Beautify your bare aluminum columns by finishing them with paint. Aluminum columns are unlike porous wood surfaces, which take paint quite readily. If you coat under-prepared aluminum with a new finish, flaking will follow. Treat the columns with an acidic etching primer, specifically formulated for durable metallic surfaces. Finish the columns with a paint suitable for their location, or the finish may fade and crack over time.
Use a sponge to wash the aluminum column with a water-based soap. Rinse the column with wet rags and dry it, using clean towels.
Protect areas adjacent to the column by covering them with painter's tape.
Apply metal etching primer to the aluminum column using a roller. Ensure a flawless finish by smoothing the wet etching primer using a polyester paintbrush. Move the brush vertically, applying delicate pressure. Allow the column to dry for three hours.
Wash the brush with water.
Paint the aluminum column just as you primed it. Allow the paint to dry for at least three hours.