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How to Paint Aluminum Columns

Use a roller to apply primer and paint to aluminum columns.
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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.

Things You'll Need:

  • Water-based soap
  • Rough sponge
  • Rags
  • Towels
  • Professional painter's tape
  • Metal etching primer
  • Nap roller cover
  • Roller frame
  • 3-inch polyester paintbrush
  • Latex paint
  • Acrylic latex paint


Paint interior columns with latex paint. Paint exterior columns with acrylic latex paint.


  • Do not use latex primer on an aluminum column, or the finish will flake. Do not paint unprimed aluminum columns, or the finish will peel. Do not finish aluminum columns using a nylon brush, or brush marks will appear in the final finish.

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.

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