Q&A: How Can I Make 30-Year Old Aluminum Siding Look Better?

Q: The aluminum siding on my house has growths on it and the paint seems to be rubbing off. Other than this the siding is in good shape. What can I do to make it look better?
A: Painting is the easiest and most economical option for renewing the look of tired aluminum siding. There are three reasons I recommend painting in your case:

* It’ll be much less expensive than replacing all that metal with vinyl.

* The physical durability of aluminum is better than vinyl.

* Sprucing up the aluminum also saves lots of resources, so it’s good for the environment.

New paint applied to aluminum siding can last a long time as long as you follow a few unique details. Begin by washing the surface in the same way you’d tackle the outside of your car, but with a little more vigour. Scrub with warm, soapy water and a brush. Rinse well to remove dirt, soap residue and oxidized paint. You might be tempted to use a pressure washer here, but that’s not a great idea. It’s all too easy for water to be forced up underneath the siding and into window trim. And besides, scrubbing with a brush removes dirt, chalky old paint and mold better than a pressure washer. Don’t settle for anything remaining on the old siding. It needs to be perfectly clean before proceeding. Let the siding dry for a couple of good days, then get ready to paint.

The key to successful painting of aluminum siding is oil-base primer. As good as latex primers are these days, don’t use them in this situation because chemicals in the mix will react with the aluminum. That said, the paint itself should be the highest grade of 100% acrylic exterior latex you can find. Let the oil-based primer dry for a week, then apply two coats of latex paint. A flat or low-sheen formulation looks best on siding. It doesn’t show imperfections like high-gloss paints do. For the best possible results, consider spray application. If that’s a problem, experiment with rollers. You’ll get faster coverage than with a brush and a more even result.


Posted on January 25th, 2018


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