How to Paint Aluminum Metal

A successful aluminum paint job is the direct result of proper surface preparation, involving cleaning and priming with the right product. The Paints and Coating Resource Center recommends purchasing paint and primer from an industrial paint store rather than your local hardware store. An industrial paint store is likely to have a wider selection and you'll benefit from the specialized knowledge of its employees.

Painting Aluminum Siding

Clean the siding with a phosphate-free soap or general purpose cleaning solution and a scrub brush. Let it dry for two to three days.

Prime the siding with a thinned down, oil-based, metal priming paint. Thin one gallon of oil-based primer with one pint of paint thinner.

Finish with a high-quality, 100-percent acrylic latex exterior house paint. A paint formulated for metal siding is even better. Apply within 48 hours of applying the primer.

Paint a Small Piece of Aluminum

Degrease the piece with phosphate-free soap and water. Let it dry completely.

Apply a wash primer with a spray gun. Mix it exactly to the manufacturer's directions.

Apply and polyurethane paint or acrylic paint to the primed piece.

Things You Will Need

  • Phosphate-free soap
  • Scrub brush
  • Oil-based metal priming paint
  • Paint thinner
  • High-quality, 100-percent acrylic latex exterior house paint
  • Wash primer
  • Spray gun
  • Polyurethane or acrylic paint
  • Paint brushes


  • Consider taking small pieces to a custom coating shop for a chemical immersion to prime the piece to be painted.
  • Prime and paint siding on an overcast day.
  • Having the primer tinted to half-strength the color of the finish paint.

About the Author

Based in Fort Collins, Colo., Dannah Swift has been writing since 2009. She writes about green living, careers and the home garden. Her writing has appeared on various websites. She holds a Master of Arts in English literature from the University of New Hampshire and is currently pursuing a certificate in paralegal studies.