What’s the Best Type of Paint for Aluminum Siding?

Scott Dylan Westerlund
Updated January 27, 2022
House with vinyl siding painted blue
tokar / Shutterstock.com

There are many options to choose from when painting aluminum siding surfaces to get the best results

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Aluminum siding is still a popular material for home exterior surfaces. Lightweight, durable, and affordable, aluminum siding has many advantages. The downside is that it needs repainting every 5 to 10 years. 

Here, we’ll cover which paints get the best results. Fast-drying and affordable, acrylic is a top pick for a quick project. Acrylic latex offers eco-friendly benefits, while self-etching primer adds rust protection, longevity, and color enhancement.

Picking Paint for Aluminum Siding

Picking a paint to get the best results for your aluminum siding is about more than just the right color. The factors below will help you decide if latex paint, acrylic paint, or self-etching primer is right for you.

Take the following factors into account when choosing paint for aluminum siding:

  • Safety: You may want water-based paint if you have pets or kids.

  • Home size: Do the math of gallons to square footage before splurging for pricier paint.

  • Condition/age of your siding: You may need primer if wear and tear has exposed the metal.

  • Aesthetic preferences: Different paints create different finishes. 

  • Coats: Most homes need one to two coats. Do a cost analysis on how many coats of paints you need versus product price.

  • Budget: Research the cost of painting aluminum siding.

How to Choose the Right Painting for Aluminum Siding

You should stay away from glossy paints for exterior painting unless you have a strong aesthetic preference for this look based on your home's style. Choose a flat finish. Glossy paints show dents and imperfections in siding.

Match new siding paint as closely to your current paint as possible to make the job easier. You should also avoid dark colors because they attract heat to your home that can prematurely degrade your paint job. Keep in mind that even the best product won't produce pristine results if you don't wash the siding thoroughly and apply a primer to prepare for exterior paint.

Types of Paint for Aluminum Siding

There are three types of paint that create the best results for aluminum siding. Be sure to always check the label of any paint you buy to verify that it's approved for aluminum siding. Once applied, a good siding paint should last between five to 10 years.

1. Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint is a pick that's easy to work with that also happens to be widely available from all home improvement stores.

Here are the pros and cons of using acrylic paint for aluminum siding:


  • Easy to work with if you're not experienced

  • Goes on smooth and level

  • Dries quickly

  • Reasonably priced


  • Quick dry time means you have to work fast

  • Hard to blend with other paints

  • Impossible to alter once it dries

2. Acrylic Latex Paint

Most experts consider this hybrid paint the top choice for painting aluminum siding. Like 100% acrylic, acrylic latex is found at every home improvement store.

Here are the pros and cons of using acrylic latex paint for aluminum siding: 


  • Resistant to peeling, cracking, and flaking

  • All the perks of latex without the bubbling

  • Great adhesion

  • Breathability 

  • Strong color retention

  • Strong opacity

  • Easy to wash


  • Not ideal for unprimed metal

  • Slightly prone to rust

  • Pricier than regular acrylic

3. Self-Etching Primer

Found at every big-box store, self-etching primer can make your final paint job more vibrant with longer results and extra protection.

Here are the pros and cons of using self-etching primer for aluminum siding: 


  • Seals porous surfaces

  • Done in one coat

  • Sprays or rolls on

  • Reaches hard-to-reach surfaces

  • Prolonged results

  • Protects against rust


  • Not always necessary unless metal is exposed

  • Messy application if you're not a pro

Aluminum Siding Paint Comparisons

Wondering which type of aluminum siding paint is going to produce the best results for your home? Depending on what you’re using it for and if you have kids or pets, one might be better than the other.

Easiest Application: Acrylic

Acrylic's ability to dry fast with easy clean-up makes it a dream for first-time DIY projects

Best Environmental Pick: Acrylic Latex

Acrylic latex paint is considered an eco-friendly pick because of latex's water-based properties

Best for Kids and Pets: Acrylic Latex

In addition to earning points for being eco-friendly, acrylic latex paint is the top pick if you want to create a safer environment for kids and pets at your home. Most acrylic latex paint has low VOC levels

Best for Rust Prevention: Self-Etching Primer

Self-etching primer creates a protective seal against rust

Best for Longevity: Self-Etching Primer

Self-etching primer can extend the lifetime of your paint job while reducing the need for repairs.

Top Brands of Aluminum Siding Paint

Once you've decided which type of paint to use, then comes the challenge of picking a brand. With hundreds of brands to choose from, this can be a real headache. Here are a couple of popular aluminum siding paint brands and their features.

Acrylic: Valspar® SeasonFlex Satin Exterior Tintable Paint

  • Approved for use on metal siding

  • 100% acrylic paint with primer

  • Lifetime warranty

  • Can be used on shutters

  • Mildew-resistant coating

  • Rain-ready technology™ for quick dry

  • Two coats needed

  • $15 per quart

Acrylic Latex: Sherwin Williams® WeatherShield Exterior Paint & Primer

  • One-coat coverage

  • Covers existing stains for shorter prep time

  • Blocks new stains

  • Resists mildew and algae

  • Applies in 35° temps

  • UV protection

  • Moisture protection

  • Great adhesion

  • $45 per gallon

Self-Etching Primer: Rust-Oleum® Flat Aluminum Primer

  • Creates a tight bond

  • Prevents flaking, peeling, and blistering

  • Durable, flat finish

  • Cleans easily with soap and water

  • Works with any color

  • Works with brushes and rollers

  • $11 per quart

Whether you decide to DIY or hire a local exterior painting pro, knowing the type of paint that’ll work best for your aluminum siding project is essential.

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