What Type of Paint Should You Use for Aluminum?
So, you want to paint some things around your house and some of those things are made from aluminum. Can you paint over aluminum in exactly the same fashion that you would paint wood or does it require some extra steps? More importantly, what kind of paint do you need to use when you’re painting aluminum? Will just any paint do or does it have to be something that’s specially formulated for metal? What are the chances the paint you’re using needs to be formulated specifically for aluminum, not just any metal? Fortunately, you can get answers to all of these questions and more by reading through this article. By the time you’re finished, you will have a much better idea of what you need to do to properly paint aluminum. Furthermore, you won’t have to worry about the paint not covering the surface well or flaking off the first time a good wind storm comes through.
What Kind of Paint Should You Use?
It probably won’t come as much of a surprise that aluminum needs to be painted with paint that is specifically designed for this particular type of metal. If you have questions about whether or not the paint you want to use will work well, look at the information included on the label that comes with the paint. It will tell you whether or not that particular paint can be used on metal. If you really want to kick things up a notch, you can even go a step further and purchase paint that is specifically designed to be used on aluminum, not just metal in general. This often works better for aluminum surfaces because aluminum is often slicker than other types of metal, thereby making it more difficult for most paints to stick. Conversely, a paint that is designed specifically for use with aluminum surfaces doesn’t have a problem adhering to that particular type of metal. Therefore, it’s not as likely that you will be forced to apply as many coats. In addition, it will probably make your job a lot easier and make the project come out looking better, too. Even if you’re meticulous and you try your absolute hardest, the outcome is unlikely to be good if you’re using a paint that simply isn’t designed for the particular metal that you’re painting over.
Are There Other Alternatives?
If you absolutely can’t find a paint that is designed to paint over aluminum, all is not lost. Truth be told, you shouldn’t have a problem finding it, especially if you avoid the big box stores and go to a store that is dedicated to home improvements or more specifically, paint. However, things do happen and sometimes you need to paint something made out of aluminum when you just don’t have access to paint that is made specifically for this type of surface. If that’s the case, there are a couple of different things that you can do to make the job go a bit easier. For starters, you can take some sandpaper and rub the aluminum surface that you want to paint until you rough it up a bit. The idea is to make it easier for the paint to adhere to the surface. You don’t want to go crazy with this, as it can damage the surface. Just do enough to make it easier for the paint to stick. Another thing you can do is apply a primer before you paint. Most primers are designed to help paint stick to the surface in question. A good primer will help you get the paint to stick with fewer coats, meaning that you end up doing less work even though you’re still using a primer before you paint. Make sure you’re using a primer made for metal. Once you do that, you have a few more options available to you concerning the type of paint you can use.
Prepare the Surface
Aluminum is no different than any other surface that you would want to paint. It has to be properly prepared in order for the paint to stick. Otherwise, you’re going to have a job that looks sloppy, even under the best circumstances. In a worst-case scenario, you could very well end up with paint that is running all over the place, not covering the surface evenly, and that has to be reapplied several times. It’s actually much easier to properly prepare the surface first and then do your painting. It might seem like you’re saving time by going straight to the paint, but in the long run, you’ll only end up frustrating yourself.
In order to properly prepare an aluminum surface for painting, the first thing you have to do is make sure that any previous paint that had been applied is effectively removed. This can be done by sanding it away or using a paint remover that is safe for aluminum. Regardless of the technique you decide to go with, your next step will be to wash the surface thoroughly. You don’t want to have any particles left behind to paint over, nor do you want to have any chemicals present on the surface from the paint removal process. A good washing with soap and water will get the job done. If you’re going to prime the surface, make sure that it’s thoroughly dried before you begin. The same thing goes for painting the surface if you plan to skip the primer.
Last but not least, paint the surface, being sure not to use too much paint at any one given time. The last thing you want to do is end up with so much paint that it’s running all over the place. This will also cause problems with the paint drying properly. Instead, apply a light coat, allow it to dry completely, and then apply a second coat. If the surface in question will be outside a great deal, it’s also a good idea to cover it with a clear coat so that it’s better protected. Doing so will also keep the paint from fading for a longer period of time.