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REAL ESTATE

How to Paint Aluminum Siding

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painting aluminum siding

If you have aluminum siding on your home, a fresh coat of paint can protect it and keep your home looking its best.

New paint formulations now hold up against the elements and resist fading, and paint can be custom mixed in an infinite array of colors. Once you've chosen a brand to work with, make sure you have a quality primer that works best with the color you will apply.

If you intend to paint a section of your home's exterior -- perhaps a wall that's been stained or damaged -- you'll have to mix and test a few color batches before finding a color to match the other surfaces. The instructions below offer guidance in applying latex exterior paint, which is fast-drying and avoids the use of solvents.

Proper preparation will ensure a good-looking and long-lasting finish. Inspect your siding, and look for small dents, holes, and any damaged sections.

How to paint aluminum siding

1. Clean siding

Using fine steel wool, smooth out any rough areas on the siding. Thoroughly clean the siding and allow it to dry before painting. Mild detergent or other cleaner specifically formulated for aluminum siding should be used.

2. Caulk

Wherever two building materials join, use caulk to provide weather resistance. Apply caulk around all openings, sealing outlet seams, windows, and doors where aluminum J-channels and any trim meet window casing. If you have dents or holes to patch, use auto body filler and mix and apply according to product instructions. Remove excess with a putty knife and smooth down. After drying time, sand to a smooth finish.

3. Paint

Apply the primer according to the manufacturer's instructions. After the primer has dried for the recommended time -- not just dry to the touch -- apply an exterior latex house paint. Take breaks to step back and inspect your progress, looking for even application. Cut in corners and around doors or windows carefully. An angled brush makes this easier. Using short strokes, paint from wet sections into unpainted surfaces, then smooth out.

A couple things to keep in mind: Be sure your ladder is always steady and level and always wear a NIOSH-approved respirator to avoid breathing in paint particles.

What you'll need for the job

  • Latex metal primer or other primer for aluminum siding
  • Latex exterior house paint
  • Steel wool, fine grades
  • Mild detergent or cleanser
  • Sponges or scrub pads and rags
  • Bucket
  • Flexible caulk
  • Caulking gun
  • Two-part auto body filler, putty knife, and sandpaper, as needed
  • 4-, 5-, or 6-inch wall brush
  • Ladder
  • Respirator