The Best Way to Paint Aluminum

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Apply an oil-based primer to aluminum before painting.
Apply an oil-based primer to aluminum before painting. (Image: brush in paint image by Vladislav Gajic from Fotolia.com)

Aluminum is a metal formed into a variety of products, from silverware and window frames to aluminum siding on a home. Paint adheres to aluminum best when preparing the metal surface correctly before adding the paint. Unclean surfaces on the metal may result in bubbling from the primer and paint. Wash and dry aluminum thoroughly before adding primer and paint.

Things You'll Need

  • Heavy-duty powdered laundry detergent
  • Bucket
  • Stiff-bristle brush
  • Garden hose
  • Oil-based primer
  • Paint pans
  • Paint brush
  • Paint rollers
  • Turpentine
  • 100 percent acrylic latex paint

Mix 3 tbsp. of heavy-duty powdered laundry detergent in a gallon bucket of warm water. Scrub the aluminum with a stiff-bristle brush. Rinse the aluminum with buckets of water or a garden hose. You may need several buckets of water depending on how large the aluminum is. Dry the aluminum with clean rags, or allow to dry for one to two days.

Apply an oil-based primer to the aluminum. Pour the primer into a paint pan. Brush or roll the primer over the aluminum, completely covering the surface. Allow the primer to dry for one to two days. Clean the rollers, brushes and paint pans with turpentine and water.

Paint the aluminum with 100 percent acrylic latex paint. Roll the paint roller in a V shape back and forth over the aluminum if painting a flat surface. Use the paintbrush to paint along edges of the aluminum. Cover the entire surface of the aluminum with the paint. Clean painting tools with the turpentine when finished.

Tips & Warnings

  • Avoid painting the aluminum in direct sunlight or in windy conditions.

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