What Is the Difference Between Chalk Paint and Chalkboard Paint?

Chalk Paint and Chalkboard Paint Difference

One of the more confusing issues that many people run into when choosing a new chalk paint is the difference between chalk and chalkboard paint.

Both certainly sound quite similar when they are first seen.

And since most people grew up attending schools that used chalk on chalkboard, it may seem like there is little difference at first.

But there are differences between the paints that you should know before choosing the right one for your needs.

What follows are descriptions of each paint, how they are applied, and the important differences between them.

What is Chalk Paint?

This type of paint has a finish that is matte to the degree that many people think it looks like chalk.

It is mostly used for antique furnishings to help give it that vintage chalky appearance.

The paint can even be used on modern furnishings, walls, and the like to provide that sense of age that is quite attractive.

You can apply chalk paint to most surfaces, even those that have yet to be sanded smooth.

This is because the texture of chalk paint is such that smoothing is not necessary under most circumstances.

This means that you can give new life to older furnishings and other surfaces such as stone, concrete, and even metal for a one-of-a-kind look.

To add a little touch of texture, you can add a glaze or wax to the surface of chalk paint that is already dry.

If the goal is to make the surface look both vintage and hip at the same time, then chalk paint is for you.

How to Apply Chalk Paint?

You start by smoothing the surface to get rid of any loose materials such as old paint or areas that are chipped and have free particles.

You do not need to sand to get the results you want, but it does help.

Once you are through removing all loose particles from the surface, clean it thoroughly with soap and water, rinse, and let it dry.

Add Primer

Primer is not really required unless you are working with bare or unfinished wood or treated wood.

But a primer will help to block bleeds of tannin, so you should add a single coat if necessary.


After two hours of letting primer dry assuming it was needed, you are ready to pain the surface.

Stir, but do not shake the paint.

No water or thinning is needed, just put it on your brush and apply.

A good synthetic brush works best but do avoid nap rollers as they are not that useful.

Also, keep out of direct sunlight if you can and make sure you are painting with humidity levels lower than 85%.

Once the first coat is dry, add a second coat to complete the job.

You can apply a wax or glaze over the now-dry chalk paint for that vintage look.  

What is the Chalkboard Paint?

Chalkboard paint is as the name implies, paint that you can draw on with chalk like a chalkboard.

This type of paint comes in difference colors and can even be customized for your needs.

If you want a surface that can be drawn on with chalk, cleaned, and drawn on again, this is the paint for you.

How to Apply Chalkboard Paint?

You will need to clean and sand the surface until it is smooth.

Then use soap and water, rinse, and let it dry.

Prime the Surface

Add one coat of primer for metal and wood surfaces.

Let it dry for about two hours.

Latex-based primers are recommended for the best results.


You will want to mix the paint thoroughly, but you do not need to thin unless you live in hot, dry conditions.

A good synthetic brush will work, but so will a foam or nap roller.

Apply the paint, let it dry, and then apply a second coat.

Once you are done, clean up your brushes, rollers and tray.

Condition the Paint

Three days after the second coat has dried, cover the entire surface with chalk and then erase.

After seven days you can clean the chalk, but the surface will have to be reconditioned.

Difference Between Chalk and Chalkboard Paint

The main difference between chalk and chalkboard paint is pretty simple and straightforward.

While a chalk paint can be used to paint any item for getting a chalky appearance, chalkboard paint is a kind of paint that is mainly used for making chalkboards (the flat surface to write with chalk).

If you want your walls and furnishings to have that vintage, hip appearance, then use chalk paint.

If you want to write on the paint with chalk, then use chalkboard paint.

Keep in mind that you do not want to write on chalk paint, only chalkboard paint.

That is the main difference between the two.

So, you should pick the one that best suits your needs since they are both so different in terms of how they are used.

When applied properly, both types of paints will last a long time.

However, keep in mind that the constant writing and re-writing will eventually wear down the chalkboard paint a little faster compared to chalk which should not be written on.

So if its about durability, we can say that chalk paint is more durable than as compared to chalkboard paint.

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