a catalog from robert liles.


From: City
Date: 6/2/00 5:47:51 PM
I also use that infamous plastic chalk reel. Have been known to replace the line a few times, its less than 20 bucks to replace but the whole reel costs about 40.

I have seen guys use a thicker cord with half moon chalk but I’m used to my old ways with the reel. I can snap about 10 to 15 spaces before I have to wind up to re-chalk.

the only drawback to keeping the chalk reel full of chalk is that every time you un-wind it you should be up wind from the chalk dust otherwise you will look like a yummy powdered donut..... with that?


From: jpanz
Date: 6/2/00 9:38:56 PM

I bought the large palstic reels this year, they are great compared to my ammo box type. Thats why you have your helper hold the reel as you walk away. I did a parking lot with a nosy security guard with a nice bright white shirt on, and nice slight breeze. After 3 warnings we gave up on him. He was standing in behind my helper when I pulled the sting loaded with orange chalk. Needless to say I never saw someone run so fast in my life as the cloud of orange chalk went right for him. The rest of the day he stayed in his little house.



From: greg
Date: 6/3/00 8:20:48 AM
I use masonry line in my chalk lines it almost never breaks as for the giant chalk lines are they really that cheap? I ordered one a few weeks ago and am still waiting for it.


From: Cormac
Date: 6/3/00 2:27:22 PM
I bought some heavy duty string/line from Franklin Paint in Franklin MA. I bought it from George that works there. He was a striping contractor for 30 some years and that is what he settled on. If George likes it, then it is good enough for me.


Date: 7/7/00 12:25:27 AM
I went with the Keisen. I ordered it from mcmaster-carr, It cost me 42.00 s&h included, It was on my doorstep in 2 days. It is working very well for me. Thanks for the suggestions.

chalk line and novice info.

From: fertilizer
Date: 10/27/00 4:22:31 PM
I’m interested in starting a business in the parking lot/sealcoating industry at the present time I run a turf fertilizing company. I recently read a parking lot striping book and am confused on how to do a chalk line. thanks...


From: Don
Date: 10/28/00 6:21:06 PM
First buy a professional chalk line. 150-200 ft. Always use white chalk. (Red and blue don't wash off) Place the line end on the mark holding the "box" high enough the line doesn't touch the pavement. Then stretch the line tight as you lower the "box" end to the ground. Remember the longer the line the tighter the chalk line must be. Then "snap" the line lifting it only a few inches. The higher you pull the more room for error. On long lines (40' or so plus) get a helper to pop it from the middle. Beware of contours in the pavement that can hang the line making direction changes. Extreme contours can require multiple pops for 1 line. On long lines remember if you have a windy day, the wind can cause the chalk line to curve if it's not pulled really tight or snapped from too high.


From: Robert Liles
Date: 10/28/00 9:15:07 PM
Some people might call this a dumb question, but there are right ways and wrong ways to snap a chalkline. The way Don suggests is the usual way to snap lines, and works well for short lines, but we don't use that technique very often. The way we do it is easier to demonstrate than it is to describe, but I'll try. First of all, this only works with the heavier lines like in the Giant Chalk line or some of the "ammo box" chalklines that stripers use. Any way here goes: With one end held by a helper, or a big foot (weight), hold the line with your thumb, middle, ring, and pinkie so that the line is under the end of your pointer finger. Lift the line clear of the pavement and lower it straight down. Sight along the line to be sure that it is straight. Then snap your wrist so that you create a "wave" that travels from your end to the stationary end. The line will follow the contours of the pavement, even marking low spots. You have to be careful not to introduce a sideways element to the "wave" or you may snap the prettiest curved line you ever saw. With a cross wind you have to pull the line tighter, and it may not mark across the lowest of depressions. When we snap repetitively, like one stall after another, the snapper pulls out a little more line as he walks to the next mark. This keeps the line fresh and the marks clear without having to re-wind after every few snaps. When you pull out line, don't hold it in your hand because this could cause tangles, just let the extra trail behind. I'll demonstrate this technique at thePavement Show in Atlanta this January in my Parking Lot Striping For Contractors seminar. Click here for details on the show:


From: Don
Date: 10/29/00 11:23:12 AM
It shows there's always more to learn... I'll have to try that way of holding the line next time. The "wave" action you describe is what we get also (and we use both the type chalk lines you describe) but I couldn't figure how to explain how I do it. I use a slightly different technique of sighting down the line just before it touches the pavement so as not to leave a false mark if it needs to be adjusted. This habit comes from mostly doing lay outs over fresh sealer where a miss or line caused by someone dropping the line between stalls stands out on the fresh black. I've also noticed new helpers seem to tweak the line in mid air without noticing, loosing chalk and cutting back a lot on how many stalls you can get before a re-chalk. We've got a sealed lot waiting for the rain to stop so we can stripe now, I'll have to remember to try your holding method since unfortunately our NPE seminars are at the same time this year.




45 degree angle?

From: Tomtom
Date: 10/31/00 8:20:54 PM
Crosshatching to layout a 45 degree angle with the stripes falling at 18 inches on center. Would the layout for each leg be 24 inches?


From: Fonz
Date: 10/31/00 10:37:47 PM
It's a Trigonometry problem. The magic numbers are .7 for the Sine of 45 degree’s and 1.4 for the tangent of 45 degrees. I'm guessing that's Greek to you so here's the deal. If you lay it out at 24 inches the spacing will be 16 3/4 inches get an 18 inch progression, you would have to lay it out at 25 1/4 inches. It's a matter of how fussy you want to get. If it was me I'd lay it out at 24 inches.


From: tomtom
Date: 11/1/00 4:00:11 AM
Thanks Fonz, I need to do this for the specs on a bike path and didn't want to look bad. I have figure these out before just forgot how. The mind is the first thing to go I guess.



Laser Chalklines

From: Richard
Date: 11/9/00 11:27:49 AM
Been striping for 2 years using large chalk reel. Works great but I work alone 95% of the time but it's a pain to snap double stalls single-handedly so on larger jobs I hire a temp. to hold the line. Would a laser work better and pay for itself in a few jobs? Any recommendations on what type works best? How long a line can you shoot with a laser?


From: Don
Date: 11/10/00 10:27:41 AM

I haven't seen a laser system that would work for what stripers would need. One drawback would seem to be the precision of a laser. For example if the laser was on the machine and the target was at the end mark even the slightest deflection in the pavement or a small rock etc. could cause the laser to completely dissapear from the target with no good way to get back "on line". To see what I'm saying try taking a cheap laser pen used for presentations, tape it to your gun mount, point it at a spot on the wall and roll your machine towards it. Visible lasers (such as used for carpentry work) require short distances to be visible and would dissapear under bright light such as a parking lot lights. We use laser controls for our grader and I've thought about the possibility for striping a lot but haven't come up with a workable idea.


From: Richard
Date: 11/10/00 6:11:17 PM
What about setting up a laser on a tripod above and just to the side of a 'future' stripe and aiming it down so it cast a red line along the pavement where the caulk line would be . With special glasses wouldn’t this be visible in sunlight?


From: Randy
Date: 11/10/00 9:01:38 PM
The laser light would not be visible. I have done extensive testing on this and even with the special glasses, the laser light is not visible on black asphalt in direct sunlight. You loose it after about 18' and certainly can't see it for 36 or 40'. You would actually need to see it for at least 50' to get good lines.

If you were to get a laser powerful enough to see in direct sunlight, you'd need a special permit or license to use it and I doubt OSHA would agree that it is not a hazard for by-standers.

I have tried a laser that oscillates vertically to "create" a line projected on the ground. you would point this "line" at your front and end layout marks then paint to them - your machine would be lined up perfectly every time and no need for body english on the machine to be on your mark (this is for those times when you do not paint to a chalk line) and thus no curved lines. Perfect straight lines every time assuming your layout marks are accurate.

This would be great but the common lasers are not powerful enough and the ones that are - - well they are not intended to be used where you might have the beam point or reflect into someone’s eyes.

It is not safe - don't try it


From: Gazza
Date: 11/12/00 2:53:53 PM
I'd rather snap a few chalk lines than try to line up, and lug a tripod round a parking lot.


From: Okie
Date: 12/1/00 9:10:50 AM
The way I have seen it done is by placing the laser on the pavement and align to hit target just past the end of long line needing stripe. Now place piece of electric tape on pointer(vertical) mounted to pointer. Paint long line by keeping laser dot within the half inch width of tape. Will not work in crest vertical curves, or deep sag vertical curves. But is does work. This is the same tech. toys contractors use to lay long sections of pipe to grade.




laying out crosshatch

From: JH
Date: 11/10/00 9:06:03 PM
I have under contract a Home Depot to layout. It has a huge amount of crosshatch (delineation) at the front of the bldg. What is the easiest way to lay out large areas of crosshatch? It makes me cringe to think of snapping 300- 6' lines every 5'!!!!!!


From:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Date: 11/10/00 10:28:29 PM
Did 3 Home Depots this year, so I know exactly which area of crosshatch you're talking about. If it's on the concrete apron near the store entrances, which most are, they're going to want it to look reeeeaally good. So, unfortunately, snapping them all in is really you're safest bet. (ya know, it really only takes about 35 minutes to lay it out) However, being only 6' wide, you can simply make your marks on each side line and simply shoot point to point without bothering to snap them in at all, but you have to be really confident in your skill at lining up the machine and painting straight. Probably not the type of wizard's tricks you were hoping to find, but I know Home Depot, and I know how particular they can be about some things.


Date: 11/10/00 10:31:28 PM

If you are a good well experienced striper you can make a guide stick. Put it on the front of your machine, from the edge of the first chalk line and set your machine on the second, as if you were going to spray it. Pull your guide out to the first chalk line and lock it down that way you will be guiding from the last painted line each time. It also depends if you are going from left to right or right to left. It takes a lot of practice. If you are off on one line the rest will also be off. You need to practice with it on some smaller jobs, then you will know more about it.



From: City
Date: 11/10/00 10:38:13 PM

Some of the pro's may not like what i have to say but I use the "ole width of the machine" technique. This works better on shorter lines of cross hatches but if you have a long line cross hatch you may want to snap a chalk line. What i do is simply this... position the machine at the angle i want then stripe one line, then position the wheel along side the line i just striped, (if my spray tip is on the right side of the machine i use the left wheel as a guide, painting from right to left) roll the machine up the line to make sure its tracking along side it without drifting away and make corrections if necessary, then stripe the next line... be sure to watch the previous line you just striped in relation with your machine making sure it doesn't drift away from the line, don't watch where your paint is covering until you reach the end of the line.. repeat.


From: ken
Date: 11/11/00 7:23:32 AM
'Just got through with two mall entrances like you described. Each were 23 lines 8 inches wide by 30 ft long on 1 ft spacing. I used the ol machine width method as describe previously. ( I'm not sure where my chalk line is. A lazyliner also helps keep you painting straight.) 'Finished both perfectly in little under an hour.


From: Robert Liles
Date: 11/11/00 5:19:41 PM
Nothing wrong with the ol' side of the machine method if you only have a few crosshatch lines to make, but remember, errors are cumulative. This means each little mistake carries on and another mistake adds to it. By time you have painted several lines with this method, you could be off a noticeable amount. Best thing for a large area like the store entrance, go ahead and bite the bullet and snap the lines.


From: Jim
Date: 11/16/00 3:39:28 PM
I have used the machine width great, but as Robert said errors are cumulative. Snapping lines is time consuming. Recently , by mistake I discovered a method that for me works much faster. I have a layout buddy, homemade. After marking the layout, I place the layout buddy on one end of the line. Tie a string to the layout buddy and give the other end to my helper. She pulls the string through the mark on the other end and stands on it. I then just paint down the string and move the layout buddy from mark to mark. 10 times faster than chalking.


From: After Midnight
Date: 11/18/00 7:57:09 PM
We never chalk. We always use your method with one modification. Instead of using the layout buddy, we have a 20' bow that the helper carries from line to line and sets it down so the string lays where you would have chalked. We use the layout buddy on longer setups, like 2 4 or 6 spaces on the same line.


From: Don
Date: 11/17/00 9:49:42 AM
We've used a similar technique for years only we use cables (eliminates the need for a layout buddy) If the cable is on a cord reel it's weight will hold that end. The trick for cables is learning to paint about 1/4" away from them so as not to build up paint on the cable. We also use this a lot when restriping and part of lines or sections are missing etc.




parking spaces width

From:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Date: 12/8/00 5:04:20 PM
I am doing a project for school. My question is how wide and long are the average parking spaces? please e-mail me back if you can give me an answer. Thanks.


From: rrline
Date: 12/10/00 4:36:09 PM
We do a lot of restriping. Stalls are usually 9-10 ft. wide and anywhere from 13 to 19 ft. long. I would never go smaller than 9ft.wide.




Long..straight lines...

From: Fonz
Date: 7/18/00 11:43:34 PM
OK guys.........I posted this question almost 2 years ago on this's time to ask again with all the new people here....maybe I’ll get some new here it is...........If you had to layout long parallel lines....2,3,4 thousand feet would you do it????......transit ??.....string?...cable???..GPS????....I'm all ears...


From: City
Date: 7/19/00 12:04:26 AM
Are you striping another runway Fonzie? I would say use a wire but I’m not a pro. how bout contacting


From: Don
Date: 7/19/00 9:03:30 AM
Fonz, I heard somebody refer to you as a body part but it wasn't ears... anyway... We do it like the highway guys. Slightly flexible nylon type string. You must be able to stretch the string a little because it must be VERY tight. We use asphalt nails to stake it every couple hundred feet to maintain the tension. Keep it low to the ground to avoid any sway from the wind. This has the advantage of letting you "eyeball" the straightness of the whole line before you paint. (do this pre-Old Mil) As for the parallel just use 2 guns (no way to make double stripes look good one at a time) If they are too far apart (edge lines) make equal spacing between your nail down stakes.


From: ken
Date: 7/19/00 11:09:12 AM
Please everyone bear with me. I may only have a few years striping as compared to the other seasoned stripers here, but this question brings out the old retired injuneer in me.

How far apart are the parallel lines? Two feet, twenty feet, two hundred feet? To what degree of accuracy? If they are close, like Don says, two guns is the answer. If only a few feet, use a chain between the line being projected and mark the other parallel line. (Make sure the chain is at a 90 degree angle between the lines.) If your parallel lines are over say 20' apart, it begins to be difficult to keep them true because it is more difficult to keep the 90 degree angle. It then becomes necessary to establish the four points that will be the ends of the two "parallel" lines. If accuracy is critical, a transit is the easiest and most cost effective answer.

I have done only a small amount of airport striping work. The respective lines weren't quite long enough to warrant the use of a transit, but I would used one if they had been over ~3000'. Transits can be rented at reasonable rates and are worth every cent when lines must be perfectly straight. They also allow you to project a perfectly straight line over hills or where the line of sight is obstructed.

Time now for anybody using any more modern lazer techniques to jump in.


From: Don
Date: 7/19/00 2:40:04 PM
Ken I'm with you about the transit on this one... after all you've got to know where to put the string. Another thing I saw one time was a fellow tho had an extension on the side of his striper (an adapted telescoping handle off something) he cold extend out up to 10 ft. Had a little wheel on it and held some welders marking chalk in a little spring loaded gizmo. Made the quickest parallel line from about 3 to 10 ft. out you ever saw while painting the 1st one. He also was working on another contraption with a thing like a large gun scope mounted on the striper... he had a prototype and claimed he could just place this little target at the end of the sight line and as long as he kept it in the cross hairs it painted perfectly straight. Sounded good but I always wondered if he ever hit a rock and gave himself a black eye with the thing. If he'd known Fonz I'm sure he could have invented a device to grab another Old-Mil from the counterweight cooler in mid-stripe without stopping...


From: MI Striper
Date: 7/19/00 11:28:50 PM
Fonz, I know a few long line pros in your part of the state who would do it for you for a couple of your old Mils. Just put a mark out every 50 feet or so and they can drive it in quicker and straighter than you could ever lay it out.

Seriously though, I would suggest contacting one of the smaller road striping outfits in your area and let them have at it. It's tuff to paint straight that far while walking no matter how good your layout is. With a truck, you can rig numerous guns to cover two lines of just about any length and if it is an airport, the bead coverage from a truck will be far superior than that of a gravity fed one. Just make sure the truck is certified by MDOT. It will have a sticker on the inside of the driver's door signed by Brian Zimmerman, with his phone # and the max. speed the truck can paint and still meet MDOT specs (usually between 14 and 18 mph.). Contact me if you want or need any names of some long line guys in your area. Good Luck, Mike


From: Fonz
Date: 7/20/00 3:07:53 AM’s the deal guys.....I'm near Detroit...MoTown..Home of the Automobile...The guy who got me started in this business was a manager of a automobile distribution center. The cars come from the factory on trucks and leave by rail (train) to every part of the country. The lot near me is 4,500 ft long by 700 ft wide. At the entrance they have 3 lanes for semi's to travel the 4,500 feet and drop off their cargo at different points along the route. So......that’s why I posted the question. The three lanes going in are about 16 ft wide.....going for the entire 4,500 feet. I just wanted to do the best job possible and posted the question to the real pros in this business. From the cab of a semi every imperfection would show up. In the works about 15 miles from me is what will be possibly the worlds largest parking lot...3 miles long...1,000 feet ship cars out by rail. The hell with the striping!!!.....Wouldn't you like to be the paver for that job????...!!!


From: RandyV
Date: 7/20/00 8:22:41 AM
Hey Fonz, I know a guy that has a Road Lazer that would be glad to rent his equipment or services to you for that job - as of 6 weeks ago, he was trying his damndest to get me to buy it but I couldn't justify it [drinking and walking while I paint isn't illegal but drinking and driving while I paint just might be].

Anyhow, if you are interested, e-mail me and I'll find out if the equipment is still available for rent or use. Maybe we can work out a deal where we can buy it together and share it's use. Us small contractors can always work together in many ways.



From: MI Striper
Date: 7/20/00 8:46:29 PM
I know I'm going to sound like a broken record here but I would sub it out to a road striper. A road lazer is a good idea IF you can drive straight but the road guys drive their trucks six days a week for several hours a day. You can layout the lot by pulling your required width (16 ft.) off from the line the pavers use and make marks every 50 ft (length) for the driver to follow. You can still make some profit off the job, have straight lines and ride with them in the air-conditioned cab while the truck completes the job in far less time than you ever could.


From: sdechene
Date: 7/20/00 10:53:02 PM
We do a lot of work at the Port of Seattle, Port of Tacoma, Union Pacific railyard, Sea-Land freight, etc. , so I know exactly the type of situation you're talking about. I may stand alone on this, but I say phooey with hiring a paint truck. When the looks are the utmost priority, I know I can paint longer more perfectly straight lines with a small machine than any paint truck driver I've ever known, including myself. =P I recant, however, if your lines tend to exceed a mile in length. Then it may just come down to saving time and labor. I string my straight lines in. What I have to layout off of (a good long building, a fence-line, a train rail... and how close together my measurement marks will be) determines whether I use a 150' chalk line, or my 400 foot spray line. As mentioned before, pulling the string tight is key. If you have multiple parallel lines, just make sure you get the first one right, and the rest is just mirroring with measurement. I dunno, maybe this tells you nothing. I could go into much greater detail, but I just got home from work and I'm kinda ready to put the knowledge to rest for the night. I'd be happy to give you greater detail if you have any questions in particular. Just as an aside, are most of you familiar with how to extend a straight line when you have no further marks to pull across? Hold back on your existing chalk-line/spray-line and use the remainder to line up your next pull of the string. The farther you need to extend, the farther you'll need to hold back to remain accurate ( hold back say 30' feet to extend another 100'). I can use this technique to extend 4' or 400', and still remain accurate with no further marks. Good luck all.


From: Don
Date: 7/21/00 7:48:39 AM
Don't know you personally but you must have followed a striper around as many miles as I have... I was beginning to think I was the only one to use tricks like using the previous lines to straighten the next length or "square up" lot measurements when no reference point exists using a little simple math. Always using steel tape measures for long lengths (fiberglass stretches) using lumber crayons for reference marks, etc.... Fonz, I forgot to ask re: your comment about from the cab of the truck... up there can truck drivers see straight?


From: ken
Date: 7/24/00 11:28:38 PM
Hey Fonz:

Now that I know the details, here's how I would do it (and also how surveyors do it). You will need 2-3 people. Get three "Range Rods" (the orange and white striped poles that surveyors use. Or any straight thin poles that are painted for good visibility.) Get on your Lazy liner and move a yourself or another person with a rod to each end of one of the proposed stripes. You could rig a stand for one of them to delete the need for a third person. Have a person with the third range rod traverse the length of the line "ticking" the line as the spotter(s) at the end(s) line up the middle person thru the center. You can tick them at whatever distances you wish. Then use the nails with string/or cable. You will get an almost perfect line without having to rent expensive equipment.



From: Barknee
Date: 7/28/00 11:48:44 PM
Every striper has different ideas...........I purchased a used transit on a rent to purchase plan and now wouldn't work without one. For long lines I would transit in one line......marking every 100 - 130 ft......then pull my chain from mark to mark......spraying a dot of upside down paint every step or so.......then measure over for the other lines from the transit marks and have at her. I suppose I am like most in that our techniques are always changing.....and a man can get spoiled with a laser and transit....sold all my string, cable and cord. I liked the idea of the survey poles, we used to use those paving for vertical applications.....called them boning rods.




Layout 90' by 120' Need help

From: tomtom
Date: 10/16/00 6:06:13 PM
One way traffic driving in and exit out on the 90' side. the owner suggested one row along the outside of the lot(120' side) then a drive lane with one way arrows, then a set of double parking in the middle, plus a drive lane and another row on the outside edge of the lot. 60 degree angle. Can this be done? Help


From: Robert
Date: 10/16/00 8:18:03 PM
Typical request - the impossible. Customers always want too many spaces for the available pavement. 90'is a little tight. We figure 16' for the 60 degree stall and 20' for the backout. This equals 94'. You could change the angle to 53 degrees by measuring a 10' offset and be OK. After you mark that first line, measure perpendicularly to get the required stall width and that will give you the distance to mark the others. Then make the drive lane 18'.


From: tomtom
Date: 10/16/00 8:46:02 PM
I needed to draw this up for approval and was not sure that I was correct that it would not fit according to their dimensions. Thanks for responding.


From: sdechene
Date: 10/17/00 4:25:44 PM
Yes, that sounds like a possibility, albeit rather tight. Drawing the angled stall design out, I estimate room to accommodate 28 stalls @ 9' widths with 14' backlines and 17' drives (perpendicular). Another possibility using 90° stalls might be a single bay along one side, a single floating bay in the middle, another single bay along the other side. Your measurements would be 16' backlines (allowing for overhang at the edges) and 21' drives. 16' stall depth will work in the center because the occupant may depart forward into the exiting drive. Stall widths along the edges would be 9's with 10'6" first and last stall. The center stalls could be either 9 st. @ 8' or 8 st. @ 9' (compact). This would accommodate 34 or 35 stalls. Still rather tight, but no more so than using the angled stall proposal.





Painting Radius Curves

From: Bob
Date: 4/21/00 11:08:34 PM
Would like some advice from those of you who have been around longer. I have a project upcoming that has a 19' radius curve in it. Now I believe that I am good at what I do, however this size of a curve is making me a little uneasy, as I want it to look correct. Any suggestions regarding the layout and other than walking around it several times before painting it. I realize that I do not know all that there is to this industry that is why the request for advice. Bob


From: \\\STRIPES///
Date: 4/22/00 12:33:36 PM

The hardest part of painting an exact radius is finding the hub (center of the arc or circle) from which the radius extends. One way to find the hub of a 19 ft radius: Put the dumb end of your tape measure on one of the two points you are trying to connect and extend it in the general direction away from the concave side of the proposed arc. Take a second tape and do the same thing with the other point you need to connect. Pull the tapes taut. Find both 19ft marks on the tapes. The center point of the arc (or hub) is at the point where both 19 ft marks come together. You can then scribe the arc (r19) from point to point.

Larger radii are normally easier to paint so I am curious why this one is a problem. Perhaps there is something other than the size (19ft) that is creating the difficulty. If so, sorry about the detailed description. If not, hope this has helped.

We are enjoying gorgeous weather here in north central Texas. Good striping weather wishes to all.


From: Fonz
Date: 4/23/00 8:08:41 PM
The main thing for a good radius is if it jigs or jags. No one is going to check if the darn thing is 18..19...20 foot radius. The main thing is just make it look pretty!!!......If you're running an airless machine, always turn the gun 180 degrees to keep the gun as close to the 16 inch rear wheels as possible. Make a test run. I use a 3' by 3' piece of tar paper for tests. Just to see where the gun is shooting. Just make it smooth....if you miss your layout by 2 big deal...just make it smooth and blend it in to your start and stop marks...........It's a parking lot, not brain surgery. Just keep it neat and pretty!!!


From: broncobilly
Date: 4/24/00 12:10:25 AM
It is always satisfying to hear someone else say make it look good, don't worry about inches or missing a mark. I could not believe some of the garbage that was passed along by certain speakers at the expo (I am sure I don't have to mention names) about laying out parking lots to the nearest hundredth of an inch - I picture walking around with a micrometer and a crayon. I will always belong to the school that promotes an aesthetic appeal vs. an exact science. Sure, the possibility exists that someone may check a measurement(government contracts), but with 99% of our work the most important thing is making it look good. If you can find the center of your circle, great. Then just use a 19' string with a crayon at the end to mark the arc. When you paint it, don't worry so much about hitting your mark. Instead make no hesitations or sudden changes in speed to avoid "kinks" in the arc. Oh, and watch out for rocks on the pavement, hitting one mid-curve really sucks. I'm sure you did fine, or will do fine. happy painting-


From: Robert Liles
Date: 4/24/00 6:10:19 AM
Often you do not have access to the center point of a radius. Like when a curve goes around a building, and the center point is somewhere inside the building. Here's a tip that works well and fits the philosophy "if it looks good, it is good". From your starting point pull a chain or perhaps a new fiberglass tape by the end straight out from one end and slowly move around to the other end as you let the chain rest on the pavement link by link as you lay it around the curve. It may take 2 or 3 tries to get it right, but when you do, mark the outline with chalk, and paint.


From: Don
Date: 4/24/00 8:49:41 AM
Right on to you all!! One of my earliest lessons on the hard way was when we did a restripe over sealcoat for a remodeled store that was a former K-Mart. The sealing wasn't very good so the old stripes plainly showed through. However we were given detailed blueprints by the project manager who said he wanted it by them. Of course it was way off from the existing and none of the prints matched curb distances, pole locations etc. After working three days to "get it to spec" when I remarked to the project manager about how hard it was he remarked "What do you mean? We got those prints from K-Mart...all we wanted was it back like it was! Ah you live and learn...on a parking lot if it looks good and is smooth (for radius) or straight (for lines) it IS good.


From: \\\STRIPES///
Date: 4/25/00 8:06:34 PM
I paint to make it pretty, too. My dissertation was solely information addressing the question asked. I did not mean to leave the impression I measure for hubs and radii. Shux, they are lucky if I look at the plans more than once or lock the wheel on the arc. . I don't use a chain since the acquisition of the Lazyliner. (My helper calls it my cripple machine.) I just hold my elbow against my knee and accelerate into the curve by the seat of my pants :-) Instead of free handing, I guess it should be called free a_ _ing .


painting a radius line

From: Greg
Date: 6/1/00 8:04:16 AM
I am only new at striping this season and so far it is going great. it just takes a lot of practice and a lot more questions. My question is when painting radius's do you lock your front wheel or do you do with a free wheel. When I lock my front wheel it never seems to line up, when I use a free wheel my line is not great if the wheel goes in a dip { small or big } my line goes with it. This seems to be the most challenging aspect striping. I was wondering if you old pros would shed some light on this for me. Of that topic, I want to thank everybody who answered any of my previous questions if it wasn’t for your answers I would probably be stuck some ware in my first lot.

Thank You Greg Kennedy RonSon Stripe-It-Up Ent.


From: jpanz
Date: 6/1/00 2:39:05 PM
I know that there will be more replies, but here is mine. Swing your gun around 180 degree so the gun is by the rear tire. Keep the front wheel unlocked, and go for it. BEFORE you try to paint with the gun this way, practice with water first. It takes some more practice to get use to the gun in this position.

Good Luck



From: Cormac
Date: 6/1/00 4:12:16 PM
I agree with Jim. Swing to gun around so that the tip is inline with the rear axle. Downsize to a smaller orifice (maybe a .013 or a .015), walk more slowly (for control), and do the radius from the outside. For a one or two radius I would do it with the caster free wheeling. If you have multiple radius that are all the same, you may want to spend the extra time setting and locking the caster. Bear in mind once you lock it and are into the turn the is no turning back with a locked caster, with freewheeling at least you can "finesse" it match starts and stops.


From: Fonz
Date: 6/2/00 3:10:46 AM
Excellent advise as always from JPanz and Cormac.............The bookman technique is a little less involved.....simply bungy-strap your Coleman cooler to the front end of your striper.....fill with a 12 pack of Old Milwaukee Light and add ice to get the desired weight and radius ......experience really helps here.......drink 9 of the 12 brewskis..............then...paint that radius.........finally...polish off the remaining 3 beers...stand back.....and admire your work!!!.Trust Me!!...The D*mn thing will look great!!!


From: ken
Date: 6/2/00 8:05:09 AM
Ditto on the gun at the rear wheel, also doing a practice run. If I am still not quite comfortable, sometimes I do something a little different. Turn the pressure all the way down, turn the tip upside down and proceed around the curve infrequently placing small dots of paint or "tics" where the proposed curve is going. ( I can't see paying $5.00 for a pint of upside down tic paint when you have 5 gallons already loaded. Also it is a heck of lot easier than scribing with a piece of chalk at the end of a string.) If you make a mistake NBD...No Big Deal...only a dot or two of paint. Reset the pressure to atomizing pressure and connect the dots while making the arc.


From: Don
Date: 6/4/00 2:51:41 PM
Depending on your machine... if you have a new Graco or any machine where you can put two wheels in front, radius painting will be a BREEZE compared to any method with a small front caster machine. If the radius is larger often you can just put more pressure on the outside handlebar and get a great smooth radius. If using a single front caster machine the technique of turning the gun around is the next best thing. (PS Some Texas stripers have been known to substitute a shot or two of tequila for Fonz's brews, no ice or cooler needed and the lines always look good... at least until they sober up)


Help with Radii.....

From: BobbyTox
Date: 6/13/00 12:01:33 AM
I've got a somewhat large job coming up and it has striped islands at the ends of the run of stalls...The islands have varying radii and I've never laid one out before, I'm clueless has to how to go about it...Any help on laying them out and techniques for striping them would be helpful would be very helpful....


From: Robert Liles
Date: 6/13/00 5:51:59 AM
We measure and locate the center of the radius, then use string like a compass, hold on the center and mark the curve with your stick chalk.


From: Robert Liles
Date: 6/13/00 5:51:59 AM
We measure and locate the center of the radius, then use string like a compass, hold on the center and mark the curve with your stick chalk.


Another Radius question......

From: BobbyTox
Date: 6/26/00 11:26:56 PM
How do I make a 10 degree radius for an island. I do not need info on how to stripe it....just on how to lay it out... and I've never done one so speak to me in layman’s terms.........


From: ken
Date: 6/27/00 1:19:13 AM

A circle is made up of 360 degrees. A measurement listed in degrees indicates a deflection (variance) of a straight line. Your requirement for a 10 degree radius is probably a misprint. It is more than likely a 10ft radius.

If you need any more help, feel free to e-mail me at

www. Or, call me on the mobile listed there.

PS. Take a deep breath! No problem!!!



Radius Painting

From: jpanz
Date: 7/13/00 10:11:03 PM
Has anyone had a problem when you spin the gun around that the paint goes down a lot thicker. The height of the gun doesn’t change, but for some reason the amount of paint does.



Date: 7/13/00 11:21:30 PM


From: John with A & E
Date: 7/14/00 12:22:01 PM

without knowing what type of machine you are using, you should: if you use an airless, cut down on the pressure to allow less paint to be sprayed.

If you are using an air powered, I adjust the clip on the handle to squeeze lighter thus causing less paint to go down.



From: sdechene
Date: 7/17/00 4:10:08 PM
Yep. It's simply because, when painting the radius, the rear wheel is not covering as much distance (traveling slower) as the front wheel. The solution is to either push the machine faster, or reduce the amount of paint coming out of the gun (smaller tip/less pressure).


From: sdechene
Date: 7/18/00 2:38:13 PM
What I do sometimes, when I have many radiuses to paint (such as a basketball court), is set the machine up for the radiuses (smaller tip/lower pressures) so that you can go your usual speed, then just go slower on the straight parts.



From: Cary
Date: 8/15/00 12:26:18 AM
I'm having trouble with bid that have radiuses on them can someone help me with laying them out and painting them correctly. Thank you


From: Randy
Date: 8/15/00 8:48:13 AM
Please be more specific about the radiuses. Are they radiused curbs? Are they radiused islands to be painted at the end of parking rows? Are they road center-lines, skip lines or edge lines? Do the radiuses have parking stalls on them?


From: cary
Date: 8/15/00 11:10:20 PM
I don't know how to do any of them. If you could get me started with the basics on radiuses it would help some, and then maybe I can ask questions after that. Thank you


From: Randy
Date: 8/16/00 4:19:44 PM
If you are just getting started, make sure you have the following; a helper or layout buddy, a pre-marked 300' layout tape, chalk or lumber crayons, a 30' measuring tape and a copy of Bookmans striping bible. With these things, you can lay out almost ANY radius or parking stalls on a radius.

There are tricks to making it easier such as 1/8" cable and an inverted marking can of paint for layout (or you can paint directly off the cable when doing center, edge or skip lines).

You have to get started with the section on layout for laying out stalls on a radius which is in Bookmans bible


Date: 8/15/00 7:06:02 PM


From: Bookman
Date: 8/17/00 8:42:05 PM
Cary, 1) please list the measurements of all the radii you need to paint, and 2) tell me if you ever took a drafting or mechanical drawing class in school. 3) do you consider yourself as having any artistic talent? 4) do you have the courage to price a radius job considerably higher than a square corner job? Just because some architect or draftsman drew the blueprint as a radius doesn't mean the property owner/manager/paving contractor necessarily wants them painted that way.