Ok, let’s just get something out in the open before we start delving into this interesting question.
There’s no such thing as garage floor paint
While you’re highly unlikely to find paint labelled specifically ‘Garage Floor Paint’. If you do it’s probably a sales and marketing tactic. Paints used in garages, workshops and other non domestic related use cases all tend to fall under the same label of Floor Paint.
Granted you’re probably going to want to pay attention to what surfaces your particular floor paint is suitable for but other than that, it’s pretty straight forward.
Can Garage Floor Paint Be Used Outside? No, it can not. If the paint tin doesn’t explicitly state that it is suitable for outdoor use then you should assume that it isn’t. Outdoor paint is designed to be slip resistant with a textured semi glass finish.
Interior floor paint (which is suitable for garages) is made of polyurethane base. This durable paint is hard wearing and resistent to the majority of things you’re likely to encounter in a garage setting (oil spills, dust etc…)
If by chance you have some floor paint left over from a previous project such as painting your garage floor and were curious if you could take the same paint and use it on your drive. My first piece of advice is to read the label on the back of the paint tin. Sounds obvious right? You’d be surprised how often people don’t do that!
In this article we’ll look at factors like Cost, The best Paints for exterior use, Safety concerns and maintenance. There’s a few things that surprised me when I researched to write this article, so I highly recommend reading until the end.
This might be one of the reasons you’re thinking of using interior garage floor paint on your driveway. Maybe you’ve got some left over and want ot make use of it. Well in all honesty the cost difference of paint specifically designed to be used outdoors and regular floor paint isn’t all that much.
For a 1 gallon exterior paint tin you’re only talking around $5 extra dollars compared to regular floor paint.
Roughly $40 from Lowes or Home Depot when I checked. So I wouldn’t worry too much about your wallet. It’s a pretty low budget DIY project.
Outdoor Paint Can Be Used Inside!
Outdoor paint can be used inside if you wanted to. So if you are faced with a choice of buying one or the other. I’d go with the external paint as you’ll have more options later on if you decide you want to paint an interior floor.
There’s advantages to this approach. I’d paint the outside area with the same paint I used on the garage floor. So the surface is consistent between the two. Makes sense if you are moving in an out of the garage a bunch of times. OK this is pretty subtle but could count especially in unfavorable weather conditions where you’re moving something heavy in or out of the garage. Don’t want to slip up right!
You Could Skip Painting Altogether
Playing devils advocate here….
Alternatively consider if you want to paint outside floor at all?
I mean once you’ve painted something you’ve instantly created a maintenance task. Because like all materials, painted will eventually wear out. You’ll have to repaint the floor every few years depending on the traffic that the floor is subjected to.
Unpainted concrete requires less maintenance, just the occasional power wash. Think about if you genuinely have a legitimate reason for painting the driveway. Other than aesthetics.
What to look for in Outdoor floor paint
Here’s a few things you should check on the paint tin when buying external floor paint:
- Resists Oil Stains
- Still grippy in frozen temperatures
- Not slippy when sand covers it
- Dries quickly
- Hard wearing
- Semi Glass course finish
One of these points I’d want to hammer home is: Make sure it drys fast!
You don’t want a lot of paint being washed away on to the street, that’s not great, you’ll have to clean it up. Ideally check the weather forecast before applying the paint.
If there’s rain then don’t paint! If you’ve got a few days of sun then that’s idea. I would do this task in the summer if possible.
How Many Paint Tins Will I Need?
A 1 Gallow paint tin will cover roughly 120 square feet. At $45 a tin you can figure out the general costs. It’s pretty low, but like I said you’ll have to buy more to repaint the drive every few years.
You’re average driveway is 640 square feet. That’s for a double car garage driveway. So you’re more than likely going to need several tins of paint to cover the whole driveway. Take this with a pinch of salt though as that’s just an average. Overall costs will depend on how big or small your specific driveway is.
What Garage Floor Paint Color is Best for Outside Surfaces?
Interesting question. I’d go for a neutral color like grey, black or something that won’t show stains – choices for outside external use paint colors are limited though. You’re going to be able to find way more options for paints designed specifically for indoor use.
That’s pretty much because external floor paint is more of a specialist item. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not so specialist that you can’t find it at your local hardware store. It’s just like popular than interior paint.
As a side note. If you have an asphalt driveway instead of a concrete slab. Then there are some really good options for you. Asphalt paint is used in comercial settings all the time. Think of whenever you see a bus lane or a disabled bay at a car park. It’s likely they used Asphalt paint for this purpose. It’s also available in a wider variety of colors than typical external flooring paint due to it being used in a commercial setting.
This point only really applies to people who have existing asphalt drives but I thought it was worth putting in here!
What Would Happen if I Used Garage Floor Paint Anyway?
So you might think:
To heck with it, I’m using garage floor paint anyway!
The truth is, it’ll probably be fine. It’s going to adhere to the concrete and will probably look OK. But you might want to consider the following:
External floor paint includes course material to make it more grippy when wet or if it’s frozen over. With regular garage floor paint you won’t have this. Sure this is less of a factor if you don’t have freezing conditions. But it might still play a role if spill some oil on there and slip up on it. So there is a safety aspect to consider.
Don’t used garage floor paint on outside surfaces. It isn’t designed for that purpose. Instead use a paint that is specifically designed for exterior use that includes a semi gloss finish with anti slip properties. The cost difference is negligable. A Few dollars at most.
Or alternatively don’t bother painting your drive way at all. Since you’re creating a maintenance task that you’re going to have to do every few years otherwise it’ll degrade and look crappy.
Finally if you must paint your drive way floor then if you have asphalt consider using an asphalt specific paint as it will perform way better and look a whole lot nicer.
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P.s. if you want to learn more about Garages in general here’s Houshias garage section. We cover lots of topics like garage conversions, smart garages, lighting, flooring you name it! Garages