Step zero: remind yourself that patience is a virtue
Deciding whether to replace or repair your driveway can be a stressful decision, especially considering a new concrete driveway can cost as much as $7,400. While it's a steep investment, there is something to be said for having a smooth, attractive driveway that's free of debris, stains, cracks, and holes.
But maybe you don't have to start from scratch. Instead of a total redo, learn how to paint an old driveway to make it look as sleek as a new one would. The job's time-consuming, but not all that hard, so long as you don't mind waiting around for things to dry.
Difficulty: 3/5 Intermediate
Perfect for handy homeowners.
Time: 2 days or more (mostly due to dry time)
What You’ll Need:
Oil and grease removing agent
Concrete epoxy paint or coating
Prepping to Paint Your Driveway
For at least the next few days, you'll need to find somewhere to park your vehicle(s). If street parking isn't an option where you live, ask friends or family for a temporary spot. You'll be unable to park in your driveway during the duration of the project.
7 Steps to Painting Your Driveway
Ideally, you'll want to tackle this project in the late spring or during summer when warm, sunny days are abundant. The warm sun will speed up drying times and help the whole project move along faster. (In fact, warm weather is the best time to tackle most driveway renovation projects.)
1. Clean Your Driveway Thoroughly
Use a broom to remove rocks, pebbles, leaves, dirt, and any other debris you find on your driveway. Be diligent with this part of the project; it's the first step to make sure your driveway's paint job looks smooth and neat.
2. Pressure Wash
To really wash away the grime, use a pressure washer to get rid of bacteria, weeds, chalk marks, and other difficult driveway stains. Cleaning your driveway is about half the job of painting it, so be thorough. Let the surface dry before you continue.
There are pros and cons when deciding whether to rent or hire a pressure washer. In this case, it might be best to just rent or borrow one since you're just washing your driveway..
3. Use a Degreasing Agent (Optional)
Mix 1/4 cup trisodium phosphate cleaning agent (or another driveway-safe alternative) for every 1 gallon of water. You can find these products at outdoor stores for $10 to $20.
Using a brush, apply the degreaser to stains on your driveway then scrub the affected area. You may have to go over it more than once. Wear latex gloves to prevent getting the agent on your skin.
Degreasing agents won't do much good for spray paint removal. A squirt of soap and water or a spray paint removing agent are your best bets.
4. Fill In Any Holes or Cracks
By now, you've likely sussed out any major holes and cracks on your driveway. Now's a good time to fill them! You can buy an outdoor driveway caulking agent tube for around $10 at home improvement stores.
Each caulk product is different, so read the directions before you start. Some quick-dry formulas dry in as little as 30 minutes, while others may need a whole day to solidify. No matter what you use, wait for the caulk to dry completely before you begin painting.
5. Mix Your Driveway Paint or Epoxy
Most of the driveway paints you'll find at home improvement stores aren't actually paint at all—they're usually an epoxy paint, which is a latex acrylic product. Due to its strength, epoxy works especially well on floored surfaces. A gallon of epoxy costs around $35 on the low end, but could cost up to $100 for different colors or higher durability ratings.
Once more you'll want to carefully read labels and directions. Some epoxies come premixed, while others you'll need to mix with water. Take note of dry times and other pertinent details.
6. Paint the Edges First, Then Work Your Way In
Work around the perimeter of your driveway with a smaller, handheld brush. Add epoxy paint to all the edges first. Paint a 6-inch "barrier," so to speak, before working your way in towards the center. Once you've painted the perimeter, switch to the big roller and paint the rest of your driveway.
If plants surround the immediate edge of your driveway, you may want to cover them with plastic or create a tape barrier between where you're painting. Paint of any kind can kill plants if it seeps into the ground in large doses.
7. Add a Second Coat, If Needed
Most epoxy coatings for driveways take 24 to 48 hours to dry. After everything’s dry, assess your driveway. Does it look new and sleek, or could it benefit from another coat?
If needed, repeat step six. Painting an old driveway to make it look new definitely is time-intensive, but a lot of that is just waiting around for stuff to dry. Be patient and rejoice in the fact that your driveway's about to look brand spanking new again!
After you're done you might consider sealing your driveway. Ask a local driveway sealing professional for a quote or information about getting started with your project.