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In this paper, we observe the lifetime characteristics of a single-sustainer-driven ac plasma display panel (PDP) based on the variation of luminance which is one of the important points to be considered for a practical application. It was found that the application of bipolar sustain pulse waveforms for the sustain discharge deteriorated the long-term lifetime characteristics in single-sustainer driving compared to conventional monopolar pulse driving. This phenomenon was investigated through 3-D discharge cell simulation. In the sustain operation using the bipolar sustain pulses, it was found that more amount of ion energy was transferred to the surface of the phosphor layer. Moreover, the temporal variation of the luminance in the PDP is assumed to be related to the phosphor deterioration resulting from the ion bombardment or the redeposition of the sputtered Mg particles from the protecting layer. In order to decrease the deterioration of the phosphor layer, we modified the address electrode potential to be floated during the sustain discharge. The calculated ion energy to the phosphor surface decreased with the modified waveforms in the discharge cell simulation. Furthermore, the same effect was observed in the conventional monopolar pulse driving, which led the improvement of lifetime characteristics. The effect of the modified waveforms was also verified through experiments in the test panel.