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What is Aluminum Paint?

By B. Turner
Updated May 16, 2024
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Aluminum paint is a coating material that consists of a resin base filled with solid flecks of aluminum. The resin helps the paint to flow, and gives it strength and durability, while the aluminum flakes give the paint a shiny, metallic finish. This type of paint generally has a silvery finish, and many manufacturers only produce one shade of aluminum-based paint. Others add pigments to produce different paint shades. No matter what color of paint is used, the finish tends to darken over time due to the effects of oxidation.

Despite its name, aluminum paint is actually used to paint a variety of materials, including metals, wood, and masonry. It can be brushed, rolled or sprayed onto the surface, and is used both indoors and out over both new and previously painted objects. While this paint is a popular finish for brightening up large industrial fixtures, it can also be used for fine interior work, including furnishings and interior walls. This material is also commonly used to paint metal roofing or aluminum siding.

Before applying aluminum paint, installers must thoroughly clean the surface of the object to remove grease, dirt, and rust. If these materials are not removed before painting, the paint is unlikely to bond well with the object, and it will often peel or flake. A primer is used to prepare the surface for painting, and the aluminum paint is applied over top once the primer has dried completely. Because of their resinous base, most paints must dry overnight before a second coat can be applied.

This type of paint offers many advantages over other types of paint and coatings. It is long-lasting and durable, and is one of the best types of paint to use around oil, grease, and chemicals. This material offers a realistic aluminum finish, and is highly resistant to rust and corrosion. It is particularly useful for restoring the look of old or rusted aluminum or steel objects, especially those in industrial areas. For example, aluminum paint is often used for painting manufacturing equipment and even roof-mounted water towers.

Some users may be inconvenienced by the relatively long drying time required for aluminum paint, particularly when the application requires multiple coats. This product should not typically be used in freezing conditions, particularly outdoors. Finally, aluminum paint color selection is often limited to metallic shades like silver, which can restrict the material's usability for those seeking specific colors.

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Discussion Comments
By anon995789 — On May 25, 2016

I would like to know if red oxide primer should be used before the aluminum coating to get max result. I've already coated it aluminum once but it's faded away since last year, so I want to do it again, but I am confused whether primer is necessary or not.

By anon242181 — On Jan 22, 2012

I don't think painting aluminum on top of iron oxide is such a good idea.

By letshearit — On Jun 19, 2011

If you are going to use aluminum paint for a job, make sure you are wearing a full-face mask with ventilator if you have to remove any old aluminum paint first.

Aluminum paint when sanded can give off very tiny particles of aluminum, which, if inhaled, can cause a lot of damage to your lungs. If you don't have this kind of facemask, you can usually rent one from your local home improvement store.

Another good idea is to carefully remove any rust patches before you paint. Make sure you are wearing heavy gloves during this part, as you can get metal slivers, which are painful and problematic to remove.

By wander — On Jun 16, 2011

Aluminum paint is a fantastic and cheap way to keep your car looking great. If your hubcaps are getting rusty and you find your car bumper or the little silvery accessories on your car looking grubby, cleaning them can only do so much.

I find that aluminum paint looks just like aluminum and can add extra value to your vehicle by making all of the chrome work on it look like new again.

If you are going to use this, either make sure the area is well taped off, or remove the part from your car before painting. Also, paint in a well ventilated area, as aluminum paint smells terrible.

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