Block paving is a popular material used for driveways, patios, paths and other outdoor surfaces. Over time, block paving can fade, discolor or just look dated. This leads many homeowners to wonder – can you paint block paving to change the color or restore the appearance?
The answer is yes, it is possible to paint block paving. With proper preparation and using exterior masonry paints designed for paving, block paving can be painted to achieve a fresh new look.
Benefits of Painting Block Paving
There are several benefits to painting block paving versus more extensive options like replacing the blocks:
- Lower cost – Painting provides a budget-friendly makeover compared to new block paving, which can cost anywhere from $10-50 per square foot installed. Paint and supplies may cost a few hundred dollars.
- Quick transformation – Freshly painted block paving can revive the look of your home’s exterior in just a weekend. Replacing pavers takes much longer.
- Color change – Paint allows you to change the block paving to a completely different color easily. Want to go from tan to green? No problem with paint.
- Hide flaws – Paint can conceal flaws like staining, cracks or uneven fading in aging block paving.
- Preserve surface – If the underlying block paving is still structurally sound, paint preserves the surface instead of replacing unnecessarily.
Painting is an affordable way to refresh the curb appeal of your home’s exterior hardscapes. Driveways, walkways and patios can get a makeover without the cost or hassle of replacing the blocks.
Should You Paint Your Block Paving?
Paint can revive old, faded paving, but there are some downsides to consider before deciding to paint block paving:
Durability issues – Exterior paints do not hold up to weathering and wear as well as the original paving color. You may need to recoat painted paving every 1-5 years.
May peel or chip – Paint on pavers may chip more readily than unpainted blocks, especially under vehicles. Proper prep reduces this.
Slip hazard – Painted concrete or brick pavers can be slippery when wet, especially with glossy paints. Use textured masonry paints.
Dark colors show flaws – Painting block paving a dark color makes any underlying cracks, chips or uneven blocks stand out. Stick to medium/light colors.
Resale value unknown – Painted paving may or may not appeal to future home buyers if you plan to sell.
Labor intensive – Prepping and painting block paving is a time consuming, labor intensive process. Hiring a pro is recommended for best results.
If your block paving is severely damaged, replacing the blocks may be better than painting. But for intact paving that just looks old, painting offers an inexpensive refresh.
What Type of Paint to Use on Block Paving
Choosing the right type of paint is critical to achieve long-lasting results:
- Exterior masonry paint – Specialty paints designed for driveways, patios and walkways provide maximum adhesion and durability on paving.
- Porch and floor paint – These paints stand up well to foot traffic and exterior conditions.
- Concrete & garage floor paint – Formulated for painting concrete surfaces like garages, basements and steps.
- Chalk paint – Provides good adhesion on masonry surfaces, but requires a top sealer coat.
- Latex or acrylic paint – Must be formulated for outdoor use. Do not use indoor paint.
- Epoxy paint – Two-part paint creates an extremely durable finish but is more complex to apply.
Look for exterior masonry paints specifically made for driveways, patios and walkways. Quality all-acrylic latex paint is best. Avoid cheaper oil-based paints which may peel.
Prep Work for Painting Block Paving
Proper prep work before painting block paving is crucial for good adhesion and long-lasting results:
- Clean thoroughly – Use a pressure washer on an enclosed patio or scrub by hand outdoors to remove dirt, grime, oil and loose debris.
- Repair cracks – Seal any cracks or damaged spots with an exterior patch compound.
- Remove stains – Degreasers, bleach or oxy cleaners can help lift oil, rust and other stubborn stains.
- Scrape off flaking areas – Wire brushing or scraping removes any loose or peeling paint spots.
- Smooth rough areas – Sand down any bumps or uneven spots for a flat surface.
- Let dry fully – Ensure paving is completely dry before priming or painting.
Proper prep removes contaminants for the best paint adhesion. Taking time to correctly prep your block paving will lead to better looking, longer lasting painted paving.
How to Paint Block Paving
Follow these steps for painting block paving successfully:
1. Clean the Surface
Pressure wash or thoroughly scrub the blocks to clean. Use degreaser to remove any oil spots. Let the paving dry completely before painting.
2. Repair Any Damage
Seal cracks and patch divots or spalled areas using concrete patch compound. Scrape off any loose or flaking regions.
3. Apply Primer
Priming provides maximum paint adhesion. Use an exterior masonry primer ideal for paving surfaces. Apply with a roller or sprayer.
4. Paint the Base Coat
Apply the base coat of your chosen exterior paint using a brush, roller or sprayer. Work in sections and maintain wet edges.
5. Let Dry
Allow the first coat to dry completely according to the manufacturer directions before applying a second coat.
6. Apply Top Coat
Paint the second and final top coat of paint. Use a roller with an extended handle for easiest application.
7. Seal with Clear Coat (optional)
For added protection, apply a clear acrylic sealing coat after painting. This creates a durable finish.
Check the forecast – avoid painting right before rain. Take your time painting in thin, even coats allowing proper drying between coats for professional looking results.
Painting Block Paving Different Colors
One advantage of painting block paving is the ability to easily change the color. If you want to transform the shade of your existing block paving, there are a few tips:
- For a dramatic change, first apply a primer tinted to the desired color before painting the base color.
- Lighter paint colors hide imperfections better than dark colors which show flaws.
- Neutral earth tones like beige, gray and taupe give a modern, clean look.
- Cool tones like green, blue and purple add bold color for the adventurous.
- Warm tones of red, orange and yellow create a fiery, energetic vibe.
- Soft pastels can evoke a calm, soothing ambiance.
- Stick to medium or light shades – dark colors show more defects in the paving surface.
Have fun with color to give your block paving an exciting new look!
How Long Does Painted Block Paving Last?
On average, you can expect painted block paving to last 1-5 years before requiring a recoat, assuming proper preparation and application using quality paints. Longevity depends on several factors:
- Amount of traffic – Heavy foot traffic or vehicles will wear the paint faster than lightly used surfaces.
- Weather exposure – The sun, rain, wind and freeze/thaw cycles deteriorate exterior paints quicker.
- Original surface – Paint adheres and lasts longer on concrete pavers than old, porous asphalt.
- Quality paint – Topcoat exterior paints last longer than cheap paints. Using a sealer coat improves longevity.
- Surface prep – Properly cleaned and primed paving means better paint adhesion and endurance.
To maximize durability of painted paving, use premium acrylic paint, properly prep the surface, apply multiple coats and utilize a clear sealing top coat. Avoid glossy paints which show wear more.
Cost to Paint Block Paving
If hiring a contractor, you can expect to pay $2-$6 per square foot for painting block paving. This factors in labor, prep work, materials, paint and any repairs needed. For a 10 x 20 foot driveway (200 sqft), cost would be around $400-$1,200 depending on factors like:
- Area to be painted – Bigger jobs have economy of scale and tend to cost less per sqft.
- Repairs needed – Patching cracks, holes or spalled concrete adds to cost.
- Surface – Porous asphalt is harder to paint than concrete pavers, requiring more coats.
- Accessibility – Enclosed patios cost less than outdoor areas needing containment barriers.
- Preparation – Pressure washing, degreasing and extensive cleaning.
Painting vs. Staining Block Paving
Beyond painting, another option to change the color of block paving is staining:
- Sits on top of the surface
- Wider range of colors
- Masks imperfections
- 1-5 years durability
- Requires primer
- Penetrates into the paver surface
- Limited color options
- Shows imperfections
- 5-7 years durability
- Usually no primer needed
Painting fully covers the paver and hides any flaws, while staining allows some of the original surface to show through. Stain may last slightly longer before needing to reapply.
Hiring a Professional vs. DIY Painting
You can either hire a paving contractor to paint your block paving, or take on the project as a DIY homeowner. Here’s the tradeoffs:
- Experienced with prep and application
- Proper equipment for best results
- Labor to complete quickly
- $2-$6 per square foot cost
- Lower cost of materials only
- More time consuming
- Results depend on skill level
- May need equipment rental
Professionals can complete painting efficiently in 1-3 days with top quality results. DIY painting can take a week or more but costs less.
How to Clean Painted Block Paving
Over time, painted paving will accumulate dirt and grime just like unpainted blocks. To clean:
- Use a stiff broom or brush with mild soap and water to scrub lightly. Avoid acid-based cleaners.
- For tougher stains, try a pressure washer on the lowest setting from a distance. Be careful not to damage the paint.
- Degreasers can help remove oil and grease spills on painted paving.
- Recoat faded painted paving rather than power washing, which may strip the paint away.
Proper maintenance will keep your painted paving looking like new longer. Avoid harsh chemicals and use mild cleaners designed for painted outdoor surfaces.
Tips for Painting Block Paving
Follow these tips for best results painting your block paving:
- Thoroughly clean the surface using a pressure washer or degreaser before starting.
- Only paint when temperatures will stay above 50°F for 24 hours to ensure proper drying.
- Apply exterior masonry primer before painting for maximum adhesion.
- Use quality exterior acrylic latex paint designed specifically for paving.
- Apply two to three thin topcoats rather than one thick coat.
- Plan your painting strategy to work in sections and maintain wet edges.
- Allow proper drying time between coats as specified on the paint label.
- Consider adding a non-slip additive if painting a high traffic surface.
Proper prep work, high quality paint and attention to detail will lead to great looking painted block paving that lasts.
FAQs About Painting Block Paving
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about painting block paving:
How long does it take for painted block paving to fully cure?
Most paving paints cure within 24-48 hours under ideal conditions. Allow 3-5 days before driving on a painted driveway, parking cars on it, or exposing it to heavy use.
What kind of paint roller should be used?
Use a 1/2 to 3/4 inch nap roller for smooth paving or up to 1 1/2 inch nap for very rough textured pavers. Extended handles make painting easier.
Can you use interior paint on block paving?
No, only use high quality exterior masonry paints designed specifically for driveways, patios and walkways.
Does painted block paving become slippery when wet?
It can, so use textured masonry paints or add slip-resistant additive to paint. Avoid glossy paints.
Can painted block paving be power washed?
Yes, but use caution. Keep the pressure washer wand at least 12 inches away. Rinse at a low 15 degree angle.
Painting block paving opens up exciting possibilities to change the color and refresh the look of your driveway, patio or walkways. With the right painting techniques and high quality exterior paint, block paving can get a makeover for a fraction of the cost of replacing them. Just be sure to properly prepare the surface and use specialty paints to ensure your painted block paving maintains its freshly updated look for years before needing a touch up.