How to Refinish Anodized Aluminum

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Anodized aluminum is a specific type of metal, used for items in the home and on vehicles. In your own home, you may have anodized aluminum windows or even pans made from the material. Restoring the pieces is a process that involves harsh chemicals, but refinishing the pieces is a completely different process. You simply paint over the existing metal, giving it a new look, without the use of chemicals.

Things You'll Need

  • Scrub brush
  • Steel wool
  • Damp cloth
  • Masking tape
  • Old newspaper (optional)
  • Etching primer
  • Paintbrush
  • Paint, semi-gloss or gloss
  • Razor blade (optional)

Rub a scrub brush over the surface of the anodized aluminum, brushing off any dust or dirt on the piece. Go over the surface a second time, using a piece of steel wool. Move the steel wool around the aluminum, giving it a rough surface. Wipe down the anodized aluminum with a damp cloth and let dry.

Cover any areas you don’t want painted with pieces of masking tape. For larger areas, like panes of glass, cover the glass with a small piece of old newspaper and hold in place with pieces of the tape. The tape peels away quickly, without leaving any residue.

Dip the paintbrush in the etching primer and paint a thin layer on the anodized aluminum. The etching primer clings to the surface of the aluminum, making a smooth and even surface for the paint. Rinse the paintbrush with clean water and give the primer several hours to fully dry.

Touch the primer carefully, ensuring that the primer is completely dry. Paint a thin layer of paint over the surface of the primer, using smooth and even strokes. Wait until the paint dries and apply a second coat, if you want a deeper or darker color.

Peel away the tape from the anodized aluminum, once the paint finishes drying. Throw away the tape and any newspaper. Check the anodized aluminum piece carefully, looking for any signs of paint that may have dripped or rubbed onto the other areas. Gently scrape any excess paint away with a razor blade.

Tips & Warnings

  • Don't use the paint on cookware or any type of aluminum that touches food.

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