Aluminum siding is fantastic. It won’t rot, it withstands the elements, and it will last for generations. Unfortunately, older aluminum siding can wind up looking tired and worn. But it can be brought back to life with a fresh coat of paint. Painting aluminum can be tricky. If done right, your house will look like new. If done poorly, well, most people can picture what a poor painting job will look like. Here’s how you can have your aluminum siding looking like new again, for the cost of your paint and a bit of work.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Rub your finger across your aluminum siding. Are you left with a chalky residue on your hand? This residue must be completely cleaned away. Many people rush into painting and skip this step, but cleaning the siding is a vital step in the process. Take the time to clean it and remove all peeling paint.

Latex paint and aluminum do not mix. Latex paint, even primer, has ammonia. Ammonia reacts with aluminum, creating a small amount of gas. The latex paint is elastic, so you can wind with gas bubbles under the paint. For proper adhesion and a long-lasting paint job, choose an oil based primer, and top coat it with an acrylic paint.

Sunny days may seem like the perfect time for painting your house, but when it comes to painting, this is not always the case. Be sure that you do not paint under direct sunlight, or on days when it’s very windy. These weather conditions can actually shorten the life-span of your fresh paint job.

Do it Right

#1 Plan on doing one side at a time. You don’t want to allow too much time between these steps. If you do the entire house at every step, you could easily have too large a time gap. Focus on one side of the house at a time, and gradually work your way around.

#2 Scrub the siding. Take the time to go over it carefully with a soapy sponge. All mildew should be removed. All flaking paint should be gone. You should continue washing and scrubbing the siding until you are no longer seeing paint pigment in the rinse water. Think twice before taking your power washer to the siding. Being overzealous with the washer can drive water behind the siding. The power washer also will not get all the residue and dirt off the house; you will still have to scrub it down with soap. And when you are done, you should be able to rub your hand over the siding without having chalky residue left on your hand.

#3 Prepare the primer. An oil based metal priming paint should be thinned down. You should mix one pint of paint thinner with one gallon of a good, high quality, oil based primer. This primer is vital to stop the reaction between the aluminum and your paint. It will help your paint adhere, and give you the look you want. You can also have the primer tinted to a shade about half as dark as your final color.

#4 Paint within 48 hours. Choose acrylic latex exterior house paint for your finished top coat. Spend the extra money for a high quality so that you won’t have to repaint in two years. And remember, you don’t want to paint in the bright sun or on windy days. Paint on cooler days when there little or no wind.

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