Metal siding is the part of the construction that is most exposed to the elements. Over the years, it is normal to expect rust and dull colour. You can either try to remove the rust over and over again, or clean it once and paint the metal so it looks as new. If you protect it properly, you can prevent much of the surface rust from building up in the future. This guide will show you how to properly paint metal siding made of steel or aluminium and prepare it for the next season.

Cleaning the rust

In many cases, metal siding is subjected to extreme moisture that makes it rust or accumulate a thin layer of oil. This is the reason metal siding has to be thoroughly cleaned before painting. Aluminium siding is best cleaned using a pressure washer set to ‘low’. Spraying will lift the rust and rinse it off. You can remove the grime more effectively if you add some liquid soap to the water.

After you rinse the siding once again, allow it to dry for two or more days before you continue. If you need to clean steel siding, add trisodium phosphate to the paint sprayer and clean the grime with it. To remove the rust, apply a rust converter to the siding. It will turn the rust into a black substance you can wash off easily.

Safety tip: Trisodium phosphate (TSP) is a highly caustic substance that can burn your skin. Always use protective gear when working with it.

Removing the old paint

If you need to remove the old paint, prepare the area by laying a drop sheet. Wear gloves and a dust mask. There are many ways you can strip the old paint off. For example, you can use a wire brush to scrape off the old paint. Alternatively, use a cordless drill with a wire brush attachment. It’s much quicker than the manual method, but much noisier, too. Finally, you can remove the old paint using a piece of sandpaper and some elbow grease.

Protecting other surfaces

Just like with interior painting, you need to make sure you don’t paint anything that is not being painted. Cut and trim plastic sheets to fit over the doors and windows that you need to protect. Use painter’s tape to fix the sheets.


For applying the primer, you can either use a paint sprayer or a paint roller with an extension. Using a latex-bonding primer gives better results on steel surfaces than a regular metal paint primer. Pour the primer into the paint container on the sprayer or into a paint tray. Apply it to the metal siding using even strokes. Gravity can help you if you start at the top of the wall and across the length of the siding. Let the primer dry for at least one to two days before applying texture coating or acrylic paint. While you are waiting, clean the paint sprayer according to the manufacturer’s directions.


Apply the paint the same way as the primer – start at the top and move across the length. Read the instructions to find out how long it takes for the first coat to dry before applying the second coat. After you apply the second coat, let it dry. Remove the plastic sheeting and masking tape. Clean your brushes using turpentine so they are ready for your next paint project.

Using these painter’s tips, you can easily paint not only the metal siding, but also any outdoor surface made of corrugated steel or aluminium. By preparing everything in advance and using safety measures, painting can become a stress-relieving activity, rather than a chore.

By Editor

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