Painting Aluminum Siding

Items worth considering from this article:

  • Work with only reputable contractors who are registered with the state and have been in business many years; Hiring a PDCA member is one way to be assured of this
  • Check references
  • Review the paint and finish with someone, and look at neighboring houses
  • Preparation is the foundation to a good paint job


Recently worked for a client in Moorestown, NJ who is actually a window cleaner (we will call Brian) who then bought a power washer to become also a house power washer, who then started patching paint on the exterior of the houses he washed so he then branched out into house painting.  One of his first house painting jobs entailed the washing, painting, and some repair work.  Using temporary help and paying them cash, he thought he was going to make a killing on this job; so he took it. 


The power wash looked ok, from a distance; the repairs were under way, but he had no idea how to paint this aluminum clad house.  So he called Painting Solutions, Inc. since we work on aluminum sided houses, vinyl sided houses, and stucco and masonry sided houses among the non-porous substrates we know how to paint.  He was to prepare the house, including protecting windows and doors so all he wanted us to do was spray on the paint.  When we arrived, he had told the client that semi-gloss is the way to paint the siding, and to paint the trim an off white.  He had bought (and charged the client) for 20 gallons of blue paint even though only 12 were needed (and used).  We contracted to apply two coats, so we spray painted them onto the siding, and left the job.  Unfortunately, the client did not like (as is usual) the intense sheen semi-gloss gives on the siding; so Brian called us back to apply two coats of flat to the siding (what is traditionally done), and paid us again for doing this. 


The off white on the trim did not match the bright white on the vinyl windows, but Brian did not think this through; so the client had him change the trim paint after he applied the off white paint first.


Brian also painted the cement patio floor with semi-gloss, only to learn that there is a more resilient patio and porch floor paint made for the scuffing floors suffer.  Yes, Brian had to scrap up the semi-gloss paint, then apply the correct paint, two coats. 


All through this, the client experienced what it is like using temporary, non-payroll employees:  they did not show up every day, they did not have experience with these paints, they worked hard only when Brian was there (but he had two other jobs going at the same time), they did not do as the client would request of them, etc. 


In a couple of months, the wad of cash in Brian's pocket was down to about nothing, the client called him to have him look at the now peeling new paint on her siding.  Upon review, it was decided that the siding was not properly washed (chalking) and prepared so that the new paint could not hold onto the substrate.  The way it is left now:  Brian will probably have to strip all the paint off, properly prepare the siding for a quality paint, then paint the siding again. My guess is that this will cost Brian about $8000. 


Brian did another job, and hired us again to just apply the paint, in Marlton, NJ.  Poor preparation and lack of knowledge caused this client to end up with a house peeling the old paint (with the new paint on it) again, shutters hung incorrectly, and a lawsuit for Brian. 


Last I heard, Brian was going to close shop, and open up again in another name, sticking to just cleaning windows.

The homeowner said she, trying to help out an industrious, well intentioned younger man, will never hire someone who does not know what they are doing; she will check references, visit job sites, and look into the contractor's history.  She also learned too late that Brian did not have the state mandated Contractor's Registration issued through the NJ Division of Consumer Affairs.