How to Paint Aluminum Siding in 7 Simple Steps (Plus Video)

How to Paint Aluminum Siding

 So many houses make use of aluminum as a material for sidings. This is an alternative to wood sidings as aluminum is dent-resistant, insect-proof, and is not flammable because it is metal.

Why Use Aluminum Siding

Aluminum sidings are preferred on areas where bushfires are common. It is also a good choice for people living in coastal communities where moisture and salt spray in the air. This is because aluminum does not absorb moisture like wood sidings.

Also, if you are living in places where there is extreme cold, using aluminum is more advisable than using vinyl.

This is because extreme weather does not affect aluminum, whereas plastic tends to be brittle during severe cold and result to crack.

Once a crack appears, the water will get under the siding and will cause several problems in the future.

Also, when compared to steel siding, aluminum does not rust.

As a matter of fact, aluminum is waterproof and hence provides excellent home protection against moisture problems.

Moreover, aluminum siding insulates a home better than vinyl siding. By using aluminum, any homeowner can save a huge amount of money on heating and cooling costs.

Lastly, aluminum sidings are very light and easy to install. This will save you bucks from having multiple and more massive labor contracts.

Disadvantages of Aluminum Sidings

main using paint spraying aluminum siding

As every material there is, aluminum sidings also have disadvantages. This type of siding does result in an industrial look.

If you are after the appearance and is living in an upscale neighborhood, aluminum may not be the best option for you.

If you prefer a look which adds warmth and aesthetics, you may consider using something like vinyl instead.  

Another disadvantage is that aluminum sidings are generally noisy.

When it is hit by the wind, it will rattle slightly and cause loud metal sounds. This can be heard even in the slightest wind conditions.  

Also, unlike vinyl siding, aluminum sidings usually require repainting ever now and then. The colors are not baked on to the siding so the sun may cause a lot of damage to it. The color may only last half as long as vinyl.

Painting Aluminum Sidings

An alternative to replacing a siding made of aluminum when it is time is by simple repainting them. It is easier and more cost-effective that way.

The good thing about this is that repainting does not require you to seek the help of a professional painter.

The process is pretty much straight-forward and can be done by any do-it-yourself (DIY) enthusiast. Read on to learn how.

1. Clean the siding thoroughly

When cleaning the siding, it is more advisable to make use of a power washer. Angle the spray in the same direction as for how rain would generally hit the house.

Remember that washing from the bottom up may cause various damage to the siding.

You may also make use of a power or pressure washer in cleaning the siding for faster cleaning.

It offers higher pressure ranging from 2000 pressure per square inch (psi) to 2800 psi for the gas powered washer. Meanwhile, for an electric machine, weight ranges from 1300 psi to 1700 psi.

You can just borrow a washer especially if you are seldom going to use it. They are also available to be rented in hardware stores. 

new house aluminum siding

If you are using any chemical in cleaning the siding, make sure that you rinse the surface thoroughly. The residual material chemical can damage your painting process.

If there are stains in your sidings which cannot be removed by just washing the surface with water, make sure of laundry detergent.

To do this, merely combine ¼ cup of soap and 4 gallons of water.

Also, it is essential to check the surface for any chalking or any powdery substance. This can be done by just rubbing your hand along the siding.

If there is, you can easily remove this by using a detergent which has trisodium phosphate (also referred to as TSP).  

2. Sand down the siding

Another way to prepare the siding is by sanding it down to clean up the surface. You may want to use rough sandpaper (80 grit) and then gradually finish with fine sandpaper (220 grit) to even the surface. 

Make sure you sand down in only one direction. Check your siding from top to down to make sure that you were able to remove all the metal filings, as well as any chipped paint. 

If you are going to use a power sander, see to it that you are careful enough to prevent any type of damage on the surface.

Also, as a precautionary measure, remember not to use any sandpaper which is less than 80 grit. It may cause permanent damage to the surface area.

3. Select the correct primer

In choosing your primer, look for an oil-based one. Oil-based primers absorb the chalking pigment. Moreover, it and acts as an extra layer of protection.

workshop with different set of paints

If you prefer an acrylic primer, you may do so use. Acrylic primers provide a stable base while sticking to metal and not reacting to any oxidation on the siding.

Remember that acrylic primer should only be used on acrylic paint. 

You should not use latex primer because most of the time it contains ammonia. Ammonia is not good for aluminum because it reacts over time and forms microscopic gas bubbles.

Furthermore, this combination will give rise to the premature failure of the primer which in result removing the paint from the surface or the siding.

4. Select the correct paint

What to choose: acrylic exterior grade paint. This is best for aluminum surfaces because it is an an-season pant, which means it can hold up better whatever the season is.

Moreover, acrylic paints cover better and are less like to fade away. This way you will not have to repaint over and over more frequently. 

What to refrain from high gloss paints as it reflects the sun's glare. 

Also, if there is an option between eggshell or satin, go for the satin finish because it is more flattering for your home. The satin finish wears better than a matte finish.

5. Prime the siding using a paint roller

First, coat the roller with primer. Then, roll along the panel of siding quickly but with even pressure to be followed by moving backward in the opposite direction.

Doing this will ensure for an even and complete coat to been applied. 

It will only take you a few seconds in applying the primer. You may want to use at least two coats to ensure full coverage.

The introduction should be thin enough so it will dry fast. Hence, do not worry if you can see some parts of the metal through the primer. 

Begin priming at one end of the siding. Do not mix up directions so your priming ins cleaner.

man spray painting wall

By working from one side to another, as opposed to simply starting on a random area, the primer will dry evenly. This way you will avoid visible lines dry while in the process of priming.

Allow for the primer to dry in between coats.

Time of full drying can vary between brands but make sure you do this otherwise it will result in peeling or bubbling up. Usually, it takes four hours to dry the primer thoroughly.

6. Paint the siding

A proper technique in painting the siding is to do it in long and even strokes. Keep in mind not to overdo it. One indicator of exaggerating painting is when your paint drips down too much on the surface.

man spray painting wall

To avoid paint dripping and bubbling, work your way from top to bottom. When covering a horizontal siding, paint from one direction to another (e.g., from left to right).

This way you do not ruin your paint, and you also will not miss any spot.  

Usually, the painting will take two hours to dry. Refrain from poking the covered surface as you will just scrape it.

One way to test if the surface is already dry and ready is by touching the siding with your finger.

If the paint no longer feels sticky, then it is good to go. You may now apply the next coat. Otherwise, wait some more time before doing another layer.

7. Apply more coating

When your first coat is already completely dry, you can now apply the second layer. However, before doing so, check the texture of the painted surface.

If you feel like there are any bumps or uneven feeling, you should sand it first before applying the second coating.

Remember to be gentle in sanding because if you are too harsh, you may scrape off the first coating and ruin it. Always check that the previous coat is already dry and smooth before applying another layer.

In case you stripped off an amount of paint while sanding, dab first on some primer to cover the aluminum before spraying on the area.

It is not required for everyone to spray a second coat on their target surface.

However, one advantage of doing so is that it will make your paint more durable. This way you will be required to repaint and repaint every once in a while.  

Check out this video to see how to get started:

Other Helpful Tips to Consider

house wall


In painting your aluminum sidings, you may also want to consider the following:

Decide on your painting method

In choosing which tool to use, make sure you know the best option given the situation of your project.

Paintbrush – the cheapest tool you can make use of. However, if you are going to paint your sidings with this, it may take more time. 

Paint rollers – these tools are moderately-priced and easy to use. 

Paint sprayers – most expensive among the options. However, if your priority is efficiency, you should definitely go for this one.

Keep in mind that when using paint brushes or rollers, choose the synthetic fiber brushes or the lambswool roller. Using these tools will result in a better and smooth finish.  

Now if you are using a paint sprayer, choose the gun with the narrow tip or nozzle for a smooth and precise application.

Take note of the weather condition

Each product performs differently on different weather conditions. However, remember not to paint if the temperature is 50 degrees Fahrenheit or 10 degrees Celsius. 

It is also not advisable to paint on rainy days because moisture from dew or rain may ruin the application of paint.  

Begin covering the portion gets the most shade from the sun. Painting in direct sunlight will definitely cause cracks and bubbles since it will dry too fast.

Because of this, these bubbles or cracks will have to be sanded out after drying. This will give you extra work, and you don't want that right?

The good thing about painting to repainting aluminum sidings is that it can be done by anyone. You will not have to hire a professional to do this job for you.

Hence you will save bucks of money just by following the steps above.

Wrap Up

To summarize, you can repaint your surface by following these steps: first, clean the target surface. Do this thoroughly with water and/or chemical products, but make sure you rinse the area properly.

Next is to even the surface by sanding it down. Next is applying the correct type of primer and paint to make sure you get the best results.

After this, create the next layer of coating. However before doing the second layer make sure the first one is clean and the surface does not have any lumps.

A beneficial tip in the painting is by doing it in one uniform direction to the other. Do not ruin your project by starting in the middle and going left or right, up or down.  

More than the actual priming and painting, an essential part of work is actually concentrated on the preparation stage.

Before starting working, study the correct tools and materials to be used. This way your painting will be interrupted. Instead, it will go smoothly and will give you the best results.

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