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Tips for Painting Your Aluminum Siding

Does your home’s aluminum siding need an upgrade, but you don’t want the expense of replacing it? Many homeowners choose to paint their aluminum siding as a budget-friendly way to refresh their home’s exterior. Before painting your siding yourself, you should familiarize yourself with the expert steps required to make the finished product look great and last for years to come.

Let’s take a closer look at the following tips on how to paint aluminum:

Can You Paint Aluminum Siding?

The factory finish on your home’s aluminum siding is exposed to the elements 365 days a year. Over time, exposure to the sun and harsh weather can cause the finish to fade. Fortunately, you can paint your siding. The key is to properly prepare aluminum to achieve a long-lasting paint job. If you prep your aluminum siding panels using a quality primer and the correct type of paint, your aluminum siding can last up to 10 years before needing it done again. If you own a typical single-story home, you should plan on spending one day prepping the surface, one day putting on two coats of primer and another applying two coats of paint.

What Tools and Products Do You Need?

Having the correct equipment will make for an easy and efficient paint job. The following is a list of items you will need to prep, prime, and paint your aluminum siding:

  • Power washer
  • Cleaning agent
  • Paint scraper
  • Synthetic paint brushes for use with acrylic paint
  • Paint buckets and trays
  • Drop cloths
  • Ladders and scaffolding
  • Oil-based primer
  • Lambswool paint rollers
  • Paint sprayer
  • Acrylic exterior paint

Keep in mind that some items can be rented if you do not own them. You can also always reach out to your local painting company and ask for help with your project.

How to Prep Aluminum for Paint

The first and most important step to a great paint job is to adequately prepare the surface. Your paint will adhere better if you start with clean aluminum siding. Remove any loose paint, dirt, mildew, or chalky build-up on the surface using a paint scraper. One of the best aluminum siding cleaner products available is trisodium phosphate (TSP). Using TSP combined with a power washer is the most effective way of washing aluminum siding. Finish by sanding down any areas that need further prep and wipe them clean.

What Is the Best Primer for Aluminum Siding?

It is vital to use an oil-based primer as acrylic primers may contain ammonia. When this element is exposed to aluminum, the paint may not adhere correctly. Applying two coats of quality primer will help to seal the surface and protect it from rust. It will also improve paint adhesion, ensuring a quality finish.

Try to begin your painting project when the weather is above 60 degrees and there is no chance of rain. You can use a paint roller to apply the primer to large surface areas and a brush for hard-to-reach spaces. Move-in one direction when applying the primer, and spread evenly. An aluminum oxide primer can be purchased for a spray-on application to eliminate topcoat blistering or peeling.

What Kind of Paint Should You Use?

You should use acrylic paint. Check the label to ensure that it is the right type for aluminum siding. When choosing aluminum siding paint colors, pick one closest to the original shade or one shade lighter and avoid darker colors that will absorb heat and lead to paint failure. Choose a satin or flat finish rather than a gloss finish, as satin will do a better job of hiding flaws and is similar to the original factory finish.

Contact your local paint contractor for advice on the best type of paint for your project.

How to Paint Aluminum Siding

You can either use a roller, a synthetic brush, or a spray painter to apply paint to your aluminum siding. The fastest and most professional way to paint is with an airless sprayer. Make sure to paint the color in the direction your siding goes. For example, it would be left to right for horizontal panels. Begin at the top and work your way down, fixing any drips as you work.

Before using spray paint for aluminum siding, cover your garden areas and grass to protect them from over-spray.  Cover any windows with plastic and masking tape and always start at the top when and work your way downward. Never begin in the middle of aluminum siding panels, and spread evenly from one side to the other. This will avoid flash marks and provide an even paint finish.

After your first coat of paint has dried for a minimum of two hours, apply a second coat using either the lambswool roller or sprayer. Correct any mistakes from the first coat. After the second coat has dried, go back and inspect your work to check for missed spots, drips, or bumps. If you can still see exposed metal or siding, apply an additional coat of paint.

Remember, local professional painters will give you a free quote for your job! Contact C&M Painting today to learn more about our services.