Painting aluminum siding

Well, hurray! The house is painted. And it looks so much better. It really looks like a different house now that that ugly yellow/peach color is gone. It’s about time the outside looks as great as the inside. (I painted the porch, too, as you see.)

Painting has definitely improved curb appeal. Before, I was a little embarrassed. But no more.

August 2010
October 2011

I’m seriously loving it.

I know that several readers are considering painting aluminum siding because you’ve told me. It’s a great deal of work, but I think you’ll agree it’s worth the effort when you see how great it can turn out. After completing the project, Ryan and I are thrilled with the way it looks. Because we spent lots of time prepping the siding, the finish is really nice. It looks just like the factory finish. I don’t think you’re able to even tell it was painted unless we tell you. (Which we are doing.)

While I cannot say how it will wear yet, I feel confident in the durability. Everything I’m reading says the finish should last another 15-20 years. And the past peachy/yellow finish was likely 30-40 years old. It was certainly time for an update.

Here are a few notes about the process as we completed it.

For the project, first you’ll need to find a high-quality exterior acrylic latex paint.

While there are lots of exterior paints on the market, I think this is a project where you don’t want to skimp on quality paint and supplies. Exterior paints take a beating all year round. Get good paint.

We went with Sherwin Williams SuperPaint Exterior Acrylic Latex. This is a high-end exterior paint recommended for painting aluminum siding. (There’s is an even higher-end paint – Duration – which is not recommended for aluminum.) You can choose your sheen on this paint. We went with flat, which helps hide imperfections. It also best mimics the factory finish of aluminum siding.

Painting with a sprayer does use a lot more paint.  The coats go on thicker and you lose quite a bit of paint in the machine. When we did the math with our gal at Sherwin Williams, we figured 10 gallons. When all is said and done, we used around 16.5 gallons. Buy 5 gallon buckets, if possible.

(A color note – we had the color matched to a piece of siding from the garage. Sherwin Williams did an excellent job.)

We also used EB Emulsabond on the first coat of paint. This is an additive for the paint that helps it stick to siding better. It helped us avoid the priming step, which wasn’t recommended for SuperPaint anyhow. (Some experts do require priming, but after consulting with our gal at Sherwin Williams, we decided to got with Emulsabond instead and we are happy we did. It seemed to bond really well.)

The Emulsabond went into the paint about 1 gallon/4 gallons of paint. We had to mix it really well ourselves before spraying. And, it wasn’t needed for the second coat.

You’ll also need an airless sprayer. We rented ours from Home Depot for two days (one day each weekend). We ended up spending around $110 total. (We received a discount each day because we brought it back super clean and apparently the employees were pleased with us.)

Ryan hadn’t used an airless sprayer before, but he got the hang of it quickly. Our friend Dave also came over to help and he had used a sprayer before. It is helpful to have two people, but not imperative. They spent some time practicing the spray before getting started, so they could ensure the PSI was correct and the finish was smooth.

Other supplies we purchased included –

  • Small foam rollers (to fix any runs or splatters, foam rollers do a better job than brushes or other rollers)
  • Painters tape (to tape off windows)
  • Plastic (to cover windows and other fixtures)
You’ll also want a variety of ladders, cleaning supplies and cardboard or foam board (more on that later).
Our costs were:
Paint – $400 (we bought the paint when it was 40 percent off – this saved us a small fortune)
Tape/plastic/brushes – $50
Sprayer rental – $110
Clearly, this ended up being a relatively affordable way to change the entire outside of the house. (When you compare it to siding or other options.) We were quoted $3500 to hire someone to complete the project and we couldn’t spend it. So, if you are willing to take on a big DIY, I think you can save a bundle of money.
Now that you have your supplies and plan, the first step is the most important in painting aluminum siding. It’s prepping the siding for paint.

First, you’ll need to replace any damaged pieces. Luckily for us, there were not many damaged areas so we got up early. But if there are broken, missing, dented or damaged areas, replace them now.

Then, the siding has to be really clean and free of chalk and dirt to ensure the paint will adhere well. (Aluminum siding builds a heavy chalk layer over the years. If you touch old siding, you’ll have chalky residue on your hands. If you don’t remove this, the paint will peel right off.)

First, we took down all the downspouts and shutters and Ryan filled any holes with caulk. Then I sprayed small parts of the siding with a hose. Then, I used a simple sponge and a sponge mop to clean every inch of the siding with bleach/soap/water mixture. The sponge mop gave me more range on a ladder. (I didn’t use a scientific amount, just mixed a little soap and bleach in the bucket of water to cut the grime. I had to do some areas twice.)
After scrubbing, I rinsed everything well with the hose. The gal at Sherwin Williams told me to make sure to remove all traces of soap, which I did.
(As an aside, I read varying opinions about using a pressure washer for prepping the siding. Some experts say you can power wash the siding, which would certainly be less work and time. But, with the amount of chalk and grime on our siding, I wanted to ensure every inch of siding was clean. And I read that the pressure can seriously damage the siding if you aren’t careful. The sponge process worked better for me.) After sponging, I was happy to find that the chalky residue was gone and the siding looked better already.
Before cleaning
After cleaning
This is a very time-consuming process, but not difficult. I did it over the course of a week.
Also part of the prep is making sure all important “stuff” is covered – windows, plants, air conditioning units, gas meter, doors, lights, etc. We used tape and plastic.
(Unfortunately, our window covers didn’t hold up well to the winds and storms after we got “rained out” last weekend. It’s probably best to do this right before you begin painting.)
Using the spray gun makes this process go relatively quickly. The bottom parts of the house went really fast. The top eaves took longer due to going up and down a ladder and having to cut in (with the foam roller). But, Ryan says the process itself wasn’t difficult. Just time consuming. And tiring from going up and down a huge ladder.
Dave and Ryan used a piece of cardboard and foam board to cut in at the roof/foundation/porch/etc. This gave them a clean line and kept us from needing to tape off the entire roof and eaves. This is a super great way to keep your lines clean.
This process worked pretty darn well for them. There are a few places that need touched up white, but that’s a small price to pay. (We ended up deciding to touch up all the foundation paint, which I wanted to do anyhow. I had the paint on-hand.)
It’s recommended to do two coats of paint on aluminum. The guys were able to get two sides done each full day of work, with two coats of paint. It dries relatively quickly, depending on weather. (It was in the 50s-60s here, which is on the lower end of recommended temperature ranges.)
A note on overspray: Overspray can be a serious concern and we took it pretty seriously. We didn’t want any neighbors to be mad or worse at us about getting paint on their house/car/insertthingshere. We told everyone up front so they could move vehicles. We also tried to get tarps or other covers up when it was going to be close. In the end, we were really lucky that both days were super calm. Still, some of my lawn chairs out front even got overspray, and they were about 15 feet away from where we were painting. Just be aware and cautious. And do.not.paint on days with lots of wind.
Is there anything I’ve missed?

Oh yeah, my infamous befores and afters.

August 2010
October 2011

Feeling more like home by the day.
What do you think? Was it worth the work? Is anyone else up for the project?


  1. says

    Ohhhhhh this looks so nice!! And I really love the new porch color. Gorgeous!! Will you guys come paint our house when we need to have it done?!? :)

  2. says

    After I read your tweet last night I was looking forward to see your after!! The house looks so good and I love the dark color of the front porch it ties the lighter grey and front door together so nicely!!

  3. says

    Thanks for the great tutorial! Our house is stucco but we’ve been debating changing out the aluminum sofits/fascia/window wraps but couldn’t believe how expensive it is. I hadn’t even thought to paint them until I saw your posts! It might be a way to extend their life fro a while.

  4. says

    HOLD THE PHONE……. Is that seriously the same house? Oh my what a difference paint can make. And I’ll agree the outside looks just as beautiful now as your cute cozy inside.

    Awesome tutorial on the siding as well :o) awesome to know.

  5. says

    Wonderful job on the colors. I liked the blue porch but the gray porch and steps are better. You guys make it look seem so doable. Great job! Your neighbors must love the new look.

  6. Kat says

    Love it love it love it, Kim. You guys did an excellent job and the tips and breakdown are awesome. Mark and I are still renting, but you can believe I’m coming back to this post when we do purchase our first home! Thank you and it looks amazing! :)

  7. says

    Looks great! I also notice you’ve put pumpkins/gourds out for the holidays. So if your awesome paint project didn’t already make me feel slack, the fact that you’ve seasonally decorated did. :)

  8. says

    Color me impressed! It looks amazing! We decided to go with new siding, in a few short days actually. Our siding wasn’t in the best condition and we are DIY-handicap. I’m slightly depressed after seeing your amazing transformation!

    Will you put the shutters back up?

  9. Jessica @ O. Alouette says

    Wow I love your house! It looks like a perfect cottage – very warm and inviting! Beautiful job.

  10. says

    It looks stunning. Really. A trillion and one times better. I love it so much. You guys are stupendous! And I love all your fairytale pumpkins too!

    Hopefully there was no paint spray on the neighbor’s yard sale!

  11. says

    Pulling out those two over grown boxwoods (yews?) in front was a smart move. Now we can appreciate the lines of that sweet, vintage porch.

  12. atisha says

    Thanks for sharing. My house was built in 1955 and I was debating if I should repaint or replace. You have inspired me (to inspire my boyfriend) and DIY this job ourselves.

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  14. wendy says

    My husband and I painted our aluminum siding a couple years ago and loved the results. We did as much research as we could on the paint that was available at that time and though we knew everything we needed to know. What we did not expect was how different paints react differently to the wear and tear the sun would have on the color. Our beautifully painted light beige/tan color is now a creamy yellowish color due to the sun attacking it. Looks like we will need to repaint it, but will now know what to look for in a paint. The air compressor and the paint gun were life savers!!!!

    • says

      Thanks for the comment, Wendy. That’s something I’ve never heard of happening. I hope that buying the top of the line exterior paint would resist fading. I haven’t noticed any change in ours, but we have a pretty shady area, too.

  15. Maria says

    Hi, awesome looking homes, all of em! what initially brought me here was a pinterest pin regarding painting a concrete porch. Great info. Can you please provide the porch color used for this home? I only found info that it’s a Sherwin Williams paint but no name anywhere…please share! I am in the process of picking some colors for a 1920s bungalow & am going with a olive body color. My house has wood siding, brick path, a red door…I am thinking a dark grey would work great. I think this color or something similar would be perfect. If you could please provide the color, I would greatly appreciate. Thanks & take care!

  16. JOSH says

    Funny, wondering the same thing. What colors were used for the exterior of the house. I think this would be helpful to readers. Don’t you just get frustrated when you see some nice color choices but have no idea what the homeowners used? Although, in this instance, I think Kim mentions the color being matched to the garage. So maybe she doesn’t have a name for it? The house looks like a taupe/gray & the porch a warm gray? See if the good folks at Sherwin can help. And keep a look out for ads in you mail for the 40% sales. Helpful prep tips here, though

    • Maria says

      Hi Josh, thank you! I noticed she mentions the body color matching the garage but does not say what porch color was used. Such a bummer this gal is not responding. This post would have been perfect if it weren’t for the color discrepancies :) I’m heading out to SW this weekend & it would have been nice to know the color to see if it’s a good match. Anyhow, I appreciate the help. Take care!

      • says

        The color is SW thunder gray on the porch. I actually have been traveling and getting our house ready to sell and couldn’t find the can until last week whn we were cleaning the garage. I’m just one person and I apologize for the delay. Best of luck.

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  18. Maria says

    Thanks Kim, I greatly appreciate it. I just realized from your current post that you have been super busy. Keep up the good work & best of luck to you on selling your beautifully renovated house!

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  24. Heather says

    Hi, thanks for sharing your experience. I have an aluminum sided house that needs a face lift and your tips will help me a lot! The house looks excellent! I’m wondering how the paint is holding up now that it’s been a few years? Great job!

  25. Natalie says

    Hello. Lovely renovation. Can you please let me know any information about the paint colour used to paint the siding. I know it was custom made but can you provide any of the paint codes from maybe the sticker on the can? Thank you.

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  27. says

    Hi Kim,
    I just discovered your blog and love reading about your DIY adventures! I am wanting to paint our aluminum siding; its original finish (we assume from 1949 when the house was built) is coming off – feels like chalk – and showing bare aluminum underneath. I went to Sherman Williams and they said I needed to use a metal primer under my paint to get it to adhere. I asked about the Emulsabond but they said it was only for previously painted aluminum. So my question is: was your aluminum previously painted? Or does the baked on paint factory finish count as “previously-painted”? Thanks!

    • says

      Hmmmmm…. I guess I always assumed that the factory finish would count as paint? It sounds like you have some areas without a finish due to wear to over time, but it’s hard to know. I do think that ours was painted before, but not 100 percent. Regardless, you could always try a little area without a primer and using emulsabond as a test and see how it covers and holds up. That’s probably what I’d do before I did an entire coat of primer. Sorry I can’t be more help!


  1. […] some reason, the back porch became one of the last projects at this house (for now). Until now, we painted the house and foundation, added new lights, a new door and some landscaping. Right before Henry came along, […]

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