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How to Paint Aluminum Siding With a Roller and Sprayer

Aluminum siding is a great product for creating a beautiful exterior on your home. The problem with aluminum siding is that it lasts longer than the beautiful finish lasts, and it can start to fade and look less attractive. When the siding does fade, it is natural to wonder if you could possibly paint it and breathe new life into it.

A lot of people will tell you that you cannot paint aluminum siding. People will tell you the paint will not adhere to the siding. Our experts say that you can paint aluminum siding, and you can make that siding look as good as new. The following advice will help you to bring your siding back to life with a new color.

Painting Aluminum Siding – DIY Tips


You can paint aluminum siding. You can create a beautiful and lasting painted finish on aluminum siding. You do not need to spend a fortune on special equipment to paint siding. You do not have to be an expert at painting in order to get a professional looking finish when you paint.

You have already taken the most important step to painting your aluminum siding. You have asked the question, “can I paint my aluminum siding”? You have also gone in search of the facts.

Before you can paint your aluminum siding you will need to clean your siding. The paint you want to apply is going to adhere better if the siding is cleaned.

Your siding may have a chalky film on it. This is a normal condition of the aluminum siding after a few years of exposure to the sun, and elements. Cleaning the siding will remove that chalky film.

Your siding still needs to be cleaned even if it does not appear dirty or chalky.  The cleaning solution designed for this job will prepare your siding to receive paint. This is a crucial step.

Siding Cleaner

You need to purchase a cleaner that is made to clean the aluminum siding.

TSP Cleaners

These cleaners are readily available in both liquid and powdered form. They contain trisodium phosphate. Trisodium phosphate is a very effective cleaning agent. The problem with trisodium phosphate is that it is very harsh and it can, and will, kill plants and grass that it comes into contact with.

To protect your plants and flowers while you are using the TSP cleaning solution you can spray water on the plants prior to using the cleaner. The water on the plants will reduce the damages the TSP can do.

Non-TSP Cleaners

You can use a cleaner that does not contain TSP if you are worried about destroying any plants or flowers. Simple Green is available at most stores that sell cleaning supplies and it can effectively clean the siding. Simple Green will not harm any plant life that it comes into contact with.

Power washing is the easiest way to clean your aluminum siding. When you use a power washer you eliminate having to do a lot of scrubbing or rubbing to remove dirt and debris. The power washer uses the force of water to blast the dirt, grime, and film off of the siding.

If you do not have access to a power washer you can wash your siding by hand. It will take you a little longer to hand wash the siding, but you can do this.

Priming the Siding

Priming the Siding

Once the siding is clean and completely dry you will assess it to see if primer is needed. If the aluminum is not showing through the coating of the siding then you can more than likely paint the siding without applying primer.

If you can see the aluminum then you have to apply primer. If you can see the aluminum then the coating is peeling away from the metal and will eventually allow the paint you apply to peel away. The primer will seal the metal and stop blistering, and peeling of the finish paint.

Peeling Paint on Siding

If your siding has paint peeling you must scrape the peeling paint with a stiff bristled brush to clean it. Peeling and flaking paint will cause your paint job to:

  • Look unprofessional
  • Take longer to complete
  • Not last as long

How to paint aluminum siding with a roller

how to paint aluminum siding with a roller

You can paint your aluminum siding using a traditional paint roller. You will need:

  • Paint (preferably NOT a latex paint)
  • Paint pan
  • Roller
  • Roller extension pole
  • Ladder

You are going to need to keep the following things in mind while you are painting the siding with a roller.

  • You want to apply two coats of paint instead of one thick coat
  • Let the primer, and the first coat of paint dry completely before you try to put another coat on
  • Apply the paint according to the direction of the siding. If the siding pieces run up and down then paint up and down. If the siding pieces run from side to side then paint from side to side. This will affect your finish greatly.

Load your roller and run the roller over the ribbed section of the paint pan so that excess paint is left in the pan. If you have excess paint on your roller it will cause runs and drips that mar the finish of the siding.

Paint aluminum siding with sprayer

Use a firm and steady pressure while you are applying the paint. If you apply too much pressure to the roller then you will cause the roller to leave paint streaks. Run a dry paintbrush over any areas that you see bumps or runs in.

Be prepared to use a brush in any areas where the roller cannot make consistent contact with the siding.

How to paint aluminum siding with sprayer

Painting aluminum siding with a paint sprayer (HVLP paint sprayers are highly recommended) will create the best finish. A paint sprayer can apply even coats of paint, and apply paint in tight crevices that a roller simply cannot reach.

When you are using a paint sprayer to apply your paint you will need to thin the paint. You will need to use a paint thinner instead of water to thin the paint because you need to paint the siding using acrylic paint.

When you are doing your test spray you can also determine which spray paint tip is going to give you the best coverage. Experiment with the application process on the cardboard until you are sure that you like the look you are achieving.

Thinning the Paint

When you thin your paint follow these helpful hints:

  • Pour your paint into another container, do not try to thin the paint in the container it came in
  • Add small amounts of paint thinner at a time so you do not over-thin the paint
  • Write down the amounts of paint and thinner that you combine so you will know the exact measurements if you need to thin more paint
  • Have a piece of cardboard ready so you can test your paint mixture to determine if it is the right thickness
  • If you thin paint then it will thicken as it sets. It is best to thin small amounts at a time so you can keep the consistency of the paint accurate

Few tips that should help you to paint aluminum siding

Priming the Siding

You need to use an oil-based primer if priming is required. Water-based primers will not give you adequate coverage and protection.

Choosing the right color

You should always choose paint colors that are close to the original color of the siding. If your siding was light in color you can go darker without any problems. If the siding was a dark color then stay in the dark color spectrum when you choose a paint.

Things NOT to do when painting aluminum siding

  1. Do not use latex paint. Latex paint generally contains ammonia and the ammonia can react with the aluminum causing the paint to have air bubbles in it
  2. Do not skip reading your labels. Any paint or primer that contains ammonia will possibly not do well on aluminum siding.
  3. Do not begin to paint until the siding is completely dry from the cleaning process. It is going to take three or four days for the siding to dry completely.
  4. Do not leave old silicone caulking that is starting to pull away from the siding in place. You must remove the old silicone and replace it prior to painting. Make sure that you are using a silicone product that is paintable.
  5. Do not paint when the temperature is above 950

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of paint do you use on aluminum siding?

For aluminum siding, you want to use acrylic paint and not a latex paint. You want a paint that is established for exterior surfaces. You also want to use a flat finish instead of a high shine finish when you are painting your aluminum siding. You should prepare the siding by cleaning it with a good degreaser and repairing any damages prior to applying the paint.

How long does paint last on aluminum siding?

Aluminum siding can last as many as 40 years before it needs to be replaced. Aluminum does not rust and is weather resistant. If you paint your aluminum siding you can probably figure that the paint will look good for a period of five to ten years. After that you will need to repaint the siding. The old paint will have to be removed, smoothed, and then roughened up slightly before you can apply a new coat of paint to the aluminum siding.

How do you prep aluminum siding for painting?

Before you can paint aluminum siding you must first scrape away any old or flaking paint that might be on the surface of the siding. You also need to remove the old caulk that might be starting to deteriorate. New caulk has to be properly put in place where the old caulk was removed. Make certain you use a paintable caulk or the paint will not adhere and you will have sections where it looks like your paint is missing. Wash the siding carefully to remove all mold, mildew, dirt, and oily residues that might be present. Then apply a high quality primer to the metal before you apply your choice color paint.

How much does it cost to paint aluminum siding on a house?

There are a lot of factors that go into figuring the cost of painting a house with aluminum siding. Your first factor will be the size of the house. It only goes to reason to say that larger houses cost more to paint. Then you have to factor in the cost of any siding cleaning or repairs that must be done prior to painting. The paint and the primer must be considered, and this price can vary according to paint types and brands. The area you live in also changes the price of painting your home.

The average price for painting an exterior is between $1.50 and $2.50 per square foot.

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Final Word

You can paint aluminum siding. You can give your home a fresh new look without replacing all of the sidings. You do not have to hire professionals to paint your aluminum siding.

Aluminum siding make-overs do take a little more preparation time. The painting of aluminum siding is a time-consuming project. The finished look of paint on aluminum siding will be determined by how well you prepped the aluminum and the method of paint application you use.

If you take your time and are diligent in your efforts; then your siding will look great after you paint it.

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