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How to Paint Aluminum in 5 Easy Steps

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Aluminum is a versatile metal with lots of other incredible qualities. These qualities make it the perfect material for construction projects and home furnishing. In its natural form, aluminum looks sleek and modern in its natural silvery form, but some will want to paint it to synchronize with other items in the home. Do you want to give your aluminum object a fresh coat of paint? Here are the five steps to get it right:

1. Clean Thoroughly and Let It Dry

Firstly, you need to prepare the aluminum surface for painting, and this starts by cleaning it properly. You can use a bucket of warm water with degreasing cleaner or grease-cutting dish detergent. This is to ensure that all dirt and grease are removed from the material. You may need to scrub gently with a wire brush if the aluminum surface has some rust or flaking layer of paint. After cleaning thoroughly, set the aluminum up to dry very well.


2. Sand the Surface in Two-Stage Process

Sanding is also very important when you want to prepare an aluminum material for a paint job. Actually, two processes of sanding are necessary if you want your painting to fully adhere to the surface. In the first stage, you have to use a sandblock or sandpaper to rough up the sides, corners, and crevices on the object. You may need a power sander if the project is big. After sanding with coarse sandpaper, finish the job with fine-grit sandpaper. Make sure you wear protective gear while sanding. Afterward, wash again and dry completely to get rid of sanding dust.

3. Apply Self-Etching Primer, Let It Dry and Sand Again

There are self-etching primers that can micro-etch the surface of your aluminum item/material to optimize it for bonding with the soon-to-be-applied paint. According to the direction given by the manufacturer of the primer, spray the primer on the aluminum. It is often recommended that you spray in thin coats. Wait for the recommended amount of time, then sand the piece once again with 400-grit sandpaper. It is best to get your primer from an auto specialty shop or a home improvement store.

4. Apply the Paint

This is the major thing, so you have to make sure you get it right at this stage. First things first: make sure you have quality paint for the job. It is best to use acrylic or latex paint that is formulated especially for metals. You also need to check to ensure that the paint is labeled ‘exterior grade. Depending on how you work and the size of the project, you can spray or brush. Ideally, the manufacturer will provide directions on how to use it. It is normally recommended that you sand between coats.

5. Apply Enamel Sealer

This is the final stage of the process. It should be done after the applied paint has dried completely. At least two coats of enamel sealer are important to protect your newly painted aluminum items from chipping, scratching, or fading. You should let the sealer cure properly before using the aluminum object again or setting something on it.

Painting aluminum shouldn’t be too hard. We have discussed five important steps to do it the right way. Follow the instructions, and you will do a great that will stand the test of time.

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