Business owners have to make a decision when painting a parking lot: do it themselves or hire a professional. Find out about the cost of DIY parking lot stripes vs. hiring a professional. We’ll also look at the pros and cons of the parking lot paint available for your striping needs.

DIY Parking Lot Paint Job

You may consider buying parking lot paint to add lines for parking spaces. However, the right type of paint matters more than you may realize. While you want to save money as an owner or property manager, doing the work yourself doesn’t always make sense. Sometimes your best bet for parking area solutions is to bring in professionals. Your customers expect a certain level of professionalism in a parking lot, so it’s crucial to mark lines with the right colors of blue and yellow.

In addition, you want to ensure arrows, stop letters, and access markings are clear with good visibility.

However, by the time you consider your time and the materials you need, it may make sense to bring in a professional striping service if you want professional-looking lines.

Types of Paint Used For Parking Lines

Parking lot striping paint varies widely in quality. The paint you buy at a local home improvement store is usually not the same quality as what you’d get from a professional. It may be inferior in terms of its durability, especially if it’s exposed to rain and the hot sun.

There are several types of paint used for striping parking lots. Solvent-based, water-based, and waterborne, are the three most common line-striping materials.

A Poor Choice: Water-Based Paint

Water-based paints are typically less expensive but don’t stick as well to the pavement. These painted lines tend to wash off more easily and don’t stay for the long run.

Water-based merely means the paint may dissolve in water. This washing-off quality can bring you all the work with none of the value.

A DIY Best Option: Solvent-Based Paint

Solvent-based paint offers better adhesion and can last longer. However, “a by-product of the drying process are the fumes fill the air. These films can be toxic and dangerous if someone is exposed to them in large, regular doses.” (1)

Gold-Standard Professional Choice: Waterborne Paint

Waterborne paint and water-based paint are NOT the same thing.

The best of both worlds come together in waterborne paints. Waterborne paints are the kind used on newer vehicles as they roll off the assembly line. These paints stand the test of time! And they are more environmentally friendly than solvent-based paints.

Waterborne paints contain solvents, just to a lesser degree than solvent-based paints. When the waterborne paint is applied and dries, the water evaporates, then the solvents evaporate, and the finish particles combine and form a single layer of paint. (2)

Solvent-based paints used to be the standard. However, waterborne paint is more eco-friendly and can be used safely around children and pets.

“Waterborne paints give off almost 90 percent less VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) compared to solvent.” (3)


In addition, pros use these quality paints in their striping machines for parking lot lines. One such example is Sherwin Williams Waterborne Traffic Paint which is made to withstand vehicle traffic, rain, heat, and many other elements.

You can’t just apply waterborne paint with a brush. It has to be applied with a compressor machine and a high skill level.

Highest Standard for Roads & highway use: Thermoplastic Striping Paint

Hot-applied thermoplastic is the most durable type of paint available. It is melted onto the surface of roads and offers superior resistance to ultraviolet light, rain, snow, and other conditions.

However, these durable paints are much more expensive than other types of paint due to the increased labor costs associated with installation.

For this reason, hot-applied thermoplastic is not used as parking lot striping paint.

Other Materials for DIY Parking Lot Stripes

If you’re looking for cost savings, DIY can provide some relief. But keep in mind that by doing it yourself, you’ll need to purchase all the necessary materials such as

  • Stencils
  • Striping tapes
  • Marking flags
  • Paint primer
  • Sealants
  • Protective coatings
  • Protective masks if you’re painting with solvent paint
  • Parking lot marking paint
  • Line striping equipment
  • Paint roller and brushes

Depending on the size of your space, you may also need additional equipment, such as line markers. You’ll also likely need to rent a power washer if your parking lot requires a good wash before painting.

And don’t forget caution tape to prevent vehicles from driving on your parking lot line painting.

Time Expenditure

When you are DIY-striping your parking lot, be aware that it can take a large amount of time. It’s important to factor this into your budget and plan accordingly.

If you’re working with a large area or have multiple lots to stripe, it may make more sense to hire a professional striping company with the right tools and expertise to get the job done quickly and efficiently.

Overall, when it comes to line painting for parking lots, there is a variety of options available depending on your budget and preferences.

If cost is an issue, consider water-based paint, although its durability will likely be hampered by weather conditions quickly, especially in the South Carolina sun and rain!

For best results, use waterborne paint. Or better yet, get a quote from a local asphalt striping service and find out how easily you can get the price and quality you need!

Parking Lot Striping with Professional Waterborne Traffic Paint

The cost of doing a parking lot striping job yourself will vary depending on the size of your space and the materials you’ll need. You may be able to find lower-quality paint for cheaper, but it won’t last as long or look as good as what a professional would create.

The cost of hiring a professional will depend on how experienced they are and their prices in your area. However, most local contractors offer free quotes so that you can compare job offerings.

Overall, if you want high-quality lines that will last, hiring a professional is usually the wise choice for an excellent parking line experience with striping on asphalt surfaces.

When it comes to cost, DIY parking lot striping will always cost less than hiring a professional service. However, you’ll need to factor in the time you spend preparing for the job, buying supplies, and actually painting the lines into your total cost.

The cost of materials for a DIY job can vary greatly depending on the type of paint you use and whether or not you purchase equipment such as power washers. In most cases, though, it’s much cheaper to do it yourself than to hire a professional.

When Professionals Paint Parking Lot Lines & Signage

The good news is that professional striping services are relatively affordable. At AMP Paving, we offer competitive rates and handle everything from cleaning the surface to applying tape or stencils for complex designs.

Our professional-grade compressor striping machine and high-grade waterborne traffic paint ensure that the right paint keeps your parking stalls looking good for years! We help keep your parking lot line maintenance to a minimum. Additionally, we stand behind our work!

Our expertise and cutting-edge equipment ensure the highest quality product possible while also shortening the length of time on your job and limiting your operational downtime.