By Amy DeYoung
Updated Mar 14, 2023
By Amy DeYoung
Updated Mar 14, 2023
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.
A great paint job can last over 15 years, making this a great low skill level home renovation idea.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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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