Painting a parking lot is not the same as painting on a canvas. The semi-flexible surface of asphalt makes it impossible to use just any type of paint. You need a more durable version that can withstand high foot and car traffic, as well as different weather conditions. 

If you want to achieve the best results, you need to invest and use dedicated parking lot paint supplies. You should also know the proper method on how to paint a parking lot so lines and signs will last. 

What parking lot paint should you use?

There are several parking lot paints that you can get. They are formulated specifically for asphalt or concrete. Two of the most popular options are  water-based and  oil-based.

Water-based asphalt paints are the cheapest paint for parking lots. They are suitable for both indoors and outdoors. But most contractors use them for indoor parking stall painting. This is primarily because they don't give off toxic fumes during or after application. 

They dry fast as well. In approximately three hours, parking lot lines are dry to the touch. 

It’s easy to clean up after using latex paint – just use water to clean your machine or rollers.

Note: this type of paint won’t stick if the asphalt is not yet sealed. 

Solvent-based paints are the complete opposite. They consist of strong chemicals that create toxic fumes. The smell can last for several days. In some cases, it can be more, mainly when the area has limited ventilation or proper airflow. This is why contractors only use it for outdoor applications. But, the advantage of solvent-based over water-based is it is more durable. It will last longer, especially on high traffic parking areas. 

Other parking lot paints you can consider are thermoplastic paint and reflective paint. Thermoplastic paint is like solvent-based but, as its name suggests, contains plastic. This means it can withstand high foot and car traffic. Reflective paint, on the other, makes the lines reflective at night.

What equipment and other supply should I have?

Now that you have the right parking paint supply let's go to the equipment. 

You can paint parking lot lines by hand. All you need is a paint roller and a stencil. Some first-timers and do-it-yourself enthusiasts opt to draw a chalk line as a guide. 

Generally, there's nothing wrong with this method. But, if your client wants to reduce parking interruption, then it's not the best route. Plus, it can be physically demanding and exhausting! 

Professional parking line striping contractors use a parking lot striper. It can cut-back time and effort because it can produce straight lines all the time. You can also control the amount of paint it produces. It's not even complicated to operate. You will need to load the paint, adjust pressure, and paint as you walk! 

But how do you know which paint striper is best for you? You should determine your usage first. For small parking lot areas, you can opt for entry-level models. If you have a more demanding job, getting a professional-grade might be better. 

How about parking lot marks and symbols? Will you draw them by hand? Of course not! You can  get stencils. They are already pre-cut to the right size and design. Plus, it helps you produce cleaner results. You can also use them over and over again. If your striper comes with a detachable spray gun, you can use it to paint over the stencil. If not, you can use a parking lot paint and a foam roller.  A  spray paint will work too. 

How to paint parking lot

Before painting, you will need to prep the area first. 

You should remove debris with a wire brush. Don't forget to take out the weeds. The surface should be dry and free from oil or grease too. 

Depending on the surface's condition, you can apply a primer first. The purpose of the primer is to fill gaps, making the surface more even to paint on. But, don't let it puddle. Drying the primer can take approximately three hours to cure. 

Then, put the parking paint into the striping machine. You should adjust the size of the nozzle and pressure levels. After applying the paint, all you need to do is wait for it to dry. If you also need to do the lines and parking symbols, wait for the surface to dry first. 

So, painting parking lots shouldn't be stressful! With the right paint, equipment, and method, you can get the job done without breaking your back!