How to Paint Over Anodized Aluminum

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Things You'll Need

  • Dish soap

  • Coarse brush

  • 1-gallon painter's pot

  • 2- to 4-inch oil-based paintbrush

  • Etching primer

  • Mineral spirits

  • Oil-based paint


You may use latex paint instead of oil-based paint. However, be sure to use a latex paintbrush to apply it.


Etching primer is ideal for conditioning anodized aluminum for paint adhesion. Do not use an ordinary bonding primer or the final finish may chip and peel.

Anyone who has every tried to paint over anodized aluminum without priming first knows that chipping and peeling is virtually inevitable. Because anodized aluminum is slick and non-porous, it just doesn't hold paint very well. However, if you need to paint over anodized aluminum, there are a couple of preparation techniques you can employ that will allow you to achieve an attractive, long-lasting finish.


Step 1

Clean the surface of the anodized aluminum using water, dish soap and a coarse brush. Rinse away all of the soap or you will have trouble with adhesion. Allow the surface to dry.

Step 2

Pour etching primer into a 1-gallon painter' s pot. Fill it to no more than two-thirds capacity.

Step 3

Apply the etching primer to the anodized aluminum using the 2- to 4-inch paintbrush. Allow the primer to dry for two full hours.

Step 4

Clean the brush at least three times using mineral spirits.

Step 5

Apply oil-based paint to the anodized aluminum in the same manner as you did the primer. Allow the surface to dry for two hours. Apply additional coats as necessary.



Ryan Lawrence

Ryan Lawrence is a freelance writer based in Boulder, Colorado. He has been writing professionally since 1999. He has 10 years of experience as a professional painting contractor. Lawrence writes for High Class Blogs and Yodle. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and public relations with a minor in history from the University of Oklahoma.