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Can You Paint Aluminum Siding?

Updated Nov 18, 2022

Updated Nov 18, 2022

Home > Roofing > Can You Paint Aluminum Siding?

Many homes built in the 60s, 70s, and 80s were finished with aluminum siding, a supposedly maintenance-free part of a home’s exterior. Unfortunately, old aluminum siding can look faded, chalky, or even peeled after years of sun exposure and the resulting oxidation. This process typically happens after 15 years when the initial baked-on enamel coating has washed off with storm damage and heavy rain.

Your aluminum siding may also have dents from hail, ice dams, or other harsh weather conditions. While painting your aluminum siding won’t fix the dents, it can cover them up and improve the look of your home’s exterior. 

In short, yes, you can paint aluminum siding. However, there are several things you should consider to make this home improvement project successful.

What Kind of Paint Should I Use to Paint Aluminum Siding?

brown painted aluminum siding
Image Source: Canva

A great paint job can last over 15 years, so taking your time with this project is a worthwhile investment.

Start by considering what kind of paint would be best for your project. There are a couple of options, each with its pros and cons:

  • Acrylic paint: Acrylic paint is easy to work with, dries quickly, and goes on smoothly, making it an excellent choice for painting aluminum siding. It’s reasonably priced, making it a good option for budget-conscious homeowners. However, its quick dry time means you must work fast and apply it evenly the first time. You can’t easily alter this type of paint after it dries, nor does it blend well with other pants.
  • Acrylic latex paint: Acrylic latex paint is a favorite among painting experts and can be found at any hardware store or home improvement store. Many love acrylic latex paints because they don’t bubble, adhere easily, and resist cracking, flaking, and peeling. In addition, it has a strong opacity and color retention. On the other hand, it can be slightly more prone to rust and is pricier than traditional acrylic paint.

Steps for Painting Aluminum Siding

Prepare the Aluminum Siding

Start by examining the aluminum siding for mildew, powdery paint pigment, and chalking. If you find any signs of these, take time to clean the exterior surfaces thoroughly.

Put a cover on the ground and drop cloths on nearby shrubs to protect your landscaping from drips.

Next, put on a pair of gloves and create your cleaning solution. Take a bucket and mix 1 gallon of water, 1 cup of trisodium phosphate, and 1 cup of chlorine bleach. Using this mixture, scrub the aluminum siding with a sponge, sander, or pressure washer. Alternatively, you can purchase a professional cleaning product from your local home improvement store.

If you choose a sponge, soak the sponge in your cleaning solution and scrub the sliding until clean and smooth. Then, rinse with a garden hose.

If using a pressure washer, spray large areas with the cleaning solution and aim the spray tip at an angle. Avoid shooting water under the siding. After cleaning, rinse the siding with clean water using a garden hose, sprayer, or power washer.

If you use a random orbit sander, remove paint from the siding with a 100-grit abrasive disk. Use the sander with a wet/dry vacuum with a HEPA filter and sand down to the bare metal to prepare the aluminum siding for paint. This is probably the most time-consuming of the three choices, but it does give a thorough, clean base for your paint job.

Paint the Aluminum Siding

After you’ve sanded your aluminum, deep cleaned it, and rinsed it, give it plenty of time to dry.

Then, paint the aluminum siding with one coat of acrylic primer using a paint roller or paintbrush. After the primer dries, carefully paint the aluminum siding with two coats of high-quality acrylic topcoat paint.

Remove the drop cloths after applying several coats of paint.

Spray Paint Your Aluminum Siding

An alternative to painting your aluminum siding with a paintbrush is spray painting the aluminum siding. This can be an effective and efficient way to complete an otherwise tedious and long process.

vibrant red aluminum siding
Image Source: Canva

Final Thoughts

An aluminum siding painting job can dramatically improve your home’s curb appeal and the look of the exterior paint without spending a lot of money. Above all else, take your time to perform a deep cleaning and sanding job on your aluminum siding. Skipping this step or completing it with poor workmanship will lead to bad adhesion and your new paint not applying smoothly. When done correctly, painting aluminum siding will last 15 to 20 years.

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