Is Chalk Paint Waterproof? – Your Handy Guide for Understanding Chalk Paint Properties

Last updated on April 5, 2024

No, chalk paint is not waterproof but it can be made water-resistant by applying a layer of sealant or wax.

Key takeaways:

  • Chalk paint is not waterproof, but can be made water-resistant with sealant or wax.
  • Chalk paint’s porous nature makes it susceptible to water damage.
  • Sealants like wax or polyurethane create a protective barrier against moisture.
  • Chalk paint is not as durable as other outdoor paints.
  • Regular maintenance and reapplication of sealant are necessary to preserve the finish.

Properties of Chalk Paint

properties of chalk paint

Chalk paint is widely celebrated for its matte finish and velvety texture, which contributes to its unique aesthetic.

It adheres to a variety of surfaces without the need for extensive pre-sanding or priming, making it a go-to choice for DIY enthusiasts looking to revamp furniture and home decor.

The high pigmentation of chalk paint results in rich, deep colors, often requiring fewer coats than traditional paints.

Its thick consistency allows for a range of techniques from smooth finishes to textured, distressed looks.

Despite its versatility and ease of use, chalk paint’s porosity means it is naturally not waterproof and needs sealing to protect against moisture and wear.

Water-Resistance of Chalk Paint

water resistance of chalk paint

Chalk paint, known for its matte finish and versatility, is not inherently waterproof. Its porous nature enables it to adhere well to various surfaces but also makes it susceptible to water damage.

Exposure to liquid can lead to color fading, staining, and the potential breakdown of the paint over time. However, the water-resistant quality of chalk paint can be significantly improved through the application of a sealant such as wax or a specially formulated lacquer.

These sealants fill in the pores of the chalk paint, creating a barrier against moisture and enhancing the durability of the painted surface, especially when used on items that are placed outdoors or in areas with high humidity.

Regular maintenance, including reapplication of the sealant, will help to preserve the protective layer and extend the lifespan of the finished piece. It’s important to note that while sealed chalk paint can resist water, it is not the same as being fully waterproof and should not be submerged in water or exposed to heavy, continuous rain.

Comparing Chalk Paint to Other Outdoor Paints

While chalk paint offers a unique matte finish and requires minimal surface preparation, it isn’t inherently waterproof or as durable as other outdoor-specific paints. Here’s a quick comparison to put its qualities into perspective:

  • Acrylic latex paint is designed for exterior use, it adheres well to outdoor surfaces and flexes with changing temperatures to resist cracking.
  • Enamel paint, known for its hard finish, is commonly used on outdoor furniture and trim for its durability in various weather conditions.
  • Oil-based paints, although longer drying, create a robust layer that stands up well against the elements but may yellow over time.

Each of these alternatives typically provides a higher level of water resistance and longevity for outdoor use compared to chalk paint. However, the allure of chalk paint for outdoor furniture and accents lies in its velvety, vintage look and easy application, which can be made more outdoor-friendly with proper sealing techniques.

Sealing Chalk Paint for Enhanced Durability

After applying chalk paint to a surface, its matte finish is both beautiful and distinctive. However, to ensure that this finish stands the test of time, especially in environments exposed to moisture and wear, it’s crucial to seal the paint. Here’s why sealing makes a difference:

  • Protection Against Moisture: Chalk paint on its own is not waterproof. A sealant adds a layer of protection that repels water and prevents damage.
  • Enhanced Durability: Everyday use can lead to scratches and chipping. Sealants provide a hard-wearing surface, extending the life of the painted item.
  • Ease of Cleaning: Sealed surfaces are easier to clean as the protective layer prevents dirt and grime from penetrating the paint.
  • Aesthetic Versatility: Choosing the right sealant can give you a range of sheens, from matte to glossy, according to your preference.

Common sealants include:

  • Wax: Ideal for indoor items, it gives a velvety finish but requires reapplication over time.
  • Polyurethane: A durable option for heavily used items, offering a range of sheen levels.
  • Specialized Chalk Paint Sealer: These are formulated to bond with chalk paint, providing robust protection without altering the paint’s characteristic texture.

Each sealant has its application method, so be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results. Regular maintenance and reapplication of the sealant, as per the product’s guidance, will keep your painted surfaces looking fresh and well-protected over time.

Steps to Seal Chalk Paint for Outdoor Use

Before sealing, ensure the chalk paint is completely dry, typically requiring 24 hours. Choose a clear, water-resistant topcoat or sealer suitable for outdoor use, whether it be a wax, polyurethane, or a specially formulated chalk paint sealer.

1. Clean the surface: Wipe down the painted item to remove dust, dirt, or grime, which could get trapped under the sealer.

2. Apply thin coats: Using a brush or a lint-free cloth, apply the sealer in thin, even layers, which prevents dripping and uneven application.

3. Allow drying time: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for drying times between coats, usually a few hours. Patience during this step is essential for a durable finish.

4. Sand between coats: For a smooth finish, lightly sand the surface with fine-grit sandpaper after the initial coat is dry. Wipe away any dust before applying the next layer.

5. Repeat as needed: Apply 2-3 coats of sealer to build up a strong barrier against weather and wear.

6. Final drying: After the final coat, wait for the designated curing time—often 24-72 hours—before exposing the item to outdoor conditions.

Consistent application and adherence to drying times are key for longevity. Regular maintenance may involve reapplying a fresh sealer coat annually or biannually, depending on exposure to the elements.

Maintenance Tips for Outdoor Chalk Paint Surfaces

To preserve the beauty and longevity of your chalk-painted outdoor surfaces, regular maintenance is key. Here are a few practical tips:

1. Clean Regularly: Gently wipe the surfaces with a soft cloth or sponge and a mild soap solution to remove any accumulated dirt and grime. Avoid abrasive cleaners that can damage the paint finish.

2. Reapply Sealer: Depending on exposure to the elements and the type of sealer used, reapply a fresh coat periodically—typically once a year—to maintain the water-resistant barrier and protect against wear and tear.

3. Touch-Up Scratches: Address any scratches or chips promptly with a small brush and matching chalk paint. After the touch-up dries, seal the area to prevent water infiltration and further damage.

4. Avoid Harsh Elements: Whenever possible, protect your chalk-painted furniture from extreme weather conditions by using covers or moving items to a sheltered location during severe rain or snow.

5. Sun Protection: Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can fade the color and degrade the sealer. Consider placing items under a patio umbrella or in a shaded area to minimize sun damage.

How to Paint Outdoor Cushions With Chalk Paint

Transforming outdoor cushions with chalk paint is an inventive way to refresh your patio decor without purchasing new furniture. Begin by selecting a bright, sunny day for the project since you will need to work outside where the cushions can dry without absorbing moisture from the ground.

Ensure your cushions are clean and free of debris by using a brush or vacuum cleaner. Any dirt or oils may prevent the paint from adhering properly. If they have covers, remove them and wash them according to the manufacturer’s instructions before painting.

Mix the chalk paint with a fabric medium according to the ratio recommended on the medium’s packaging. This step is crucial as the fabric medium ensures the paint remains flexible and doesn’t crack once it dries on the cushions.

Test the color and finish on a small, inconspicuous area of the cushion. Once satisfied, use a spray bottle to dampen the cushion slightly; the moisture helps the fabric absorb the paint more evenly.

Apply the paint in thin layers using a brush or a sponge. For best results, use a stippling motion to work the paint into the fabric weave. Avoid saturating the fabric; multiple light coats will yield a more durable and attractive finish than one heavy coat.

Allow the paint to dry completely between coats. Depending on temperature and humidity, this may take a few hours. Be patient; rushing the process might compromise the quality of your work.

Once the final layer is fully dry, consider applying a spray-on fabric sealer to protect your newly painted cushions against water and stains. This extra layer will extend the life of your handiwork and make your cushions easier to clean.

After all layers are dry, place your refreshed cushions back on your outdoor furniture and enjoy the new look of your updated patio space. With proper application, your painted cushions will serve as a vibrant and comfortable addition to your outdoor living area.

Pros and Cons of Using Chalk Paint Outdoors

Chalk paint offers a unique matte finish and the ability to adhere to a variety of outdoor surfaces without extensive prep work. Its versatility makes it a favorite for outdoor furniture revamps. However, chalk paint’s porous nature means it’s not inherently weatherproof.


  • Easy Application: No need to prime or sand the surface, making the painting process more straightforward.
  • Adhesion: It grips well to different materials, including wood and metal, which are common in outdoor settings.
  • Finish Variety: Provides a beautiful, vintage matte finish that’s hard to achieve with other paints.


  • Vulnerability to Elements: Without proper sealing, it can easily absorb water, leading to damage or mold growth.
  • Maintenance: Outdoor pieces may require frequent touch-ups and resealing to maintain their appearance.
  • Cost: Premium for specialty chalk paints can add up, particularly for larger outdoor projects.

Using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® Outside

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® is admired for its versatility and aesthetically pleasing matte finish. When considering its use for exterior projects, it’s important to acknowledge that while it can adhere well to outdoor surfaces, it isn’t inherently waterproof. To ensure long-lasting results when using this particular paint outside:

  • Begin by thoroughly cleaning the surface you wish to paint. Dirt and grime may prevent the paint from adhering properly.
  • Apply the paint evenly, working in thin layers to avoid drips and ensure a seamless finish. Multiple thin coats are preferable to one thick coat.
  • After the paint has dried, it’s critical to protect it with a suitable sealant.
  • Annie Sloan offers a Chalk Paint® Lacquer specifically designed for outdoor use which provides added UV protection and seals the paint against water damage.
  • Regular maintenance checks are recommended to touch up any areas where the paint or sealant may have worn away, keeping your outdoor furniture looking fresh season after season.

By following these points, Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® can indeed be a viable option for adding a touch of charm to outdoor living spaces.

How to Make Chalk Paint® Waterproof

To ensure your chalk-painted surfaces withstand the elements, applying a sealer is crucial. Here’s a comprehensive method:

1. Begin by thoroughly cleaning the surface, removing any dust, grease, or debris.

2. Once the surface is clean, apply a thin layer of a water-based polyurethane or acrylic sealant with a brush or roller. It is essential to cover all painted areas evenly.

3. Allow the first coat of sealant to dry as per the manufacturer’s instructions, typically a few hours.

4. For added protection, apply a second coat of sealant. This will increase the paint’s resistance to water and prevent peeling or flaking.

5. Let the final coat dry completely, which may take up to 24 hours, depending on environmental conditions.

Remember, while sealing will significantly increase water resistance, it may also alter the matte finish of your chalk paint to a certain degree. Always test your sealant on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure satisfaction with the finished appearance.

Chalk Paint® Wax As a Protective Sealer

Chalk Paint® Wax serves as a versatile sealer to enhance the durability of your painted finishes. When applied over Chalk Paint, it helps to provide a layer of protection that repels water to an extent, although it does not make the surface completely waterproof.

Here’s how it works:

  • It penetrates and seals the paint layer, which decreases the porosity of Chalk Paint and thus reduces water absorption.
  • The wax creates a matte finish that is aesthetically pleasing while still guarding against minor spills and splashes.
  • Although it offers protection, it is important to note that wax isn’t suitable for surfaces that will be exposed to a lot of water or outdoor elements.
  • To maintain the protective quality of the wax, periodic reapplication is recommended, especially on frequently touched surfaces or those in high-use areas.

To ensure the best results, always apply the wax with a clean, lint-free cloth or wax brush, working it into the surface. Allow it to dry before buffing to the desired sheen with a soft cloth. With proper application, Chalk Paint® Wax can help extend the life and beauty of your chalk-painted projects.

Using Chalk Paint® Lacquer for Outdoor Items

Chalk Paint® Lacquer by Annie Sloan is specially formulated to offer strong protection for painted surfaces, making it ideal for items that are designated for outdoor use. Here are some key points to consider when using this product:

1. UV Protection: The lacquer contains UV filters that help prevent fading and discoloration from sunlight, which is essential for outdoor furniture and decor exposed to the elements.

2. Water-Resistant Finish: While chalk paint itself isn’t waterproof, the lacquer creates a water-resistant coating that helps protect against rain and moisture, extending the life of your painted items.

3. Application Tips: For best results, apply the lacquer with a flat brush or roller in thin coats. A minimum of two coats is recommended for optimal durability.

4. Drying Time: Allow sufficient drying time between coats — at least one to two hours under normal conditions. Ensure the final coat is thoroughly dry before exposing the item to outdoor conditions.

5. Versatility: The lacquer is compatible with Chalk Paint® and works well on wood, metal, and concrete surfaces. This flexibility allows for cohesive protection across various outdoor pieces.

6. Finish Options: It is available in both a matte and a gloss finish, giving you the option to choose the desired sheen level for your projects.

By following these pointers, you’ll enhance the longevity of your outdoor chalk painted items with a resilient finish that stands up to the challenges of outdoor use.

Do You Have to Seal Chalk Paint®?

Sealing chalk paint is not obligatory, but it is highly recommended, especially for items that will be frequently touched, used, or exposed to the elements. Here’s why:

  • Protection Against Wear: A sealer adds a layer of protection to your painted surface, helping to resist wear and tear and keep the paint looking fresh.
  • Enhance Durability: Sealed surfaces are more durable. They’ll withstand cleaning and daily use better than unsealed surfaces.
  • Stain Resistance: A sealant can help prevent stains from penetrating and discolouring the paint.
  • Control Sheen: Sealers are available in various sheens. You can choose a matte, satin, or glossy finish depending on the desired look.
  • Increase Longevity: Sealed chalk paint will maintain its look and finish for a longer period, reducing the need for frequent touch-ups or repainting.

Remember, if the painted item will stay indoors and away from heavy use, you might skip sealing. However, for any item that will face the challenges of daily life, sealing is your best bet to maintain its beauty and integrity.

Step By Step Guide to Using Wax

Begin with clean, dry, freshly painted chalk paint surfaces to ensure optimal wax adherence.

Choose a clear wax specifically designed for sealing chalk paint, ensuring it’s of good quality for better results.

Using a wax brush or a lint-free cloth, apply a thin, even layer of wax over the paint. Work in small sections to maintain consistency.

Allow the wax to penetrate the surface for a few minutes, then buff the area with a clean cloth to remove any excess and create a subtle sheen.

For areas that will receive high traffic or frequent handling, consider applying a second coat of wax for added protection.

Let the wax cure fully, which can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on the environmental conditions and the brand of the wax.

Perform touch-ups on an as-needed basis to maintain the water-resistant seal and keep the surface looking fresh.

Remember, wax needs to be reapplied periodically to maintain its protective properties.

Step By Step Guide to Using Lacquer

Before starting, ensure your chalk-painted surface is clean, dry, and free of imperfections. Gently sand the area if necessary.

1. Stir the lacquer thoroughly to combine any settled content. Do not shake, as this can introduce air bubbles.

2. Apply the first thin coat using a brush or roller specifically designed for the purpose. Work swiftly to avoid overworking and creating brush marks.

3. Allow the first coat to dry completely as directed by the product’s specifications; drying times may vary based on the environment and coat thickness.

4. Once dry, lightly sand the surface with fine-grit sandpaper to ensure a smooth base for the succeeding layer.

5. Wipe the surface down to remove any sanding dust.

6. Apply a second coat of lacquer, ensuring even coverage for uniform protection.

7. Allow the second coat to dry as per the recommended time before using or placing the item outdoors.

Remember, proper ventilation is crucial while applying lacquer, and always refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines for the best results.


Does chalk paint wash off in the rain?

Chalk paint, when exposed to rain before sufficient drying, will indeed be washed away.

What can I put on chalk paint to make it waterproof?

To waterproof chalk paint, it can be sealed with Wax or Lacquer, thereby enhancing durability and longevity of the color while preventing damage during clean up.

Does water ruin chalk paint?

Water does not ruin chalk paint, though it can leave temporary spots; quick cleanup, keeping the area dry, light sanding and a protective wax coat alleviate the concern effectively.

How does moisture exposure affect chalk paint longevity?

Moisture exposure can significantly decrease the longevity of chalk paint as it promotes peeling and chipping.

Can waterproof sealants be applied over chalk paint?

Yes, waterproof sealants can be applied over chalk paint.

Is there any waterproof variant available in chalk paint?

Yes, there are waterproof variants available in chalk paint.

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