New construction using aluminum siding was most popular about 40 to 50 years ago. Now, after withstanding the elements for so long, the siding may still be in good condition, but chances are the factory-applied coating is not.
Many of us realize that our aluminum siding looks beyond its "maintenance-free" stage - the factory finish is most likely faded and chalking heavily and generally looking run-down - but we don't want to go to the expense of replacing it.
Using a top quality acrylic latex house paint can make aluminum siding look new again -- for a fraction of the price of residing. A new color scheme can also be chosen, and with proper surface preparation and application, the job can last 10 years or longer.
A top quality, all-acrylic latex house paint will provide the best performance on this substrate. This type of paint exhibits superior durability, and will resist fading and chalking for many years.
First, clean the surface by power washing or hand-washing with warm, soapy water, then rinse.
One thing to be aware of with aluminum siding is something called "surface oxidation." This occurs when bare metal is exposed due to extreme erosion of the original factory-applied coating. If your siding shows this unsightly, white oxidation, remove it by carefully rubbing with steel wool. Rinse to remove any residue and spot-prime bare areas with a quality acrylic latex primer.
A top quality 100% acrylic latex exterior paint will provide good adhesion and excellent resistance to fading. It also forms a thick, uniform paint film that is aesthetically pleasing, and retains the look of the original surface -- smooth or textured. The paint can be applied by brush or, better yet, an airless sprayer.
Vinyl Siding can also be painted. Just clean the siding by power washing or hand-washing, making sure to remove any mildew with a bleach solution, and rinse.
The quality of the paint used on vinyl siding is important. Because the siding panels may have a slick surface, you need a paint that has superior adhesion characteristics. A top quality acrylic latex paint will provide that adhesion. Oil-based paints are not recommended for use on vinyl siding.
There are some other things you shouldn't do when painting vinyl siding:
Don't scrape, sand or use a wire brush when doing surface preparation. This can permanently damage the siding. Don't paint the siding any darker than its original color. Dark paints will absorb the heat of the sun and can cause the panels to warp. They cannot go back to their original shape, and will be ruined.
Gil Strachan is a professional home inspector, representing Electrospec Home Inspection Services in east-central Ontario since 1994.