As a decorator, I’m often asked whether you can paint tarmac. The answer is yes, with the proper prep and correct tools, painting a tarmac driveway is straightforward and can look absolutely stunning!!
You don’t need to paint tarmac of course. It would still do its job for decades untreated, however the colour does start to fade due to the UV light from the sun. By painting it, you can get that strong dramatic black or red colour back. Not only that, but you’re covering it in something which makes keeping it clean a lot easier to do.
I’ll take you through the process I go through when painting a driveway. You can get a professional decorator in to do the work, or even have a crack at it yourself.
Preparing your Driveway to Paint
Whatever paint you’re planning to use will need to be robust. Adhesion between paint and tarmac is paramount. With this in mind, it is vital you remove as much dirt from your driveway as possible before starting.
Pressure washing the day before is a great idea, as it gives the tarmac a deep clean which then allows your paint to bond to the tarmac, rather than dirt. The next thing is to use a leaf blower to remove any loose debris. If you haven’t got a leaf blower then a strong vacuum cleaner will do just fine.
Your paint needs to dry as well, so cold days, or days with a chance of rain are out of the window. The other thing is wind. If there’s any sort of breeze, dirt or leaves will blow onto your paint before it’s dry.
The Best Tarmac Paint
I opt to use Paintmaster Professional Drivemaster in water-based. It is available online in red or black. You’ll find it easy to use and very hard-wearing. Two thin coats is all you’ll need. Drying time is approximately 3 hours, but I’d leave it overnight before driving on it. This product is very easy to use.
How to Paint a Tarmac Driveway
You can apply Drivemaster via brush and roller, or airless sprayer. If using brush and roller, simply cut in around the edge of your drive with a brush and lay off using a mini roller to avoid picture-framing. Once you’ve cut in around the edge, use a larger roller to paint the middle, working the paint into every gap and hole, then spreading it out to avoid pooling. You can dilute the paint quite heavily to help speed things up and improve the finish.
Best Tools to Use When Painting a Tarmac Driveway
Painting a tarmac driveway is easy enough to do, but it will help if you have the correct tools for the job. Any good quality stiff emulsion brush is ideal. I use Purdy Monarch Elite XL, but you could use Arroworthy, Oldfields, Pioneer, anything really. It just needs to hold enough paint and keep its shape. Click here for latest prices on Purdy XL.
As for the roller, you need to keep a wet edge when painting a driveway, so a large roller is preferable. It also needs to be long pile, so it gets paint in all the gaps. Purdy Colossus is easily the best for this type of work. Available online here.
I told you painting a driveway was straightforward. The colour difference is amazing too. It ends up looking like a brand-new driveway. Once painted, it tends to stay cleaner. Rainwater just runs off. The only real downside is a painted driveway is slightly more slippery, but unless you live on a hill, you won’t really notice it.
Is it worth painting tarmac?
Painting tarmac is brilliant. You don’t realise how much the colour has faded on old tarmac until you start applying the first coat of paint. Then once painted, water runs off more easily and its less hassle to keep clean.
The only downside is the tarmac offers less grip and you will need to repaint it every couple of years.
How long does it take to paint a tarmac driveway?
Painting a tarmac driveway doesn’t take long at all providing you use the right tools to apply the paint. A 12-inch-long pile paint roller and a good quality stiff paintbrush is all you need.
How long does tarmac paint last?
Tarmac paint lasts between 2 and 5 years. Just make sure you get your prep right before you start, otherwise it will fail sooner. Painting a tarmac driveway is quick and easy, but if you decide to go ahead, bear in mind it’s a job you will need to keep on top of as part of your property maintenance.
Painting a Tarmac Driveway – by Mike Cupit