When aluminum finally became an accessible material for everyone, it soon became one of the most popular options for people to make tools, decorations and buildings. Aluminum is not only light, but also offers excellent protection against natural elements such as water. As if that weren’t enough, aluminum requires almost no maintenance and offers a long lifespan.
However, this does not mean that it is immune. If you want to use it as a siding for your home, you need to know a few tricks to maintain it. Of course, painting aluminum panels is one of them, believe it or not, is possible.
The popularity of aluminum grew after the end of World War II. This was intended almost exclusively for the manufacture of weapons and military vehicles, but when it was no longer needed, it became a material that was accessible to everyone. If it was used to build tanks and ships, it could be used as living space.
Although some homeowners were concerned that this material was unsightly, it turned out that it could be decorated like a normal wall with the necessary care and preparation.
Painting aluminum is so easy that you can do it yourself without hiring a professional. Today we will explain what you need to know.
Aluminum and paint are a perfect duo
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Can you paint aluminum siding? You will be happy to know that this is possible. There is no better combination than paint and aluminum. In contrast to conventional materials such as wood or plaster, paint easily adheres to aluminum.
This doesn’t mean you don’t have to apply primer, but even attaching it to the siding is easier. Part of this resistance is that the steel does not experience any noticeable changes with temperature fluctuations, so that the paint does not move from its place.
There are only two conditions for painting aluminum panels. The first is to make sure that the coating is completely clean before painting, as dust spots can affect the correct adhesion of the paint. The second condition is that the color is based on acrylic latex.
Image source: Pike awning company
Perhaps the only downside to painting aluminum is that the cost can be high, but it’s the price of a job that lasts a lifetime.
If the aluminum is in perfect condition, the best thing to try is to buy a satin paint. It doesn’t wear out quickly and since the paint surface is smooth, it’s much easier to clean. It’s also perfect if you want to keep the original coating texture.
However, if the coating is worn and has dents on the surface, you may want to buy a matte color. Since it is not glowing, the reflections and shadows of imperfections are not seen.
With these terms, you should have better judgment when choosing the perfect color for your coating. Now you can continue with the application.
Painting aluminum cladding – a guide
The coating must be flawless
As already mentioned, the first step is a thorough cleaning of the aluminum. Regardless of whether it has an old coat of paint or is just dusty, you have to remove everything until only the metal is visible.
Old paint should be scraped off and it is recommended that new sealant be applied. If you remove the paint, you can also determine whether there is mold on the aluminum. While this should have no effect, it is best to clean it before painting. To remove it, you need bleach diluted in water.
The best way to remove excess stains is to use warm water with liquid soap. A pressure washer is a faster alternative to this procedure. However, you need to be careful with the water pressure as this can damage the aluminum. Always wash from top to bottom to avoid accidents.
Some colors can only be removed with solvents. If this is the case, remember to clean the surface with water afterwards, as chemical stains also prevent the paint from adhering properly.
Prepare the surface with sandpaper
Before painting metal panels, you need to make sure the texture is rough enough so that the primer doesn’t fall off. You only need to sand the surface lightly with sandpaper.
Start with rough 80 grit paper and finish with 220 grit sandpaper for the details. As with the high-pressure cleaner, always sand from top to bottom to avoid damaging the aluminum.
Take the opportunity to repair blemishes
Painting aluminum cladding is not designed to cover up the most notable flaws in the metal. on the contrary, the color could make them stand out.
Unfortunately, if there are large gaps or dents, it is best to replace the aluminum foil completely. You can ignore small details like scratches as they will be hidden by the new coat of paint.
Choose the best moment
Image source: kimberly peck architect
The paint is heavily influenced by the weather. Moisture, wind, snow and other elements are not friends of painting, so it is always good to work on sunny or warm days.
Each paint container should contain instructions specifying the minimum temperature at which it can be used. In general, however, it is best not to paint below 10 ° C.
The other extreme is also not recommended. Too much heat can change the natural drying of the paint. The heat takes much longer to dry, which can cause paint to drip onto the coating.
Finally, consider the night temperatures. It will take some time for the paint to dry completely, and the cold of the night can affect this. In addition, dew is much more common in certain areas and at certain times of the year, and these drops are, after all, water that can damage the paint.
It is time to bloom
In order for the paint to adhere properly, you need to apply a primer to the aluminum. The best option is to apply an oil-based primer as it is much more resistant. In addition, the oil-based primer can be used with any type of color, be it matt or satin.
If your aluminum siding paint is made of acrylic, there is also a primer that can be combined with it. It adheres faster to aluminum and has no side effects, but can only be used with acrylic paint.
The third option available is a latex primer. However, it is not recommended to apply them to aluminum panels as this has adverse effects that worsen the paint.
It’s time to paint
Now that everything is ready, it’s time to paint the coating. You need to choose the right color for your primer. If you choose the acrylic option, you can enjoy a much stronger finish.
There is no special instrument for painting on aluminum. It depends on how quickly you want to get the job done or whether you need to paint small details.
Use the brushes for small areas that require attention to detail. They are not recommended for large areas as it will take a long time to complete the job.
For large areas, it is best to use a roller. This is not that expensive and you can get a smooth finish, although it will take some practice to use it well.
Finally, painting aluminum cladding can be done quickly and easily with a sprayer. All you have to do is shoot the wall and it will take care of the rest. The problem is that it is an expensive tool and there is less control over where the paint falls off.
If you choose to use the sprayer, you may want to cover doors, windows, cornices, and even your lawn with painter’s tape and plastic wrap so you don’t accidentally get them dirty. You can do this manually, but there is also an automated method that will save you time by applying tape and plastic at the same time.
You need to apply two coats for a correct finish. Wait for the first one to dry before proceeding with the second. With the right weather conditions, the first coat should dry in two hours. Before applying, check that it is dry.
Image source: Smith & Vansant Architects PC
Depending on the installation of your siding, you may need to use horizontal or vertical lines to paint it. With horizontal siding it doesn’t matter whether you go from left to right or in the opposite direction. With vertical siding, however, it is important to always start from the top.
So you already know everything you need to paint aluminum cladding. The process is very similar to a normal wall, but the materials are formulated to adhere to aluminum so you can’t use primer or paint on them.
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