Learning the proper method of painting aluminum siding is a really good idea if you happen to have this type of siding material on your house. Even though aluminum siding is an exceptionally durable material, you will still find yourself needing to paint it a few times over the years. Luckily, it's really not that difficult of a task, particularly if you follow these directions.
- Determine the actual material. Believe it or not, but "aluminum" siding isn't always made from aluminum. Often times, this type of siding is actually made from another material such as galvanized steel. The reason that you need to know the specific material that you are working with is that you really can't use any oil based paint on galvanized steel. A rather simple test is by placing a strong magnet against the siding. If it sticks then it is steel, if it doesn't then it isn't.
- Clean the siding well. Before you can actually begin painting, you will need to clean the siding well. Besides just washing the siding with soap and water, you need to scrub the surface with some sand paper. You actually want to use as little pressure as possible, to prevent any unnecessary damage to the siding, but you want to actually remove any loose paint that may be on the siding as well.
- If needed, apply primer. Another good benefit of galvanized steel siding is that you really don't need to worry about applying a primer. The reason for that is you need to use a latex based paint for that type of material. For actual aluminum based siding, you will want to use an oil based primer (as well as paint). Be sure that you choose a good quality primer (as well as paint) to use, and then apply it to the siding. Considering that oil based primer has a tendency to go on rather thin, you may want to apply more than one coating. In addition, with the sheer size of the area that you will have to work with, you may want to use a paint sprayer to apply the primer.
- Lightly sand the surface. Allow the primer to dry completely, and then go over the siding with sand paper to help smooth out, and prepare the area better for the paint. The type of sand paper that you really want to use is going to be 150 grain, and you will want to use the lightest possible touch that you can so that you don't scrape off too much of the primer.
- Paint. Apply the paint as you would any other surface. Ideally (with the area that you have to cover) you will want to cut in around the windows, and other detail areas, with a paint brush. For all other areas you will want to use a paint sprayer to get the job done. Allow the paint to dry, and then apply at least one more coat.
- Inspect, and repeat as necessary. Before you finish packing away all of your tools, you need to let the paint dry and then inspect your work. This will allow you to get a good idea of whether or not the work is actually finished. Often you will need to do a bit of touch up work to really get the look that you want. When you are happy with the results, you can then go ahead and begin packing everything up. Make sure that you clean your tools properly so that you can either use them again, or return them to the rental place with no problem.
While this method will get your aluminum siding looking nice again, there is one thing that you really should keep in mind before you begin painting. A new paint job will only look good if the siding itself is in good condition. If you are faced with siding that is too damaged to really repair, then you may want to consider installing something new. It may be more expensive than painting, but you will still have a fresh new look, and siding that will last for a good long time.
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