Can You Paint Steel Siding?

by Charlie
Can You Paint Steel Siding

Steel siding is a popular building material, because it is hard-wearing and easy to install. However, it’s got some drawbacks, including that it doesn’t look particularly attractive, and it will look increasingly unpleasant as time passes. Exposed metal tends to rust and corrode, especially as its protective coating wears away.

A lot of people then find that they are left with a messy-looking, unattractive side to their building. Replacing this isn’t ideal, since it is expensive and may be difficult, but you also don’t want to leave exposed and rusting metal there – it just looks unpleasant and uncared for. So, you might be looking at painting it.

Can you paint steel siding? You can paint steel siding with a suitable exterior paint, provided you clean and prepare the surface properly first. This is a great way to both protect the metalwork from further wear and tear, and make it look better. You can even paint it in bright colors if you choose to! This will seriously improve the appearance of the metal.

Will Steel Siding Take Paint?

Steel siding is excellent for painting, as long as you select the correct paint. Metal siding can be painted in all sorts of colors, and will look very attractive once you’ve finished. The paint is also a great way to protect the metal, and will make sure it lasts as long as possible. Unpainted steel is vulnerable to rusting.

If you’ve got exposed steel on your home and you don’t like the look of it, painting it is a great solution. However, you will need to prepare the surface before you can paint it, and this takes quite a while, especially on siding that has been exposed to the air for a long time.

Rust, dirt, and other imperfections need to be dealt with before you can paint. If you don’t properly prepare your surface, the paint won’t adhere well, and will quickly start to look messy.

In most cases, you will need to thoroughly clean the steel siding. You can use a power washer for this, or scrub it by hand if it’s only a small area. If you’re using a power washer, opt for a low setting so you don’t risk damaging the metal.

If there is old paint on the steel siding, you may need to sand it down to get a smooth surface that’s ready to accept paint.

You might also need to use some pre-paint cleaner to remove any stubborn spots, leaving yourself with clear metal that you can paint over. If the surface feels chalky and powdery, pre-paint cleaner is one of the best ways to prepare it for painting.

How Do You Paint Steel Siding?

You can paint steel siding by adding a layer of primer to your clean and prepared surface. Allow this coat to fully dry, and then use a waterproof exterior paint that is designed for use on metal. You should decide whether you want a matte, gloss, or satin finish.

A lot of people opt for satin sheens, because these shed water particularly well. This will help the paint to last, because it will dry more quickly after getting wet, which reduces the risk of it bubbling. You can use other finishes if you prefer, but bear in mind that satin may be the best option.

Once you’ve chosen an appropriate paint, you can then apply this using a roller or a spray, or brushes if you’re doing a small area. Apply the coats thinly, as this will give you the best adhesion, and longer-lasting paint. Thick coats of paint tend to bubble and peel far more quickly, so they are not generally considered a good idea.

Allow each coat to thoroughly dry before you apply the next one, according to the manufacturer’s directions. The tin of paint you buy should advise you on how many coats are needed, but two coats will be sufficient in many cases. If you need more coats, remember that this will make the project take significantly longer, as you’ll have to let each one dry before adding the next.

How Important is Priming?

Priming a surface is always a good idea, but when it comes to painting steel siding, it’s a key step. It will improve the adhesion between your paint and the steel surface, making sure that it sticks well and lasts for years. If you don’t prime the surface, your paint is likely to bubble and peel away.

Priming becomes even more important if you’re painting aluminum siding and using latex paint. Latex paints almost invariably contain ammonia, and if this comes into direct contact with aluminum, it will bubble and ruin the surface. This shouldn’t happen with steel, but don’t underestimate the value of priming the surface.

Is it a Good Idea to Paint Steel Siding?

Painting steel siding is a great way to protect the metal and make it look better, but bear in mind that paint will not last indefinitely, and you will need to keep repainting the surface to maintain your siding. It may need repainting as often as every few years, depending on the weather where you live.

It can also be fairly expensive to buy paint for steel siding. You will need to determine how much paint you need for the area you wish to cover, but it’s likely to be a few hundred dollars when you take into account the primer and brushes or rollers. Being aware of this before you start is important.

You will probably be able to paint your steel siding yourself, rather than hiring a company to do it, but you should still be wary of underestimating how much this might cost.

Final Thoughts

Steel siding is generally fairly easy to paint, and a lot of people opt to do this as a way of making their siding look better and protecting it from rain and sun damage. Make sure you have prepared the surface properly, and get a suitable primer on the siding before you start painting it, and it should look great.

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