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How to Paint Aluminum Siding

How to Paint Aluminum Siding
Painting aluminum siding is one of those tasks that a lot of homeowners would love to learn. As you know, most of the siding used for various houses today is made of aluminum. What started as a cheaper alternative to traditional finished products can now be found on several different kinds of houses that are in varying price range.

It has been proven to be a great choice for several situations. In addition, it has a much cheaper installation cost and it is very durable as well. In fact, most of the aluminum siding options are maintenance free.

But the question that comes to mind to various homeowners who have aluminum siding is on whether this type of siding material can be possibly painted. Indeed, the aluminum siding can be possibly painted and this article will give you tips on how to paint aluminum siding.


A well prepared surface is important before you begin painting your aluminum siding. You have to make sure that there are no underlying problems before you begin painting the aluminum siding. Check if the siding needs any repair or if there are loose pieces of nails. Doing a closer inspection of the house can reveal any decayed wood, including insect damage and moisture damage right below the siding. Any of the structural problems must be addressed right before you begin painting.

Cleaning the Siding

If you feel that the siding is dirty, then the siding must be cleaned before you start to paint. In addition, the paint on the aluminum could become chalky. Try wiping your hand across the surface and if a powdery residue will come off, then that means that the surface is dirty and it must be washed. Just like the vinyl siding, the aluminum siding could also develop mildew and molds right on the surface. Dust is a major problem on areas that cannot be washed off by rainfall. You can make use of a pressure washer in cleaning the siding if you own one. However, you have to be careful not to force the washer below the siding, most especially on the doors and windows. A great alternative is to make use of towels, mops, scrub brushes and brooms in hand washing the surface.

It is important that you also know how to exercise safety. This is especially true if you need to use ladders in cleaning and painting. The soap is slippery and thus, extra care must be taken. A solution of water and chlorine bleach can be used, along with a laundry detergent. This mixture can make an economical and effective cleaner for the aluminum siding. Make sure that you thoroughly rinse off the surface with clean water and to allow it to dry right before painting.

When it comes to stubborn stains, you can simply remove it with the use of a normal washing cleaner. This might be labor intensive, but it could work in various situations. Make sure that you use a generous amount in a well moistened towel and then scrub the surface off and rinse it well.

You also need to check if there are any dents on the aluminum siding and if there are any holes due to stray nails. These can be repaired using an exterior grade spackling. You might also notice some cracks in between the siding as well as other surfaces that might look better if they are filled with caulk. Make use of a paintable acrylic caulk for the aluminum siding. Be very careful when smoothing the caulk with the use of a finger especially when it comes to the aluminum siding since the edges are often very sharp. Make sure not to caulk right below the laps of the siding in order to allow for the expansion and the contraction of the siding.

Primers for Aluminum Siding

You may want to learn more about using primers for aluminum siding. So the question that a lot of homeowners who have aluminum siding would ask, will the siding need a primer when painted? The answer will basically depend on certain factors. Are there any discolorations or stains in your siding? Do you want the paint to last longer? If the answer is yes, then definitely, primers are needed.

If you are not certain whether you need primer or not, then you may want to do an adhesion test. With the use of a finish paint of your choice, paint a small area of the aluminum siding. Let the paint to dry for several days. It is very important that you allow the paint to reach into its maximum adhesion and that you can test the adhesion by means of scraping it using your fingernails or perhaps by sanding it. Another way is to pull a masking tape off in a quick manner. If the paint will come off easily, then you definitely need primer.

When using primer, make sure that you choose the primer that is a hundred percent acrylic. This is usually called the acrylic bonding primer and these primers could adhere to almost any kind of surface which provides an excellent undercoat for the recently painted surface. These are indeed very durable. To achieve a much better color coverage, it is also a good idea that the primer is tinted in a shade that closely resembles that of the finished paint.

Next, you need to test both the paint and the primer over any kind of stain that might possibly bleed through. This is not often a problem when it comes to painting over a siding. If the stain will bleed through, a primer that’s exterior grade might be required. Any of your local paint dealers should be able to suggest to you the proper product but this will depend on your preferences and your needs.

Paints For Aluminum Siding

You have to make sure that you also choose the most suitable paint color. Choosing the color to paint your aluminum siding, you might be restricted to lighter colors. Painting the siding with darker shades could make the siding to warp and if possible, check with the siding manufacturer to determine what color you can use in painting the siding. It is also a good idea to make sure that the finish coat of the paint is of acrylic exterior grade. It is best to buy the best grade of paint for your aluminum siding. The better grades can resist fading and are more durable as well. They can also cover better and are much easier to apply.

The paint that results to a sating or eggshell finish is a great choice. They look better as well without so many glares as a result of higher gloss paints. When exposed to rainfall, this type of paint could wash off better as compared to the flat paint. If the need arises, they can be possibly washed in order to renew their original appearance.

Acrylic paint can be applied with the use of synthetic bristle brushes. The brush size will depend on what you are painting but the 2 ½ or 3 inch brush will work pretty well in various situations. The size of the brush can be matched with the height or width of the siding in order to maximize the brush work. Huge areas of the siding can be sprayed efficiently but using spray equipment is necessary. Using a roller and a handle extension is almost as fast as spraying,

Make sure that you plan your work in a way that you will always be painting right on the shady side of the house. This is way better for the painter. It is also important to avoid applying the paint on a hot surface. Usually, the siding has a tendency to become hot during summer and this will cause the paint to dry up too quickly. The wet edge must be maintained as much as possible. Painting across the siding from one end to another can help to prevent lap marks.

Step by Step Process of Painting

So now that you know a lot of things about painting your aluminum siding, you should be ready to start. So here are the steps:

  • In everything that you will do, it is important to begin by preparing the things you will need. Among the things you need are pressure washing, wooden stick, Emulsa bond, five gallon bucket, exterior acrylic latex and four inch latex paint brush.
  • Once you have all the materials available, the next thing to do is to clean off the aluminum siding using the tips stated above. And again, if you have a power washer, you might as well use this but make sure that you use it in a low setting or you could end up with dents on the surface. Afterwards, allow the siding to completely dry off.
  • Pour the exterior acrylic latex paint to a five gallon bucket. Next, stir it in one pint of an exterior latex paint adhesive including the Emulsa bond. Use the wooden stick to stir. The paint additive helps to improve the exterior latex paint adhesion which helps to make the paint to stick even in hard to coat areas of the aluminum.
  • The next step is to apply the paint made of exterior acrylic using a paintbrush. Leave it to dry for up to two hours and then apply another coat if possible.
  • Do not ever attempt to paint on the aluminum siding without adding an exterior paint additive like the Emulsa bond, or else, you will soon be seeing peeling areas.

Maintenance of the Painted Aluminum Siding

The painted aluminum siding will no longer need any more maintenance as compared to other painted surfaces. The areas that are exposed to rainfall will pretty much be naturally washed, however, overhangs as well as covered areas might have to be washed yearly. Light washing using detergent must be enough to improve its appearance. You may also need to purchase some extra paint or preserve the leftover paint.

It is also important that you know the proper way of storing the paint. Thus, any unused paint should be stored in a temperature controlled area. Proper storing can help to extend the life of the paint that will come in handy for any future touch ups. Jot down the color name, brand and color formula and base which you can refer to for future reference, just in case you need to do some repainting jobs. Another thing that you can do is to paint a card or a piece of cardboard and then keep it as reference.