Can Asphalt Be Painted? [And How To]

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Unless you prefer a monochromatic setting where other colors don’t exist, asphalt is pretty dull and boring. If you’re fed up with the same black and grey pavement or roofing, it might be time to revamp. But can asphalt be painted? We’ve made intensive research and here's what we've found. 

Asphalt can be painted but it's vital to utilize the right type of paint. That is due to the fact that asphalt is oil-based, which means that it’s unsuitable for adhesion. Conventional paint will simply chip and fall off. 

So what type of paint actually works for asphalt? We’ve discussed those as well as the DIY ways to transform your driveway, roof shingles, and even sidings, in greater detail in the sections ahead, so stick around!

Freshly resurfaced and repainted handicap parking space in a parking lot, Can Asphalt Be Painted? [And How To]

What Type Of Paint Do You Use For Asphalt?

Some of the best options for asphalt paints are:

Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint remains the number one choice of asphalt professionals. It’s polymer-based that contains superior adhesion properties, allowing it to stick easily to the asphalt. Acrylic paint is also really flexible, despite extreme weather conditions, pressure, and traffic, it remains intact.

Oil-based Paint

This also bonds extremely well to asphalt as it is formulated specifically for asphalt and concrete. But it’s not as flexible as acrylic paint. Within a short period, it can peel off. 

Water-based Latex Paint

This is also one of the go-to's for asphalt- it moves with ease and it dries in as fast as three hours, cutting down the waiting you can use your driveway. The downside is, the surface must be sealed first before you can apply it.

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Benefits Of Painting Asphalt

Painting asphalt goes beyond decorative purposes. Some of the great reasons it's becoming popular:

  • Prevention of water intrusion. Paint fills the holes on the surface, blocking water from seeping underneath the asphalt. 
  • Delayed oxidation. Paint deters the oxidation process by adding another layer of protection against sunlight and other harmful factors. 
  • Protection against oil and gasoline spills. Asphalt is oil-based, when oil and gasoline spill on it, the binders break away from each other, leading to corrosion. Paint acts as a barrier here.
  • Skid resistance. As asphalt ages, its sandy particles wear out. Sealant and paint with sand slag replenish these retaining its traction. 
  • Increased life expectancy. Painting and sealing are part of the maintenance process that extends its life span by years. 
  • Savings. By painting or sealing, you can avoid costly repair, allowing you to save a few bucks. 

How To Paint An Asphalt Driveway? 

Follow the step-by-step instructions below to alter the look of your asphalt driveway.

Clean The Asphalt

  • Wear protective equipment such as gloves, loose overalls, and boots, to prevent chemicals from sticking onto your skin, and clothes.
  • Prepare the solution. You can either use trisodium phosphate or a cleaning agent to remove dirt built on the surface. 
  • Scrub the stubborn grease and mold, then use a hose or pressure hose to wash them away. 
  • Allow the driveway to dry. 

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Apply The Sealant Or Paint

For driveway paint, we suggest colored sealant because it moves with ease along the surface. But you can also use oil-based paint, but you need to apply a primer prior to that. 

  • Coat the asphalt. Let the first coating dry first. Give at least three to four hour intervals. 
  • Spread the seal with a roller if it puddles in one section. 
  • Finally, allow the driveway to dry up before using it. 

How To Maintain An Asphalt Driveway?

Beautiful Home

See the relatively simple tips, below, to maintain your driveway: 

  • Inspect periodically: this allows you to discover minor damage that can potentially get worse. 
  • Fill the cracks immediately: don’t ignore a hairline crack or fracture, repair it with caulking sealant or crack filler before a serious problem stems from it.
  • Eliminate standing water: it causes the paint to blister and chip off. If the water is blocked try installing drainage
  • Remove gasoline and oil spills: as we’ve mentioned, petroleum-bases can damage the asphalt binder. Spills are inevitable, but try cleaning them right away before they dissolve the paint. 

How To Paint Asphalt Roof Shingles? 

This process can be risky, so take precautions. It might also interest you to know that this might require annual maintenance because direct sunlight makes roof shingles susceptible to corrosion. 

Without further ado, here are the instructions for painting roof shingles: 

Repair And Clean The Roof

  • Repair defects first as the paint won’t adhere to broken shingles. 
  • Clean up the roof to get rid of mold and mildew. Use a pressure washer to blast them away as they can cause bumps.
  • Allow the roof to dry, then apply a primer. 

Paint The Roof

  • Once the primer dries, paint the roof with a roller. A 1-inch thick roller is recommended to cover the shingles adequately. 
  • Paint from bottom up, so you can manage drips without a problem.
  • Avoid painting too thick. Thick paints bond the shingles together. You won’t be able to repair your roof without removing the entire paint lyaer first. 
  • Coat the roof shingles twice. Allow three to four hour intervals in between coatings. 

How To Maintain Asphalt Roof Shingles? 

Bitumen tile roof. Roof Shingles - Roofing. Close up view on Asphalt Roofing Shingles

Make your roof shingles last longer by making it a habit to:  

Check the roof condition: this must be performed every 12 to 18 months or after a heavy storm, so you can do immediate repair if necessary. 

Touch-up: if there’s a noticeable blotched or faded area, remove the paint and repaint it to prevent early deterioration. 

Don’t put off repairs: this is a common mistake of homeowners that can lead to serious damage, which costs a lot. Remember, prevention is better than cure! 

How To Paint Asphalt Siding?

One integral part of this project is the elastomeric/rubberized paint. If applied incorrectly, it seals the asphalt siding inside-out. This can lead to moisture accumulation, inviting mold, and even causing the underlying wood to rot. If you aren’t confident enough to do it, it’s best to leave it to professionals.

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Should you choose to DIY, please follow these directions but proceed with caution:

  1. Pressure wash the siding, then allow it to dry. 
  2. Pour the latex primer into a 5-gallon bucket. Attach the roller naps to the frame. 
  3. Apply the primer vertically, then left to right. 
  4. Use a small paintbrush if some areas are hard to reach. Let the primer sit and dry.
  5. Apply the acrylic latex paint in the same manner that you apply the primer, then repeat step four. 

Asphalt Siding Maintenance

Asphalt siding also needs periodic cleaning and inspection. Fill and repair cracks, because leaving an opening on the siding can weaken the binder and asphalt foundation, shortening its lifespan. 

How Long Does Asphalt Paint Last?

Asphalt paint lasts up to three years, but it depends on the factors that influence it such as climate, pressure, and volume traffic. Old asphalt may need to be repainted every year.


Painting or sealing asphalt is not only attainable but recommended as it improves curb appeal and prolongs its lifespan. Remember, use the right type of paint only. As mentioned, asphalt is oil-based, so conventional paints won’t adhere, they will simply chip and fall off. 

Looking for more great information? Check out: "Can You Fix Asphalt Frost Heave [and How]."