4 Steps for Painting Aluminum
– Things to do before painting aluminum
– Step 1: Degrease the aluminum surface
– Step 2: Sand the aluminum
– Step 3: Apply a primer
– Step 4: Paint the aluminum
Painting aluminum is possible. But aluminum is a smooth surface that requires preparation before painting.
Aluminum surfaces are often anodized: the surface is protected by an oxidation layer that helps prevent rusting and increases its strength. This protective layer also prevents the paint from adhering to the surface.
Before painting aluminum, degrease and sand the surface to clean, and the paint can adhere.
Tip: If you are unsure if the surface you are painting is aluminum, test it by putting a magnet on it. If the magnet holds, then the surface is not aluminum.
Before painting aluminum
Which paint to paint aluminum?
To paint aluminum, you can use acrylic latex paint (water phase), glycerol (solvent phase), or epoxy (solvent phase).
There are commercially available paints in spray cans or jars, with which you can paint aluminum directly without applying a primer (or undercoat).
It is, however, preferable to apply a special aluminum primer to prepare the surface. There are anti-rust primers that protect the aluminum and allow the paint to adhere.
What if the aluminum is oxidized?
If the aluminum is oxidized, degrease the surface, sand it to remove rust and paint before treating the rust with a rust converter.
The rust converter is applied with a brush on the rust stains. It changes color as it dries. Once the product is dry, you can use a primer or paint of your choice.
1. Degrease the aluminum surface
Acetone is a volatile liquid, and it evaporates very quickly, so remember to ventilate the room and wear household gloves to protect your hands.
Degrease the aluminum with acetone or methylated spirits:
– Soak a lint-free cloth in acetone or rubbing alcohol.
– Rub the aluminum surface to degrease it.
– Let dry.
2. Sand the aluminum
Sanding is an essential step in removing the protective coating on the aluminum and any rust and paint marks. Proper sanding will increase the adhesion of the surface so that you can paint the aluminum.
Sand the aluminum with sandpaper. Use a sander if you are sanding a large area. Use a sanding block and fine-grit paper. Sand the surface in regular back and forth motions. Once the surface is sanded, dust and rinse with clean water, then allow drying.
3. Apply a primer
You can apply the primer with a brush or a short nap roller.
To apply the primer:
– Mix the primer with a stick.
– If using a brush to apply the primer:
◦ Dip the brush into the pot without completely dipping the brush bristles.
◦ Wring out the brush on the edges of the pot.
– If using a roller to apply the primer:
◦ Pour the primer into a paint tray.
◦ Dip the roller into the paint tray without fully submerging the roller sleeve.
◦ Wring out the roller by running it over a spinning rack.
– Apply the primer in vertical strips.
– Crisscross the passes by painting horizontal strips and be sure to cover the entire surface.
– Allow drying before painting the aluminum.
4. Paint the aluminum
You can paint the aluminum when the primer is completely dry.
Depending on the surface you are painting, you can paint the aluminum with a roller, a brush, or a spray can.
Material to paint aluminum.
Roller Starting at $5
Rustproofing primer Starting at $10
Sanding block About $6
Sanding paper About $5 for 3 sheets