How to Paint Your Aluminum Patio Cover in 6 Easy Steps

Are you considering painting your patio cover? An aluminum patio cover is a charming addition to your home- especially when it matches your aesthetic. Whether it is a stand-alone element or connected to your home, getting the right look for your patio can be challenging.

We’ll go over how painting a worn aluminum patio cover can help refresh its appearance in your backyard space. We have compiled a list of pointers to get started, along with frequently asked questions regarding painting an aluminum patio cover.

A word of caution BEFORE you take on a paint project like this: 

If done improperly, your cover can be permanently damaged. Warranties with your patio cover builder could also be voided with structural alterations or painting. The warranty on any ShadeWorks patio cover will be voided if painted. We’ll walk you through repainting an aluminum patio cover if you still wish to proceed.

Let’s get painting!

A Step-by-Step Guide to Painting an Aluminum Patio Cover

Want your patio to fit your style? Painting your patio cover could be the best way to make your patio feel exactly how you want it. With a wide range of colors available, it can be an full Sunday DIY session if done in the right way.

We’ve compiled a step-by-step process to paint your patio.

Let’s have a look.

Step 1: Sanding

The initial process of sanding your aluminum patio involves completely scraping down the old paint and other existing chemicals with sandpaper or a tool (sander). 

A sander chemically treated with silicone carbide on a hard surface can be most effective in sanding. This is one of the most important steps in your painting process!mThe sanding process is the most critical due to the way new paint sticks on a clean, dry, oil-free surface. Fresh paint can stick well on a clean, smooth surface when compared to a dirty one. 

While sanding the surface, make sure the rust and peeling spots are completely removed.  

Step 2: Wash the Surface Thoroughly

After sanding, you need to deep clean the entire surface area to remove residue. All the remaining dust after sanding has to be removed for the paint and primer to stick properly and leave an even coat. 

It’s recommended to use a strong powdered soap and warm water to do the deep cleaning. 

Step 3: Protect the Surface

Before you start painting, it is crucial to protect your patio cover to prevent any damage, such as rusting or any other water-based/sun-based damage. You also want to make sure you keep your patio cover as clean as possible. 

While your patio cover dries through each of these steps, make sure it is covered with a plastic sheet loosely hanging over it to protect it from water and debris. Also, make sure any furniture in the patio area is covered with tarps or plastic to avoid paint drips and stains. 

Step 4: Make the Surface Paint Ready with Primer

With the surface ready now, it’s time to start the priming process. An undercoating of primer will protect the surface and ensure that the paint sticks well. Since aluminum is usually a very smooth surface with little grip, a primer is an ideal solution to gain maximum friction while applying paint. 

A primer can be sprayed on the surface with a mechanical sprayer, or you could opt for an old-school brush that will also do the job. Whichever technique you choose, it’s important to make sure the primer is not applied too thickly. You should also try to make one even coat.

It’s recommended to allow the primer to settle and dry for at least a day before applying the paint. 

selective focus shot of bucket of blue paint on a metal surface in an attic

Step 5: Painting Time!

Finally, it is time to paint!

With the surface clean, prepped, and ready, it’s time to get your paint brushes out and start painting.

For aluminum patio covers, an oil-based enamel paint works best. We recommend choosing a color that can be sealed into the enamel coating. An oil-based enamel is durable and offers a wide range of colors. The only drawback is that it’s glossy and doesn’t come in a matte finish.

The best way to paint is to start brushing from the top and use a sideways motion all the way to the bottom. It is recommended to leave the paint dry for a day before applying an overcoat. 

Step 6: Seal the Deal

Before wrapping the DIY project up, it is important to ensure that you won’t have to touch up your paint again – at least for a while. 

Sealing the new paint with an efficient sealant will protect the surface from chipping and keep it fresh for years to come.

Answering Commonly Asked Questions

Before we wrap up, here are some curated FAQs of common questions regarding painting aluminum patio covers. 

Should you paint an aluminum patio cover?

  • You definitely can if you are looking for a change. However, it’s VERY important to remember that your structure’s warranty may be voided if the cover is painted. Aluminum surfaces are one of the easiest surfaces to paint on, and paint sticks quite well if used with the right primer and sealant. 

What type of paint do you use?

  • For an aluminum surface, we recommend using 100% oil-based enamel paint. There is also latex paint which is great for painting some exterior surfaces, but isn’t recommended for harsh climates. At ShadeWorks, we seal our patio covers with a colored enamel coating to eliminate the need to ever paint your patio cover. Most patio cover builders have pre-treated and colored building materials as well. 

Is painting aluminum durable?

  • When painted correctly with the right sealant and primer, the paint will stay on the aluminum surface for years. The natural oxidation process of aluminum is slowed down with an appropriate primer. 

And that’s how you do it!

Painting an aluminum patio cover might just be the right makeover your outdoor space needs. While we’ve covered the basics, it’s important to keep all of this information in mind before painting.

We hope this guide was helpful. If you’re looking for more, check out our aluminum patio cover ranges to get an idea of how to uplift your patio space.


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