Is Chalk Paint Waterproof- 5 Affordable Ways To Make It Last

is chalk paint waterproof

Chalk paint is a favorite among DIYers thanks to its thick consistency that covers surface imperfections like a dream. Another significant benefit of chalk paint is that it can be applied to any surface without multi-step preparations.

While it is perfect for the quick transformation of household objects, a question that troubles many homeowners is whether chalk paint is waterproof.

The short answer is No! Chalk paint is water-resistant but not waterproof. For this reason, the paint finish is not recommended for outdoor projects that must endure plenty of rain and snow. However, there are ways to seal chalk paint for maximum durability.

I love chalk paint because it can be painted over most clean and dry surfaces without prep work. Since the formula is water-based, it’s easy to clean paint brushes and equipment once I am finished. 

But I also want my hard work to last, so I always go the extra mile to make the chalk paint finish waterproof. You can also use any of the methods mentioned below to increase the durability of your paint job.

Is Chalk Paint Waterproof?

Chalk paint isn’t waterproof, but that doesn’t mean it will simply wash off whenever it comes into contact with water.

You see, there’s a difference between water-resistant and waterproof. That’s why your laptop keeps working if you accidentally splash water on it but shuts down entirely after being immersed in the same water for a long time.

In the same way, when you apply chalk paint to a surface, it doesn’t come off with occasional water spills and splashes. But, if the object is submerged in water, the moisture seeps into the paint’s texture and forces it to chip and peel.

Hence, chalk paint is water-resistant on its own but not waterproof.

Luckily, various sealants are available in the market that help in waterproofing your chalk paint.

How do you make chalk paint waterproof?

Chalk paint is an excellent option if you prefer a matte look on different surfaces. 

Originally, chalk paint was used to color furniture, but now people use it on various surfaces, including walls, doors, fences, etc. The only downside is that the paint could be more durable when it comes to resisting water.

Fortunately, different sealers can make your chalk paint finish waterproof when used as a top coat. Here are my top picks:

1. Acrylic Paint Coating

When using chalk paint outdoors, it’s necessary to protect it from moisture and other environmental stressors. Acrylic paint is one of the best coatings you can apply to your chalk paint finish.

The highlight of applying an acrylic top coat is that it can be used on various surfaces, such as concrete, leather, wood, metal, fabric, and canvas. If you are interested in learning more about painting fabrics, you can check my blog for some insights.

A transparent acrylic coat keeps water away from the chalk paint finish, making it more durable than when it’s on its own. This way, you can give your outdoor furniture a new matte look without compromising its life span.

The Aleene’s Spray Acrylic Sealer is a perfect option if you want to apply an acrylic top coat. It is available in three finishes: Gloss, matte, and pearlescent, so you are free to choose whichever suits your taste best.

It is a spray-on formula; therefore, it is effortless to use and perfect for covering large surfaces. Once it dries down, the acrylic sealer provides a clear protective finish that is waterproof, precisely what you want for your outdoor furniture.

2. Lacquer Paint Coating

Applying a lacquer coat on top of your chalk paint surfaces is another effective method for making it more resistant to water damage.

Some people believe that lacquer and acrylic coating is the same, but the two vary significantly in composition. Lacquer paints are solvent-based, while acrylic paints are water-based.

Since pigments are carried in a solvent base, lacquer paints are more toxic than acrylic paints. However, if you plan on using the top coat on outdoor furniture, its toxicity should not be a problem.

Regardless, you should remember that lacquer is water-resistant, not waterproof. So, if you immerse the painted object in water, it may not hold up.

A good option is the Krylon Lacquer Spray, a fast-drying formula that protects surfaces from moisture. The lacquer dries down to an ultra-hard finish, which helps improve the paint job’s longevity.

The Krylon Lacquer spray delivers a factory-like high-gloss finish, but if you prefer something more matte, you can check out the Minwax Lacquer Spray. This one has a satin finish that doesn’t require sanding between coats. The Minwax lacquer is ideal for interior wood surfaces but can also waterproof outdoor surfaces.

Expert Advice: The inventor of chalk paint, Annie Sloan, also recommends covering painted surfaces with a lacquer coating, primarily when used outdoors.

3. Wax Coating

Wax coating is another quick way of making your chalk paint surfaces waterproof. Most chalk paint manufacturers, including Annie Sloan, produce wax that can seal the chalk finish for improved durability.

The wax coating works similarly to acrylic or lacquer coating, creating a film over the chalk paint that prevents water from passing through it.

However, the wax coating doesn’t deliver the same strength as the previous two since its formula isn’t designed to withstand extreme temperatures and rain.

Wax coating is best suited to indoor furniture that requires an extra layer of protection from accidental or constant water exposure. For example, dining tables and kitchen stools.

Pro Tip: If you cover outdoor painted surfaces with wax, be prepared to watch it melt off in excessive heat.

4. Varnish Coating

Varnish is generally used on wood surfaces to protect them from moisture. In the same way, it can be used on objects colored with chalk paint. 

Varnish effectively makes any surface waterproof and extends the object’s life by 3 to 5 years. Since varnish dries slowly, using it may seem intimidating to some. However, if you clean up the surrounding areas thoroughly before starting, there will be fewer chances of dust and lose debris sticking to the surface.

Pro Tip: You should use varnish on outdoor horizontal objects where you suspect water to sit on the surface.

5. Polyurethane

Polyurethane sealant is also used to protect chalk-painted surfaces from water. However, this method isn’t as effective as the others, so I have placed it at the end.

Although several people have reported that polyurethane coatings make their painted surfaces more resistant to environmental stressors. Since chalk paints already have water-resistant properties, there isn’t enough evidence to support whether the polyurethane sealant offers waterproof protection.

If you decide to go down this road, the Rust-Oleum Specialty Polyurethane Spray is a quick way to seal and protect interior surfaces. The spray can be used on painted surfaces, wood, and metal but is only suitable for indoor use. Thus, use an acrylic coating if you want better protection for your outdoor surfaces.

Will Chalk Paint Wash Off in the Rain?

Chalk paint is water-resistant, so it will not wash off in the rain. However, if the rainwater stays on top of the painted surface long enough, it may seep into the paint finish and cause damage.

Owing to chalk paint’s water-resistant qualities, you don’t require a sealer for vertical surfaces. That is because when you color vertical surfaces with chalk paint, water will not be able to sink into the paint finish and simply slide off.

Hence, the painted finish will not be affected by water.

On the flip side, painting horizontal surfaces with chalk paint increase the likelihood of water sinking into the finish. Therefore, it is recommended to apply a top coat to seal the paint and increase its life.

If you plan on using chalk paint for outdoor furniture or other surfaces, use an acrylic sealer or similar coating to protect it from environmental stressors.

You can learn more about which paint types are waterproof in this blog to decide the best one for outdoor use.

Will Chalk Paint Last Outdoors?

The question, ‘Is chalk paint durable enough to be used outdoors? is one I have been asked many times.

The short answer is yes, but the weather conditions where you live make a significant difference in the durability of your paint job.

If you live somewhere, that stays dry for the most part of the year with occasional showers, your chalk-painted furniture will last a long time. But if you experience heavy rain and snow in your area, the painted surfaces may show signs of wear and tear much earlier.

Make sure to check out the detailed blog on “Can chalk paint be used on outside furniture?”

Is Chalk Paint Washable?

Chalk paint isn’t washable. Here’s why:

As a rule of thumb, paints with a glossier finish can be cleaned more easily than matte finishes. And chalk paint is classified as a matte finish since it has almost no sheen in its formula. In fact, its chalky appearance actually makes it popular among homeowners.

However, chalk-painted surfaces can be cleaned gently from time to time. But if you overdo the washing part, you will notice signs of degradation, such as the paint fading and peeling quickly.

Fortunately, a way to make your chalk-painted surfaces washable is to coat them with wax!

If the paint’s washability is vital for your project’s success, read this blog to find out which paint finish is easily washable.

How to Determine If Chalk Paint is Waterproof?

Chalk paint isn’t waterproof on its own, but adding a sealer can significantly improve its water resistance. If you want to assess the strength of your paint’s finish against moisture, you can conduct this simple test.

  • Pour a small amount of water on the chalk-painted surface (with or without sealer).
  • Wait for a few minutes.
  • The finish isn’t waterproof if you observe the water sinking into the top coat.
  • The finish is waterproof if the water stays on top of the surface without changing its color or penetrating the finish.


Is chalk paint permanent?

Chalk paint is permanent and can easily last on a surface for several years. However, you can increase its durability by adding a sealer on top of the finish for extra protection. 

Is chalk paint toxic?

Chalk paint is not toxic and doesn’t emit any harmful fumes. For this reason, you can use it on both indoor and outdoor objects without worrying about the paint’s adverse effects on your family’s health.

Does chalk paint come off with water?

Chalk paint doesn’t come off with flowing water. However, if the water remains on the surface for too long, it will eventually sink into the paint finish and cause it to chip and peel. The best way to avoid this situation is to cover the chalk paint finish with a top coat such as acrylic sealer or varnish.

Is Rustoleum chalk paint waterproof?

Rust-Oleum chalk paint is water-resistant but not waterproof like most chalk paints from leading manufacturers. Regardless, you can improve the durability of your paint finish by sealing it with a waterproof top coat like Rust-Oleum LeakSeal Flexible Rubber Coating Spray or the Rust-Oleum Universal All Surface Clear Topcoat Spray.

How many coats of wax do you need on top of chalk paint?

You must apply two to three layers of wax on top of chalk paint for maximum protection. Layering an inadequate amount of wax will result in a thin top layer that cannot completely resist water damage.


Chalk paint delivers a clean and soft look to any surface it’s applied to. Because the paint finish differs from its traditional counterparts, many DIYers prefer chalk paint for indoor and outdoor projects.

The only downside is that the paint isn’t waterproof and can lose its color when exposed to excessive rain. However, different sealers can help make chalk paint waterproof and protect it from water, moisture, scratches, and other damage.

Hence, if you want to use chalk paint on outdoor surfaces, applying a waterproof top coat is best to improve its durability.

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