Types Of Paint To Use On Asphalt

Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Honestly, having asphalt pavers can make your landscape look dull because of its monotonous color. Fortunately, you can add color to your asphalt pavement by painting it. But what types of paint can you use? Don't worry! We searched for answers and here's what we got for you.

Generally, there are four types of paint you can use in adding color to your asphalt pavement. These paints are:

  • acrylic
  • coal tar
  • oil-based
  • water-based latex

Continue reading to learn more about these types, their pros and cons, how to maintain your asphalt paint, and much more.

Painting new yellow marking lines on the asphalt floor crossing. How To Clean Asphalt Surface Before Painting

What Are The Types Of Asphalt Paint?

Paint has a hard time adhering to asphalt due to its nature. There are specialized paints that work better on asphalt, based on what you want to paint for. You will not waste time if you know what sorts of paint to use.

You can see in the table the types of paints you can use on asphalt and their comparisons:

Paint Type Composition Advantages Disadvantages Application Method
Acrylic Paint Can be dissolved in water;
Polymer-based paint
Keeps the lines from rising off the asphalt;
Safe to use on asphalt and its surroundings since it is water-soluble;
Available in a variety of colors.
On the more expensive side compared to other types. Brush,
Paint roller,
Spraying Equipment
Coal Tar Paint Coal tar is combined with a variety of different polymers. Stronger and more long-lasting than other paints;
Can withstand a high-traffic environment;
Can handle the sun's continuous UV beams;
Sealer that is widely used to cover huge surfaces with paint.
Only comes in black color so other color options are not available. Squeegee,
Spraying Equipment
Oil-Based Paint Has the same physical properties as acrylic paint, with the exception that it is not soluble in water. Will last a long time in high-traffic locations;
Comes in a variety of colors to choose from.
Dries slowly;
Inflexible- will ultimately crack, break apart, and need to be replaced.
Paint Roller,
Striping Machine
Water-Based Latex Paint Especially formulated if used on asphalt;
Best applied after the asphalt has been coated with coal tar.
Has many colors to choose from;
Fastest to dry (3 hours);
Least expensive among other types.
Least durable;
Can't withstand heavy-traffic environment.
Paint Roller,
Striping Machine

Is Cleaning Necessary Before Painting An Asphalt Surface?

At this point, you may ask, is it necessary to clean the asphalt paver surface? The answer is yes.

You need to clean the surface properly because asphalt is a by-product of oil and leaves a lot of residues. Not cleaning it first can result in black patches and can distort the paint's hue. In addition, paints can adhere more and can be painted smoothly.

How To Clean Asphalt Surface Before Painting?

So now, how do you clean an asphalt paver surface? Here are some steps you can follow to thoroughly clean your asphalt:

First, you have to wear the proper personal protective equipment needed for the job. This includes gloves, safety goggles, rain boots, and overalls. Remember, you have to deal with chemicals in cleaning asphalt surfaces so it is best to be protected from being in contact with them.

Work safety. Construction site protective equipment on wooden background

Next, mix trisodium phosphate (TSP) and water to make a solution. Since TSP is quite effective in cleaning and stain removal, it is highly recommended. However, when dealing with a highly powerful chemical like TSP, you need to be extra careful and read the directions in the product's packaging.

Click here for TSP on Amazon.

Then, slowly pour your TSP and water solution onto the asphalt surface. Clean the asphalt with a hard-bristled brush. Spend extra effort cleaning or staining any portions of the asphalt that are very unclean or soiled.

Brush sweepers. Yellow-green bristles on the hard brush. Cleaning equipment

After that, rinse the solution from the surface with a hose and drain. TSP can damage the paint if not removed properly from the surface. It is important to note that you should not use a pressure washer since it will only lodge the TSP to the asphalt.

As you have already rinsed the solution using a hose, it is now time to power wash the surface using a pressure washer. And lastly, let your asphalt dry.

What Happens If You Paint Asphalt Without Cleaning The Surface?

As mentioned it is important to clean the asphalt surface. Painting your asphalt pavement without cleaning it is useless. The dirt and oil stains from the asphalt can affect the color of your paint as well as the smoothness of your application.

In addition, the paint will not last long since it didn't penetrate the asphalt surface because of the dirt. Also, cracks and holes will not be fixed which might affect your asphalt paint later on.

sign on the asphalt, yellow painted number twenty one on grey street, yellow lines like a corner on the road

What Factors To Consider Before Choosing The Type Of Paint To Use?

Before choosing what paint type to use, you must examine these factors first:

  1. Paint Durability
  2. Paint Reflectivity
  3. Project Cost
  4. Choice of Equipment

Full frame shot of zebra crossing sign or crosswalk on black asphalt road

Why Is Reflectivity Relevant In Asphalt Markings?

Reflectivity is critical for road markings that affect safety in unfavorable or low-light weather conditions. Reflective pavement paint reflects light from car headlights, alerting drivers and increasing the visibility of road markers. Signage and traffic paint should also meet required reflectivity requirements.

Be attentive to your project's reflectivity needs before selecting your pavement marking material. This will guide you in selecting the proper paint product to meet those requirements.

How Do Environmental Factors Affect Your Painting Project?

It can't be denied that environmental factors affect painting projects, especially those that are done outdoors. Factors such as temperature, humidity, airflow, and sunlight can affect the timeline of your painting project.


Temperature is crucial in your painting project since it can make or break your painting material. If the temperature is too high, your paint is prone to delamination. While if the temperature is too low, paint takes a longer time to dry.


Sunlight is also a factor since it provides heat to the asphalt surface. The role of sunlight is essential since it supplies heat to the asphalt surface, making it faster dry faster. So if there is no sunlight, paint can still dry but at a slower rate.


Another factor to look into is air humidity. The higher the humidity, the longer the paint dries. This is because moisture in the environment is high making it impossible for the paint moisture to dissipate to the air.

Remember, if the humidity is at 90%, paint should not be applied since the air is so saturated.


The drying time of paint can also be affected by the airflow since it can influence the humidity. If the airflow is present, saturated air is driven away making room for dry air to occupy the area. So if humidity is low, air can absorb more moisture making your paint dry faster.

Paints the kerb with white paint. Brush with paint for the road curb

When Is The Best Time To Paint On Asphalt?

Considering the above-mentioned environmental factors, summer is the best time to paint your asphalt pavement. Many regions have high ambient temperatures and little relative humidity.

Keep in mind that water-based paints should be applied when the temperature is at least 40°F. This type of paint is prone to freezing so when they freeze, their qualities are altered, and the product is irreversibly damaged.

How Long Does It Take For Paint To Dry?

Usually, water-based paints take 1-3 hours to dry to the touch. Then wait for another four hours to start reapplying paint. Oil-based paints, on the other hand, takes 6-8 hours to dry to the touch. Reapplications are done after 24 hours. Acrylic paints take 4-6 hours to dry in general.

Although, paint drying time still depends on certain conditions when applied.

How Much Curing Time Is Needed Before Painting On Asphalt?

For new asphalt pavements that are laid in the summer when the weather is hot, you need to wait around 30 days for it to cure. On the other hand, if it is placed during the mild weather season, allow for additional time.

You can check this article on the page to know the curing time of asphalt: "How Long Does Asphalt Take To Cure or Dry?"

Application Of Road Markings For Pedestrians With Bright Yellow And White Paints. How To Clean Asphalt Surface Before Painting

In Closing

Choosing what type of paint to use depends on a variety of factors. To make your asphalt paver painting project successful, it is also important to read and follow manufacturer standards of the product you will use.

Check out these articles to learn more about painting on asphalt:

Can Asphalt Be Painted? [And How To]

Does Asphalt Come In Different Colors?