I've provided several links with information on how to paint aluminum siding.
Advice From the Experts
"Q. I have been wanting to paint my mobile home for some time now. The
person who owned it before me painted it an unattractive gray color.
Is there some way I can remove this paint down to the original color?
If not, what kind of paint should I use to cover it?
A. I'm guessing your siding is aluminum or steel. Before you paint, it
is best to rub the siding with paint thinner. This may not remove the
paint but it will remove dirt and grease and give you a smoother
surface for the new paint to adhere to.
The type of paint you choose should be either oil-based or water-based
latex. With an oil base paint you will first apply a zinc chromate
primer. For latex you do not need a primer, but probably two coats of
The "HELPFUL HARDWARE MAN's" Question of the Week:
"Q: Can I paint over aluminum siding to change the color of the
siding? If I can, do I need to use a specially formulated paint?
A: You can, but then the siding is no longer maintenance free. You'll
need to wash the siding first, let it dry, prime it with a metal
primer and then use a metal siding paint. Your local Ace should have
what you need for this job."
"People ask us all the time whether you can paint siding made from
aluminum or vinyl. The short answer is yes. The long answer is that it
requires the same amount of careful preparation as does painting wood
siding, or any other material when you get right down to it.
The Paint Quality Institute (PQI), the public information arm of Rohm
and Haas, a manufacturer of acrylic latex paint chemicals, has a fair
amount to say on the topic of paint in general, but also on specifics
such as painting weathered aluminum or vinyl siding. Obviously, the
company has a vested interest in acrylic latex paint, but we happen to
agree with a lot of what it has to say. In our experience, top-quality
acrylic latex paint bonds tenaciously when used over properly prepared
substrates. Besides, the company is even-handed enough to recommend
alkyd (oil-based) coatings when appropriate. We think that speaks well
of PQI. The information cited here is from a recent issue of PQI
Begin the surface-preparation regimen by cleaning the siding. Power
wash it if necessary to remove dusty particles clinging to its
surface. This layer of particles is known as chalk. Kill mildew with a
mixture consisting of three parts water, one part bleach. Thoroughly
rinse the siding, and let it dry. If areas are worn down to bare
metal, abrade the aluminum with a plastic scouring pad to remove the
surface layer of oxidation, then wipe away dust and apply an acrylic
latex primer to the bare metal.
If the surface preparation mentioned above doesn?t completely remove
chalk, then prime the entire surface with alkyd primer. Otherwise, use
an acrylic primer and top coat. When the primer is dry, top coat the
siding with 100-percent acrylic latex paint. Use a flat or low-gloss
paint if the siding is dented. Lower gloss paint has a tendency to
reduce the visibility of dents. Higher gloss paint reflects more light
and emphasizes siding damage."
We are about to purchase a home that has aluminum siding. Can aluminum
siding be painted, and if so, what is the best way to prime it and the
best kind of paint?
Aluminum siding can certainly be painted. Use a high quality paint (my
favorite is Benjamin Moore, but be sure to use a good one. With paint
you really get whatyou pay for)
Go to the paint dealer and ask what will work best for your tastes.
You will need to clean it well first (renting a high pressure washer
will make short work of that job.. just be carefull with the
pressure.. aluminum dents!) Appy the primer that is recommended for
the paint you select. The dealer will provide the best information
here. Don't cut costs and the paint job will last."
BobVila.com Message Boards
"The first is to use an oil based primer and then a latex based paint.
For subsequent repainting, use latex primer and paint and you will
have to repaint about every 10 years, depending on your weather and
The second is not to buy your paint at a home center and buy the best,
most expensive paint you can get. Go to a specialty paint store that
sells top quality paint like Sherwin-Williams or Benjamin Moore and
plan to pay around $25/gallon. I know that you can buy the same brand
cheaper at a home center but the paint companies make higher quality
paint for theirown stores and price is usually more of an issue at a
home center. But remember that if spending $10 more per gallon over
the 4 gallons or so of paint and primer that it will take will give
you 4 years or more life on the paint. That means that it is costing
you $10 not to have to repaint for another year. That is sure worth it
for me and you will get good local advise from the local paint store
at no extra."
"Whether you're talking about aluminum or vinyl, you've got to get the
surface absolutely clear," Wilhelm said. He washes the house with a
commercial degreasing cleaner; Hasson recommends using TSP, a cleaning
product available in paint stores.
A common mistake, Hasson said, is failing to rinse the TSP from the
siding. That will cause the paint to fail prematurely, he said.
Wilhelm said aluminum siding is especially prone to harboring mold or
mildew. These infestations must be removed with a mixture of one part
liquid laundry bleach diluted with four parts water.
Aluminum and steel siding usually feature a baked-on factory finish
that turns chalky with age. "You've got to remove every bit of that
chalk," Wilhelm said, explaining that the best method is with a
thorough pressure washing. "If you leave any of that chalk, the paint
will blister," he said.
Like vinyl, aluminum siding does not require a primer coat if the
paint is intact. The situation gets tricky, however, in places where
the paint has been worn down to the bare metal because of cleaning,
scrapes or other damage. In that case the metal must be primed -- but
not with conventional latex primer.
The reason is that latex-based paint contains ammonia, which reacts
chemically with aluminum and causes the paint to bubble. If you need
primer, use one formulated specifically for galvanized metal or
aluminum, Hasson said.
Once the surface has been prepared, it's time for the finish coat of
paint. Both Hasson and Wilhelm recommend spending the extra money to
purchase 100 percent acrylic latex house paint -- although this isn't
quite as crucial as with vinyl. Although aluminum siding expands and
contracts with temperature shifts, the change isn't as dramatic as
"When people try to save money on paint, it usually winds up costing
money in the long run," Wilhelm said. Because aluminum siding is a bit
more forgiving than vinyl, it's possible to use a medium-price paint
and get reasonable results, he said."
"Q: The brown aluminum siding original to our 27-year-old house is
starting to fade, especially on the sides exposed to the sun. Can this
siding be painted or should it be replaced?
A: Prepare the surface with a thorough cleaning. Remove all oxidation,
chalk, dirt and grease. This can be accomplished best by renting a
power washer, washing all areas to be painted with a strong detergent
and rinsing well.
Select a top-quality, 100 percent acrylic latex house paint. For best
results, make sure the paint is the best in a particular
Check the paint label for temperature application guidelines. Most
latex house paints require a minimum application temperature of 50
degrees. However, some allow application into the 40-degree range."
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