Balco: The world's leading manufacturer of Architechtural Products

Photoluminescent Egress Path Marking

Photoluminescent Egress Path Marking

Stairway with Balco photoluminescent railing, stair, and boundary strips installed.Improve Safety with Extra-Bright   IllumiTread™ Photoluminescent Emergency Egress Path Markings

Balco's IllumiTread™ photoluminescent glow-in-the-dark guidance strips,  and provide illuminated, safe, non-electric routing for emergency exits and stairways in the event of power failures or to supplement electric or emergency lighting.

Photoluminescent markers provide the most reliable and economical emergency pathway illumination, and Balco's brighter, longer-lasting exit products for emergency egress offer you truly superior luminescence. Balco emergency markers have earned UL Certification and meet or exceed UL Codes and other requirements for interior and exterior applications – including the 2009 International Building Code.

Balco IllumiTread markers are powered by high-performance Strontium Aluminate photoluminescent material that shines  longer and more intensely than standard phosphors. The material is encased in a matrix that enables our products to glow 30 times brighter than standard  photoluminescent products. This is not fragile glow-in-the-dark tape. Our superior photoluminescent material is embedded in rugged, weather-resistant aluminum-backed strips and signs that stand up to heavy use and direct UV light.

Representative samples of Balco IllumiTread products have been tested and found to comply with Underwriters Laboratory guidelines and requirements. Our Photoluminescent Exit Path Marking Strips (Model Numbers PL, PL 1/2) have met the requirements of the Standards for Safety Low Level Path Marking & Lighting Systems (UL-1994) and are identified with the ETL Listed Mark. Balco photoluminescent products provide highly visible emergency path illumination and signage that is non-electric, non-radioactive, non-toxic, durable, recyclable, long-lasting, maintenance-free, weather-resistant, and UV stable.

Balco's IllumiTread product line includes Exit Path Markers, Stair Nosings, directional signage and Hand Rail Markers . These photoluminescent products can be used in combination to provide a complete visible routing system for safer emergency exits that meet or exceed even the most demanding building, safety, and fire codes. They recharge from ambient light – whether daylight or fluorescent or incandescent interior lighting – and glow reliably for over 24 hours, showing the route to safe exit pathways.

Want to know more about Illumitread™ Photoluminescent Emergency Directional Signage?

Balco has produced a white paper exploring Photoluminescent Exit Signs, what to look for in photoluminescent emergency egress illumination (also commonly referred to as Emergency Exit Path Markings), and how to tell if your current evacuation plan could be improved by using photoluminescent materials. You will also find a checklist to help evaluate your needs for photoluminescent stair and floor markings and exit path signs in both current structures and future construction projects. In addition, you can link to an article describing the changes in New York City's emergency exit codes following the catastrophe at the World Trade Center.

For more general information, explore What Is Photoluminescent Marking?, Photoluminescent Technology: Reliable Emergency Lighting in Buildings, and Selecting Appropriate Egress Strategies.



  • What are the benefits of Balco Photoluminescent Signs and Markers? [Hide]
    • They offer a visible routing system for safe egress after the loss of electrical power;
    • Zero Energy to operate;
    • PVC Free;
    • Easily installed and low maintenance;
    • Weather-resistant and UV-stable for indoor & outdoor applications;
    • Perfect for new construction or retrofitting;
    • 100% fail-safe;

  • Do Balco IllumiTread™ products meet current codes? [Hide]
    Yes. IllumiTread™ photoluminescent exit path marking strips and signs meet IBC/IFC Section 403.16 & 1024, NFPA 101, and exceed New York City Building Code Reference Standards RS 6-1 and RS 6-1A. IllumiTread™ Exit Signs are UL 924 compliant and meet all building codes.
  • How long does it take to “charge” Balco photoluminescent exit path markings and signs? [Hide]
    IllumiTread™ photo-luminescent exit path marker strips will charge with as little as 1 foot candles of light for one hour to become fully operational. Thirty minutes of light at 10-11 foot candles is enough for IllumiTread™ to glow safely for 10-12 hours.
  • How long do IllumiTread photoluminescent signs and markers last? [Hide]
    Outside installations should last up to 25 years and inside installations should last even longer.
  • What lights are best to use for charging photoluminescent signs? [Hide]
    Fluorescent or halogen lighting is best for charging IllumiTread™ photoluminescent exit signs and exit path marker strips indoors, but any light source of sufficient luminance intensity will also work. Sun light is also a very good charging source.
  • Do Balco IllumiTread photoluminescent signs or strips require special maintenance? [Hide]
    No. Simple dusting annually or if necessary any standard non-alkaline cleaners work fine with IllumiTread™ products, whether signs or wall strips or stair tread nosings.
  • Where are IllumiTread photoluminescent signs and markers designed to be used? [Hide]
    All public assembly venues including concert halls, auditoriums, arenas, and stadiums. They are also designed to meet code requirements for multi-story buildings, parking garages, and all emergency means of egress requirements and emergency exit enclosures.
  • What about the cost of IllumiTread safety products? [Hide]
    IllumiTread photo-luminescent exit signs and emergency exit path marking systems are slightly higher in cost than non-safety products, but can generally be installed for pennies per square foot and provide energy free use for 24+ years.
  • What material makes IllumiTread™ glow? [Hide]
    We utilize the highest grade Strontium Aluminate pigment in IllumiTread™. It glows up to 30 times brighter than standard Zinc Sulfate photoluminescent materials and is warranted for 25 years.
  • Do IllumiTread photoluminescent safety products work outdoors? [Hide]
    Yes. It is rated for outdoor use and is UV stable. Tests show a minimal (<1%) degradation over the equivalent of 10 years of outdoor exposure and much less if installed indoors.
  • Does Balco offer installation services? [Hide]
    Yes, through our national network of Certified Installers. All installations are warranted for five years for product defects and installation failure.
  • How can I learn more about the features and benefits of IllumiTread™? [Hide]
    Contact us for information and the location of your nearest Balco representative. We work with architects, engineers, facility owners and managers, contractors and builders to specify and install IllumiTread safety products.