How to Get Professional Results Painting Aluminum and Steel Siding
To achieve professional results for your aluminum and steel siding paint job you need to imagine the job involving many steps. Each step will progress in a natural manner from one to another.
Evaluate the Condition of the Metal Siding
Every professional job should begin with an evaluation of the aluminum or steel siding’s condition. This will help you decide what you need to do to get the best foundation for the finished paint job.
Some things to look for;
- Powdery Residue
- Peeling of Previous Coatings
- Rust (Steel Siding)
- Cracked or Split Caulking
Prepare the Metal Siding
Exterior surface preparation is considered the most important part and can take the most time and effort. Before you begin mixing and applying the primer, you need to prepare the aluminum/steel for your professional paint job.
You want to use a or high quality soap (powdered is the most cost effective), a heavy sponge and scrub brush to wash, prepare and rinse down the siding. Don’t be alarmed if you see some old paint wash off. This is normal. Continue to rinse until there are no additional paint chips detected in the rinse water.
Unless you are experienced in using , do not use this tool on aluminum/steel siding paint projects. A power washer in the hands of a rookie can force water up behind the siding and cause leaks inside your home.
Allow your home to fully dry before proceeding with additional preparation or painting. 24 hours or overnight is usually enough time.
Steel siding can develop rust, especially near ground level. All rust must be neutralized before priming. Rusty areas can be wire brushed or sanded to remove any flaking/loose rusted metal. Next, all rust must be neutralized using a . There are many on the market and all work the same way, they convert rusted metal into black stabilized metal ready for primer.
Caulk or reseal any areas that were previously sealed with a good siliconized acrylic or . The extent depends on how the siding was installed, but will include around windows and doors. Normally corners or the siding to the corners isn’t needed as this usually is a metal corner designed to act as a flashing.
Choose the Correct Primer for the Metal Type
The primer is also as important as the paint. You must use a primer on aluminum or steel siding to create a bond and barrier between the aluminum/steel siding and the finish paint.
Choosing a is very important because most latex paint, including latex primer, contains ammonia. If ammonia comes in contact with oxidized aluminum, it releases a gas, which causes small bubbles to form between the primer and the surface of the metal. The result is poor adhesion. The paint will separate from the siding prematurely.
One formula many painting contractors use to prime aluminum or steel siding is made by thinning down oil based metal primer. When they do this, they start with one gallon of high quality oil based primer. Then they thin this by adding one pint of paint thinner.
Paint Your Aluminum or Steel Siding
After the preparation is complete, you need to choose the best exterior paint and application method for your project. The most common exterior painting method for aluminum and metal siding is brushing or spraying. You may also use a roller depending on the width of the siding.
Standard high quality 100% acrylic exterior paint is the best choice for painting aluminum and steel siding is most environments. Choose a satin sheen as this will shed water easier than flat and look good longer. A higher sheen can be used if desired.