How to paint aluminium

A Step-by- step guide on how to paint Aluminium

Painting aluminium surfaces can rejuvenate the appearance of various objects, from household items and appliances to industrial equipment. However, to achieve a durable and professional finish, it is crucial to follow the correct procedure. Follow this guide on how to effectively paint aluminium surfaces, the all-important preparation, priming, painting, and finishing methods.

Step 1: Preparation

Preparation is the key to achieving a long-lasting and flawless paint job on aluminium surfaces. Before starting, you will need a degreaser, primer, suitable paint, sandpaper (800-grit ideally), a lint-free cloth, masking tape, and a paintbrush or spray gun.

Start by cleaning the aluminium surface thoroughly. Remove any dirt, grease, or oils using a degreaser according to the manufacturer's instructions. Rinse the surface with clean water and allow it to dry completely (It must be completely dry).

Step 2: Sanding the Surface

Aluminium surfaces need to be properly sanded to promote adhesion between the paint and the metal. It is vital that the paint gets a good key to the surface. Using 800-grit sandpaper, gently sand the surface in smooth, even strokes. This step helps remove any imperfections while providing a suitable texture for the primer and paint to adhere to.

After sanding, wipe away any debris using a lint-free cloth. It is crucial to have a clean surface to achieve an even and professional-looking paint finish.

Step 3: Priming

Priming is essential for painting aluminium as it promotes better adhesion, prevents corrosion, and creates a smooth base for the paint. Select a high-quality aluminium primer that is specifically formulated for metal surfaces. These are available for both brush or spray finish.

Apply the primer evenly using a paintbrush or a spray gun, following the manufacturer's instructions. Take care to cover the entire surface, ensuring an even coat and avoiding excessive buildup. Ensure you allow the primer to dry thoroughly before moving on to the next step.

Step 4: Painting

Once the primer is fully dry, it's time to apply the paint. Selecting the appropriate paint for aluminium surfaces is crucial to ensure excellent adhesion, durability, and resistance to chipping or fading. Acrylic or epoxy-based paints are typically suitable for painting aluminium and there is a good selection available to buy online.

Apply the paint evenly in thin layers, allowing sufficient drying time between each coat. This practice helps prevent drips, runs, and uneven texture. Whether using a paintbrush or a spray gun, follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding application methods and drying times.

Step 5: Finishing

After applying the final coat of paint, wait for it to dry thoroughly, as different paints have different drying times. Inspect the surface carefully for any imperfections or unevenness. If necessary, lightly sand the painted surface with a fine-grit sandpaper to smoothen any flaws. Wipe away any dust with a lint-free cloth before applying a clear coat if desired.

By following the step-by-step guide outlined above, you can ensure a professional and durable paint finish. Remember to thoroughly prepare the surface, properly prime it, apply the paint in thin and even coats, and finish it with a protective clear coat. With patience and using the right tools, materials, and methods, painting aluminium can be a rewarding process resulting in a fresh and vibrant appearance that will withstand the test of time.


The most common aluminium product painted is Aluminium Sheet.


Browse our ranges here: 

Full size Aluminium Sheet

Aluminium Sheet Cut-to-size


Ross Goodwin

Ross Goodwin is a Managing Director at Aluminium Warehouse, the first online supplier of metal products in the UK, founded in 2005. Before taking on the mantle of Managing Director in 2007, he looked after all financial aspects of the company in his role of Financial Director. Ross has extensive knowledge of the metal industry and over recent years has honed his expertise in online selling, growth strategies and overseeing all marketing activities. He attended Leeds University gaining a B.A. Hons degree in Business Administration & Economics. Besides being a self-confessed workaholic, he enjoys travelling, cycling and open water swimming and is soon to compete in his first triathlon.
Aluminium sheet

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