Is Chalk Paint Durable? (Find Out Now!)

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Reviewed by
Eral Kadrija

Tony Adams

Chalk paint is a water-based paint that provides a dry and vintage finish. In addition, its can be distressed by sanding. But, is its finish durable?

Chalk paint is durable enough for indoor decorative surfaces. But, it can’t withstand outdoor weather elements and shouldn’t be applied over outdoor surfaces unsealed. Its finish will get washed off if exposed to constant water.

Chalk paint has a simple formula that contains no extra protective additives and it has a textured (vintage) water-soluble finish. So, the paint isn’t durable enough for busy or outdoor surfaces.

Chalk Paint Scratches

Chalk paint is a durable paint. But, does chalk paint scratch easily?

Unsealed chalk paint scratches easily because it doesn’t have a protective top layer. Also, since the paint is water-based, it doesn’t have a glossy finish that protects its coating. Instead, it has a textured finish that isn’t durable or resistant enough to protect. So, the finish will get scratched by different things.

The low durability of the chalk paint isn’t a bad thing. If you want a distressed (vintage) finish, you can sand (scratch) it to achieve it. Chalk paint is the most used paint for a distressed finish because of its low durability and easy scratching finish.

However, if the paint is sealed with polyurethane or wax, the paint won’t scratch. That’s because the top layer (sealant) will produce a glossy layer that protects it from scratches and other elements.

Wears Off

The finish will wear off if the paint is subjected to daily use. That’s because chalk paint doesn’t have a glossy finish or protective top coat that protects the paint.

Chalk paint is made of colorants (paint pigments), a binder (Plaster or Paris), and water. So, it has no additives that make the finish waterproof or resistant.

The dry and textured finish of the paint attracts a lot of dust and filth, so you must clean it often. Since you must clean it often with water, the finish will wear off after a while because it’s water-soluble. The more you clean it, the faster it wears off.

However, if chalk paint is applied to decorative surfaces, such as frames, the paint will last for years because decorative surfaces aren’t exposed to daily use.

Sealing Chalk Paint

We are all looking for ways to make the paint last longer. One way to make paint longer is to seal it. So, do you have to seal chalk paint?

Sealing chalk paint for indoor surfaces isn’t mandatory but helps the finish last longer. The sealant protects the paint from water, moisture, scratches, handling, and other damage. To seal chalk paint, use wax, polyurethane, spar varnish, or lacquer.

For outdoor surfaces sealing chalk paint is necessary. That’s because its finish isn’t durable enough to withstand outdoor weather elements. If the paint is exposed to constant water (rain), the paint will get washed off. For outdoor surfaces, use a waterproof sealant, such as spar varnish, to seal it.

A sealant is a cleat coat formulated with extra protective additives that form a glossy layer to protect the surface. The clear coat of the sealant doesn’t enhance (or change) the color of the chalk paint underneath. Instead, the sealant adds a glossy sheen (layer) over the finish.

However, the chalk paint must dry fully (cure) before you seal it. If you seal it too soon, the finish will turn sticky or tacky, and you have to remove the entire finish.


Sealed chalk paint will last 5 years indoors and 3 years outdoors. Unsealed chalk paint will last 2 years indoors and one month outdoors. Sealed chalk paint lasts longer because the sealant forms a glossy protective layer over the finish, protecting it from weather elements.

Unsealed chalk paint shouldn’t be applied outdoors because its finish isn’t durable or resistant enough to withstand weather elements. If exposed to rain, it will get washed off.

Chalk paint will last longer indoors because it’s not exposed to weather elements. However, it won’t last long on busy indoor surfaces. For instance, if you apply unsealed chalk paint on a table, it won’t last more than one year. That’s because tables are exposed to constant handling, traffic, and water.

To increase the durability of chalk paint, seal it with wax, polyurethane, or spar varnish. These sealants are waterproof and will protect it from water, moisture, scratches, and other damage.

Related Read: Is Chalk Paint Waterproof?

Final Words

Chalk paint is a water-based paint that offers a dry and vintage finish that can be distressed. However, chalk paint isn’t durable and shouldn’t be used outdoors. If exposed to water, it will get washed off.

To make chalk paint durable, seal it with a waterproof sealant after it dries. The sealant will protect the paint from moisture, water, scratches, and other damage by producing a glossy waterproof layer over it. The protective layer of the sealant will act as a “shield” and protect the paint underneath.

Tony Adams

Tony Adams

Woodworker, Interior and Exterior Painter, Flooring Specialist

Tony is a professional painter and an author of DIY Geeks. Tony has completed over 1,000 painting projects for his clients. It's safe to say he knows what he Is talking about.

Eral Kadrija

Eral Kadrija

Lead Editor, Home Renovator

Eral has a passion for home renovation and repair. Over the years, he has bought, renovated, and sold 7 old homes. Using his experience from different DIY projects he created DIY Geeks.

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