There are many reasons for painting on asphalt, and considering your end goal is important to successfully getting the job done. Understanding how to select your paint and the implications of your project will ensure that you achieve the results you want without unnecessary blemishes or ecological impact.
There isn't a one-size-fits-all paint that is appropriate for every asphalt paint job. A paint that performs well in heavy automobile traffic won't be appropriate for decorating a children's playground, and vice versa. You need to determine what you want out of your paint job, and understand the limitations of various asphalt paints, before going out and starting the project.
One thing most asphalt paints will share in common is that they are typically latex-based. According to Evergreen, a Canadian non-profit focusing on urban living projects, latex, waterproof paints decrease the risk of runoff and are also less toxic. This is good for the environment in standard roadway and parking lot applications and for playground use. Your local paint store should have access to a variety of paints that are acceptable for your particular use.
Paints will differ in areas of durability, color-fastness and mode of application. A good playground paint will typically be less durable than a roadway paint simply because it isn't necessary for good function. In fact, it is sometimes a good idea for a less durable paint to be used in playground situations for increased flexibility should new designs or playground games be preferred after a few years. By contrast, no one wants their road lines fading in a short amount of time because it is unsafe. Parking lots, driving lanes and other vehicle guides typically should be painted with paints specifically designed to endure the rigors of daily traffic.
When painting a playground area, there are a few simple steps that will make your project perform well over time. Peaceful Playgrounds advises that you sweep and thoroughly wash the area prior to painting. Wait for the area to dry before application. Also, rather than relying on your freehand artistic talent, it is a good idea to use chalk to map out the designs and shapes you are going to paint. This will reduce the likelihood of mistakes that may not go away for quite some time. As an added safety concern, Peaceful Playgrounds notes that sealers should not be used in the playground scenario. These are commonly used for asphalt durability on driveways, but they can increase the risk of slipping and, therefore, create a hazard in any area where children frequently play.
Applying paint is simple. Usually, road and parking lot lines will be applied with special “stripers” that help form neat, clear and straight lines. These are available anywhere that sells asphalt paint. For playgrounds, rollers, sprayers and brushes will all do the job well. Sprayers and rollers will do much better on large areas, while brushes will work on small detail work. If using a brush, be sure to select one approved for use on asphalt; otherwise, you may find that the bristles don't stand up to the coarseness of the asphalt. Finally, take care not to paint yourself into corners as the paint will need some time to dry before it can be tread upon.