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Quattro 01-30-2008 09:27 AM

Painting steel siding?
Another summer project I might take on (why? I don't know...I'm a glutton for punishment I guess).

We have 4" lap steel siding on our 21-year old house in southern Wisconsin. The original color of the siding is a light tan, with dark brown steel trim.

Can this stuff be painted? And will the paint last? I assume some sort of primer is necessary, but can a latex paint be used? I used to be an ACE paint specialist, but I never really learned about painting siding.

We'd just get new siding otherwise, but this stuff is in perfect condition on most of the would be a waste to get rid of it.


ToolGuy 01-30-2008 06:54 PM

I used exterior latex paint on aluminum siding over 20 years ago and it never peeled. The trick is to get it real clean. The peeling is caused by dirt preventing the paint from making good contact with the surface.

Unless the surface is real shiny (which I doubt), you don't need any primer. I used a car washing brush on a pole to clean the surface, mild soapy water and used the hose to rinse it. Let it dry over night and began painting the next day - 2 coats and it still looks good 20 years later.

Quattro 01-31-2008 08:37 AM

Sweet! Thanks.

glennjanie 01-31-2008 11:45 AM

Hey Quattro:
If you plan to change to a lighter color you will need to use a Kilz II primer to seal the old color up and prevent bleed through. I like ToolGuy's idea of the brush to clean the siding. Most siding will have chalked paint on it too and is worse than the dirt about interfering with the bond. Just swipe your finger across it and see if the paint rubs off on you. That is the chalking I refer to, which is actually oxidation of the paint.
I would get a power sprayer to apply the paint, it will pay for itself in one job.

Quattro 02-02-2008 08:37 AM

This will certainly be a spray job! And on most of the house there is no chalking, but a few areas that receive a lot of sun look like they might be chalky. But, it could just be a buildup of "gunk"...since the siding has probably never been cleaned. Eww! :)

TheFentonGuy 02-04-2008 10:20 AM

This is AWESOME info! I have a 1955 cape in Vermont and we have the chalking all over, so now I have an idea on how to clean it, prep and paint it. I have a 5 gallon set of air tools with a high and low pressure paint sprayer guns, so painting should be fun!

Can I clean the siding at anytime even if I'm not going to paint it?
I saw on "This Old House" that aluminum siding needed to be sanded down to remove as much old paint as possible to ensure a good bond. Based on ToolGuy, I guess I don't need to do this?

ToolGuy 02-04-2008 12:17 PM

I understand the chalking is actually what they call 'self cleaning' siding. I don't remember where I heard or read it, but it was more than a couple of times if I remember correctly.

glennjanie 02-04-2008 07:42 PM

ToolGuy is right on with the chalking being a 'self cleaning' feature of paint. I also like his idea of using a brush on the siding, and yes, the siding can and should be cleaned occasionally.

guyod 02-04-2008 10:43 PM

Well then if self cleaning siding Its also a self stainer of brick.. I just replace aluminum siding with vynl because the owner didnt like the fact that his bricks were getting white washed

ryans442 02-07-2008 08:38 AM

I was working on a remodeling project with a friend, and we are having issues with rust on some of the aluminum siding. Would you recommend brushing that off, or are there any products that would be useful?


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