Patio furniture is subjected to bright sun, pouring rain, pounding hail, and more. While aluminum furniture holds up pretty well even in the most extreme weather conditions, its coating still becomes dinged up, bleached, and scratched over time. You can refresh your furniture with a little effort and a few cans of paint.
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How to Paint Aluminum Patio Furniture
1. Clean the Furniture
Set the furniture on a drop cloth in a well-ventilated area, preferably outside. Because patio furniture gets really dirty, clean it before painting so dirt and debris won't mess up your paint job. Mix some degreaser into a bucket of warm water and use this solution and a microfiber cloth to clean the furniture.
2. Sand the Aluminum
Paint won't properly adhere to aluminum without a little prep work because it is too smooth, which is why you should first rough up the surface with 100-grit sandpaper. Put on a respirator, gloves, and safety goggles before sanding so your lungs, skin, and eyes don't get irritated by metallic dust. While you don't need to remove the previous layer of paint, if there is any peeling, cracking, or bubbling paint, you should sand it off. The surface should be sanded until it is no longer shiny, and then you'll need to smooth the surface with 220-grit sandpaper to ensure the paint job will look smooth.
Wash the furniture with degreaser a second time to remove leftover sanding dust and allow it to fully dry. If your furniture features any fabric, glass, or other surfaces you do not want to paint, be sure to protect these with plastic drop cloths and painter's tape.
3. Apply Self-Etching Primer
To further improve adhesion, apply a self-etching primer to the furniture surface. Hold the can about 8 inches away from the furniture and move the can in a slow, sweeping motion, working in slightly overlapping rows to apply a single thin coat. Allow it to fully dry. Lightly sand again with 400-grit sandpaper and then wipe away the dust with tack cloth.
4. Start Painting Your Furniture
Choose an exterior-grade enamel spray paint when painting aluminum. Avoid using high-gloss finishes even if you like the look because the high shine of these products highlights imperfections in the paint. Apply it using the same process as you used for the primer. Let it dry for a few hours and then apply a second coat.
5. Protect the Paint With Sealer
Let the paint fully dry and then apply at least two coats of enamel sealer the same way you applied the primer and paint. Sealer protects the paint and the aluminum underneath from chips, scratches, fading, and other damage. Wait for the sealer to fully cure before using the furniture again.