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How to Restore Aluminum Siding with the Preval vFan

airbrush how to preval vfan

Feel like there's nothing you can do about the weather-beaten aluminum siding on your home outside of replacing it? With the right tools, some energy and elbow grease, you can restore it to its original glory, making your handiwork and your cleaned-up home the talk of the neighborhood.

Recommended Paints

  • Sherwin Williams A100 super enamel
  • Sears Weather Beater refinishing enamel
  • PPG Speedhide Metal and Vinyl Siding Refinish Enamel


Materials You'll Need

Rubber gloves

Eye protection

Step ladder and/or scaffolding

Pole sander (optional, but recommended)

Power/pressure washer (optional, but recommended)

A two-gallon bucket

Warm water


TSP (tri-sodium phosphate)

Drop cloths, painters' tarps or plastic sheeting

Multi-surface painting tape

Sandpaper with #150 grit

Oil-based exterior primer (if needed)

Paint thinner

Acrylic latex paint

Airless paint sprayer (for big jobs)

Preval vFan Airbrush system (for details and touch ups)



● Make sure the siding is actually aluminum, and not galvanized steel. Steel siding does not mix with oil-based paints. If you're not sure what kind of siding you're working with, find a magnet. If it's steel, the magnet will stick.  

● If the paint on the siding is chalky, clean it up first. Mix water, detergent and TSP, and use your solution on a pole sander to scrub the siding. Make sure to finish with a rinse to get rid of any detergent residue. You'll know you're done when the rinse water is empty of chalk coloration.

●  If using primer, use an exterior oil-based primer. Latex primer has ammonia, and it can interact with your aluminum siding over time, forming nasty gas bubbles.

●  Skip trying to paint your siding with a brush and roller. For this kind of big job, your best bet is an airless paint sprayer, which will give you a smoother finish.

● Try the Preval vFan Airbrush and portable compressor for the touch-ups and detail work.



1. You don't want to ruin your lawn, do you? Protect your nearby plants and grass from paint and cleaning chemicals using drop cloths and plastic sheeting.

2. Ladders and any scaffolding should be level. (Yes, sir!)

3. Put on your gloves. And don't forget the eye protection!

4. Get ready to clean all siding thoroughly. You can use a pressure washer (often available to rent) or scrubbing sponges, and make sure to look for - and destroy! - any sap, mold, mildew, bird droppings and algae on your not-yet-cleaned-up siding.

  • Mix 1 cup bleach and 1 cup TSP to 1 gallon of water to make your cleaning solution.  
  • Attach a scrubbing head to your pole sander. (This makes the job that much easier on your back and shoulders.)
  • If you get your hands on a pressure washer, spray from above the siding. If you spray from below, you may loosen or dislodge it, and that kind of defeats your purpose.

5. Don't forget any other areas that might be in the way. Tape off and paper over nearby windows or other areas you don't want paint on!



6. If the paint is still chalking after cleaning or the siding's surface is particularly worn-down, apply a coat of oil-based primer.

  • Before applying primer, thin it by the manufacturer's recommended amount. (One pint per gallon of paint thinner is a good bet.) Apply it with an airless sprayer or Preval vFan airbrush, using smooth, even passes. Now we know you're excited, but give it some time to dry! 

7. Sand the siding lightly with #150 grit paper after cleaning (or priming!); this roughens up the surface before you put on the finishing coats.

8. Apply two even coats of latex-based paint using an airless sprayer (best for big jobs). For touch-ups, the Preval vFan airbrush system and portable compressor is ideal.      

  • Note what paint to use! Acrylic latex paint will give your siding that “factory finish.” It's the ideal finish coat.

9. Clean up and spend the afternoon (and next day and week) admiring your new sparkling aluminum siding!



Disclaimer: The Preval How-To Articles like this one are for informational purposes only and are intended to provide general guidance.  Because products, materials, techniques and building codes vary, and federal, state, municipal laws and ordinances are continuously changing, C.A Acquisitions LLC, Chicago Aerosol and Preval assume no responsibility for the accuracy of the information contained herein and disclaim any liability for omissions, errors or the outcome of any project.  It is the responsibility of the reader (you) to comply with all appropriate laws, manufacturers' guidelines and rules and regulations for any project or product used. Take all safety precautions and exercise caution. Follow the MSDS warning for every product or paint you use to complete the project.  If you HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR DOUBTS IN REGARD TO ANY ELEMENT OF A PROJECT, PLEASE CONSULT A LICENSED PROFESSIONAL.


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  • Jason on

    This is great, thanks!

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