What Is Better? LDPE, HDPE Stencils Or Aluminum Stencils?

Any of those involved in the asphalt contracting business are certain to have run into those who swear by their aluminum stencils, and yet others who will only purchase HDPE or LDPE thermoplastic stencils. So what are the differences between the three? And what are the benefits of each? We’ll cover all of these questions and more as we work to determine, Which stencil truly reigns supreme?

 

What are Thermoplastic Stencils?

Thermoplastic stencils can actually refer to several different kinds of stencils, but for different reasons. For example, HDPE and LDPE stencils are thermoplastic stencils because that is what they are made of, Thermoplastic. An aluminum stencil however is clearly not made of thermoplastic, being aluminum and all, but it is quite useful in the application of thermoplastic sprat to the pavement! As a result the term can lead to a lot of confusion, so for the course of this article we will simply refer to the 3 stencils as LDPE, HDPE, and Aluminum stencils.

 

What Are The Pros And Cons Of LDPE Stencils?

LDPE stencils or Low Density Polyurethane Stencils are one of the most commonly used stencils on the market. Below are the Pros and cons of using these stencils:

 

Pros:

  • LDPE stencils are much more durable than many of the cardboard competitors out there on the market.
  • LDPE Stencils are easier to clean than any paper based stencils
  • LDPE Stencils lay down nicer on the pavement because the low density polyurethane is able to flex more easily to the contours than both aluminum or HDPE stencils

 

Cons:

  • Being more flexible LDPE stencils that are too thin can look wavy, and fail to lay flat due to a lack of weight pressing it to the pavement
  • LDPE Stencils don’t have rolled edges to further reduce overspray
  • LDPE Stencils cannot be used when applying thermoplastic pavement marking to the pavement due to the high heat required to adhere the thermoplastic to the pavement surface
  • LDPE stencils are not incredibly scratch resistant

 

What Are The Pros And Cons Of HDPE Stencils?

HDPE or High Density Polyurethane Stencils are another of the most commonly used stencils on the market today. Below are the Pros and cons of using these stencils:

 

Pros:

  • HDPE Stencils are more resistant to scratches than LDPE Stencils
  • HDPE Stencils are easier to clean than any paper based stencils
  • The extra rigidity prevents a wavy appearance when placing the stencil

Cons:

  • HDPE Stencils are too stiff to lay perfectly flat on all uneven surfaces
  • HDPE Stencils don’t have rolled edges to further reduce overspray
  • HDPE Stencils cannot be used when applying thermoplastic pavement marking to the pavement due to the high heat required to adhere the thermoplastic to the pavement surface

 

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Aluminum Stencils?

Aluminum Stencils are a much less commonly used stencil due to the higher price tag than HDPE and LDPE stencils. Below are the Pros and cons of using these stencils:

 

Pros:

  • Aluminum stencils are more scratch resistant that HDPE or LDPE Stencils
  • Aluminum stencils are not overly rigid, allowing them to lay more flush to uneven surfaces
  • Aluminum stencils can have rolled edges to further reduce overspray
  • Also, aluminum stencils can be used to apply thermoplastic spray to pavements due to their heat resistant properties
  • Furthermore, aluminum stencils are corrosion resistant so they won’t become overly brittle, or deformed if left outside.

Cons:

  • Aluminum stencils do not lay as flat as LDPE Stencils on uneven surfaces
  • Aluminum stencils are the most expensive
  • Aluminum stencils are the heaviest of the bunch

 

Which Stencil Is The Choice Of Professionals?

Believe it or not, LDPE stencils are the choice of most professionals because of their low cost, and ability to lay quite flat when they are 1/16” thick. That being said, the most versatile and durable stencil of the bunch is by far the aluminum stencil, with rolled edges, scratch resistance, the ability to lay flat, and being capable of use with thermoplastic spray. If you find yourself in need of a long lasting and versatile stencil, Aluminum stencils just might be the best bet for you and your crew. Order your own custom aluminum stencil or any other kind of stencil you need from Capitol Barricade.