Your Place: Worth noting again: Yes, you can paint aluminum siding

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

My recent column announcing that I am painting the exterior of my house for the last time brought expressions of concern from those who donít like the words last time.

And, thankfully, a couple of painting questions, which is the reason I write these columns.

John Czubaís question concerning painting aluminum siding is one I have gotten before over the years, but itís one that always merits a response.

Yes, you can paint aluminum siding, and the website of the Paint Quality Institute in Spring House is my go-to on all broad-brush matters.

Czuba asks: "Iím wondering if this paint holds up and if it has to be special paint and if the home siding would have to be cleaned prior to painting?"

Remove as much chalk, dirt, and mildew as you can.

Chalk is the powdery pigment on the surface of weathered siding that comes off when you rub the palm of your hand over it. Removal is done by power washing or by scrubbing and rinsing.

The only time a primer would be needed is if any bare aluminum is exposed or if there is still much chalk left on the surface.

In the first situation, remove any white oxide with a nonmetallic scouring pad such as ScotchBrite, then wash off and rinse to make way for a latex corrosion-inhibitive primer.

In the second scenario, apply a high-quality exterior alkyd (oil-based) primer recommended by the manufacturer for aluminum siding.

One consumer asked the instituteís experts whether he should wipe the siding with mineral spirits before priming, because heís had to use a sander to remove road salt from the surface inasmuch as itís now badly pitted.

The answer is no ó unless you have some oily contaminant such as road tar on the siding.

The road salt removed was probably white aluminum corrosion (aluminum oxide).

If you do prime everything, you will get a more uniform appearance from the paint, compared with the result if you prime only some parts.

Hereís a great resource: Bookmark the institute at

Next time, weíll tackle the second question: Painting cabinet doors.