How to paint asphalt

Written by ryan hotchkiss
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How to paint asphalt
There are several reasons you might want to paint asphalt. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Painting asphalt, whether you are painting lines or an entire area, requires that you make a plan, use the correct paint and prepare the asphalt properly. The easiest asphalt to paint is freshly laid asphalt that has cured for a month. Painting old or cracked asphalt requires considerably more work. Regardless, the process remains the same: Prep the asphalt, paint it, then protect it while it dries.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Asphalt paint
  • Generator-powered paint sprayer, rollers or paint brushes
  • Broom
  • Pressure washer
  • Traffic cones or "Fresh Paint" signs

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  1. 1

    Purchase the appropriate asphalt paint for your project. Asphalt paints are either latex or acrylic water-based paints, solvent-based or oil-based. There are different varieties of each type. Some are designed for heavy traffic, while others are designed for playgrounds, basketball and tennis courts. Use a latex paint if you plan to clean the asphalt with water or alcohol, or an oil-based paint if you plan to clean with a solvent, like acetone. For playgrounds and athletic courts, use a lead-free asphalt paint. Consider if you will be using different types of paint in the same project. Some asphalt paints are compatible with others, while others are not.

  2. 2

    Pressure-wash the asphalt after you have swept it clean. This is particularly important for older asphalt with pits, divots and cracks. If you do not clean it, you are simply painting dust and dirt; the next time rain or snow soaks the asphalt, the paint will wash away. After you pressure-wash the asphalt, allow it to dry completely.

  3. 3

    Paint the asphalt with thick coats. The thicker the coat, the slower it fades. If you are using a generator-powered sprayer, move slowly as you apply the coat. If using a brush or a roller, apply the paint with 1/8-inch thickness.

  4. 4

    Protect the paint while it dries. Latex paint dries within a few hours, if under the sun. In the meantime, make people aware there is fresh paint. Once you apply asphalt paint, it is difficult to remove. If someone drives or walks over the fresh paint and leaves tracks, the tracks will be there for months or years.

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