The longevity of paint on a driveway depends on how well the paint was applied, the quality and type of paint, and how well you maintain the driveway. Some paints last just a couple of years before you need to repaint while others can last up to 10 years.
In this post, we discuss how long driveway paint lasts, what affects its longevity and what you can do to make it last longer.
What You'll Learn Today
- How Long Does A Painted Driveway Last?
- How Long Does Epoxy Coating On A Driveway Last?
- How Long Does Concrete Stain On A Driveway Last?
- Factors Affecting Lifespan of Driveway Paint? — Plus Tips On Increasing Longevity
- Final Thoughts
How Long Does A Painted Driveway Last?
Driveway paint can last anywhere from a couple of years to 10 years or more depending mostly on the kind of paint used.
If you use latex paint, it probably won’t last more than two years — probably less. Latex paint doesn’t handle harsh weather conditions well. That’s why it’s mostly used indoors.
If you paint it on the driveway, the combination of weather and traffic will quickly wear it out.
Pure Acrylic Paints
Acrylic paints are more ideal for exterior surfaces. Because they are chemical-based (not water-based like latex paints), they are more elastic and expand and contract more easily without cracking or peeling.
A high quality pure acrylic paint can last 5-10 years on a driveway depending on the weather and amount of traffic.
Acrylic Latex Paints
Pure acrylic paints are expensive. So many homeowners opt for acrylic latex paints. These are cheaper than pure acrylic paints and last longer (3-5 years) than latex paints.
Usually, latex paints labeled as being suitable for exterior use will be acrylic latex paints.
Epoxy paint is the best type of paint for a concrete driveway.
Epoxy paint is an acrylic latex paint that’s mixed with some epoxy. The addition of epoxy creates a tough and durable coating on the driveway that can withstand lots of traffic and harsh weather.
A properly applied exterior epoxy paint can last up to 10 years.
How Long Does Epoxy Coating On A Driveway Last?
Instead of painting your driveway, you could apply an epoxy coating on it. Epoxy coatings are sometimes referred to as paints, but they are not.
When shopping for an epoxy coating, be careful not to buy an epoxy paint which is a completely different thing.
An epoxy coating consists of an epoxy resin and a hardener. You mix the two together just before applying the mixture onto the concrete driveway.
Unlike paint that forms a thin film on the driveway, epoxy forms a hard and very durable coating on the concrete.
An epoxy coated driveway can withstand harsh weather, human and vehicle traffic, chemicals and oils from cars and machinery, and heat from vehicle tires.
When properly applied and maintained, an epoxy coating on the driveway can last up to 10 years.
How Long Does Concrete Stain On A Driveway Last?
You may have already come across the paint vs. stain debate. Some homeowners say painting a driveway looks better while others say staining lasts longer.
The best choice depends on what you want. If you want your driveway to be a particular color, maybe one that matches or complements your exterior home color, then painting is the best choice.
Paints come in a wider variety of colors compared to concrete acid stains.
But if longevity is your main goal, then staining is the way to go.
Painting creates a film on the surface of the concrete. In contrast, an acid or mineral stain penetrates into the porous interior of the concrete, reacts with the concrete and permanently changes its color.
When properly applied, a concrete stain can last the lifetime of the concrete driveway. It lasts longer than paints or epoxy coatings.
Note: Don’t buy a water-based concrete stain. It forms a film on the driveway, much like paint and thus doesn’t last as long as an acid or mineral stain.
If you are thinking about staining your driveway, here’s a helpful video on how to stain concrete.
Factors Affecting Lifespan of Driveway Paint? — Plus Tips On Increasing Longevity
We’ve discussed how the type of paint, coating or stain affects longevity. If you want a long lasting solution, your best options are acrylic paint, epoxy paint, epoxy coating or an acid/mineral stain.
Beyond that, there are many other factors that determine the lifespan of your driveway coating or paint.
If you live in a place that gets harsh winters and extreme summers, your driveway paint won’t last as long compared to a place with milder weather.
The extreme heat and cold will wear out any coating with the exception of acid stains.
There are a few things you can do to increase the lifespan of your driveway paint or coating if you live in a harsh climate.
- Use a pure acrylic paint, an epoxy paint or an epoxy coating. These will weather the harsh climate better than latex and latex acrylic paints.
- You can also opt to just stain the concrete. Acid stain doesn’t fade, chip or peel even in harsh climates.
- Consider sealing the concrete before painting or applying an epoxy coating. It will withstand the bad weather more effectively.
- If you decide to paint your driveway, consider adding a clear coat on top for additional protection. It’ll protect the paint as well as the driveway. Some coatings are specifically formulated to resist UV damage.
- Refresh the paint or coat every few years to keep it looking good. If the current coat of paint still looks good, you can apply another coat over it without removing the first coat. For epoxy, you’ll need to grind or etch the first coat before applying a new one.
The other big factor that determines how long driveway paint lasts is how well it is applied.
In fact, one of the most common reasons driveway paint or coating starts wearing out too soon is poor application.
Here are some application tips to ensure the paint or coating lasts a long time.
- Surface prep is the most important step. Before you paint or coat the driveway, thoroughly clean it. Sweep or blow away the leaves and debris then follow up with a pressure washer. Let it dry for a couple of days.
- You also need to make sure the paint or coating adheres to the driveway. For paints, you need to apply an etch primer onto the concrete. For epoxy, you’ll need to acid wash the driveway or grind it with diamond tooling. Then apply an epoxy primer before applying the epoxy itself.
- Do not paint a damaged driveway. As part of the prep, look for any cracks and seal them before you proceed. If there’s extensive damage like wide cracks or potholes, consider resurfacing the driveway.
- Apply concrete stain when the concrete temperature is between 59 and 70 degrees. If it’s too hot, it’ll not penetrate fully into the concrete. If it’s too cold, it’ll slow down drying time.
The third and final factor affecting paint or coating longevity on a driveway is how well you maintain it.
Here are some maintenance tips.
- Clean the driveway regularly. But avoid using any harsh cleaners or a highly abrasive brush. You can power wash the driveway but use a wide nozzle and keep the nozzle at least 20cm away from the surface of the driveway.
- Don’t park any heavy machinery like a tractor on the driveway. Even if the driveway can handle the weight, the paint or epoxy coating may not.
- Clean oil, grease, chemicals, tire marks and other messes immediately they occur to keep them from settling into the concrete and becoming harder to clean.
- Be careful with anything sharp or pointed that applies pressure onto the driveway like the stand of a motorcycle. It could chip the paint.
- Also avoid dragging heavy stuff across the driveway.
- As I mentioned earlier, apply a fresh coat of paint or epoxy every 2-3 years to keep the driveway looking great.
You might be tempted to buy a cheap outdoor paint for your driveway. But it’s usually not worth it.
Not only will the paint look unsightly after a short time, you’ll have to repaint the driveway more frequently.
Acrylic paint, epoxy paint or an epoxy coating are more expensive, but their incredible longevity makes them worth the cost.
Just make sure you apply the paint or coating properly to avoid throwing your money down the drain. If you are not sure you can do it yourself, hire a company to do it. Here’s a good guide on how to paint a gravel driveway.