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How to Paint Aluminium Window Frames
If you have old aluminum windows and you want to restore the existing color or you want to change the color, well, you can rest easy. You have come to the right place.
The process of painting aluminum windows can be divided into a series of steps in two distinct stages. These are preparation and application. However, the inexperienced will try to skip the preparation, which can compromise the finished product’s appearance and durability.
The amount of preparation required depends largely on the type and condition of the original substrate. For example, if you have old powdercoat painted aluminum windows that have chalk paint on them and rub against your fingers, this is much less expensive than a new powdercoated surface that isn’t chalking up and is being painted to change color. More preparatory work will be required.
Regardless of the condition of its substrate, however, anodized aluminum windows require more preparation than all other substrates because more mechanical abrasion is required to secure the surface enough for paint to adhere.
Protect Adjacent Finished Surfaces – Whenever you are painting isolated sections, it is important to protect adjacent finished surfaces. When painting the aluminum windows of your home or apartment, you’ll want to consider putting down plastic sheeting and then canvas sheeting. I recommend using plastic film and 3M, you can use a hand dispenser to protect the glass and the wall around the window frame.
Cleaning – Make sure all surfaces are clean and free of dirt. Dirt and grease from the aluminum window painting process is critical. If the surface becomes dirty, paint adhesion will decrease. Clean the exterior frame with soapy water and a sponge. However, use a salt-free soap, such as truck washer fluid. Wash off any excess soap with clean, fresh water.
Then, alternately use a solvent cleaner such as prepsol to clean the surface inside and out.
Use a scrub to apply the solvent. Scrubbing cleans and sands the surface at the same time. It is important to do a second solvent wash on dirty windows by applying solvent with a clean cloth and then wiping with another clean cloth.
Grinding the substrate – there is no easy way around this process. This can be difficult and tedious, especially when accessing tighter places like upper passages, since there is no mechanical sanding device to make the job faster. Therefore, doing this work by hand is difficult and time-consuming.
If your powder coat surface is chalking, I recommend sanding with 120 grit. Sandpaper is less likely to clog. If your substrate is powder-coated and not chalking, 240-grit will be sufficient to hold the surface, especially if you scrubbed it down first. However, if your substrate is anodized, then you’ll need some real work, as you’ll need to sand with 60 grit sandpaper. Have some masking tape Band-Aids ready for the ends of your fingers, as this is where you’ll be “rubbing your fingers to the bone”.
The 60 grit will really sculpt the anodized finish. You’d want the paint to really stick, right? Skip this and you’ll start all over again. Once you’ve done this, it’s a good idea to check the work again with 120-grit sandpaper to remove gouges from the 60-grit sandpaper.
You’re almost ready for the fun part, which is painting. Just before you paint the windows, wash and wipe them down with your solvent, remembering to use two different clean cloths.
Painting – use a three coat system, first coat is primer sealer light coat – use single coat pac etch primer. The second coat is the first coat, and the second coat is the third coat.
At this point, you must make a few choices. First, what type of paint do you want to apply? I recommend oil based enamel or duplex urethane. If you have little or no experience with two-packs, stick to oil-based enamels and apply with a quality brush. However, if you have used two pacs before, the only way to apply it is with an HVLP gun to get a high quality finish. The benefit of using two coats of pac paint over oil based enamel is that you will get a more durable quality finish, much like a powder coat finish.
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