This step-by-step tutorial will show you how to paint aluminum windows and door frames. It’s a quick and easy way to update your old doors and windows for just a few dollars.While we’ve made lots of improvements and updates to our home over the last several years, replacing the aluminum windows and sliding glass doors just isn’t in the budget right now.
We have two sets of sliding doors that lead out to our huge screened porch and as much as I love all the light they let in, the bare metal finish really just made them look a bit cheap and unfinished.
I painted the interior of the sliding doors several years ago and the paint has held up really well. There is a bit of chipping on the door handle, but everything else still looks pristine.
I’m in the middle of updating our screened porch so this seemed like the perfect time to tackle the exterior of the doors. And while I was at it, I also painted the aluminum windows on our porch as well as all of the metal outlet covers.
Today I’m sharing step-by-step instructions and photos as well as a video tutorial of the entire process.
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Vacuum (for cleaning sliding glass door tracks and window sills)
Painter’s tape ( 2-3 inch thick tape is best for this project)
Roll of kraft paper or wrapping paper
How to paint aluminum windows and door frames
The first step of any painting project is cleaning. Our sliding doors had accumulated quite a bit of pollen and dust in the door track so I started by vacuuming it out. Then I used an all-purpose cleaner and rag to clean everything I was going to be painting.
Spray paint is definitely the best paint for painting almost anything metal. It adheres well and goes on quickly. Most general use spray paints will work for this project. Just double check that your paint says it is appropriate for use on metal and can be used outdoors. I used Rustoleum Semi-Gloss Protective Enamel in white for my own doors and windows.
You will need to do a bit of extra prep when using spray paint to make sure the overspray doesn’t mess up anything nearby.
Start by using painter’s tape to tape all along the edges of where you will be painting. This would be a great time to use 3 inch painter’s tape to provide more protection. I only had the regular 1″ painter’s tape on hand, so I did a few rows of tape around my windows and doors.
I also covered the entire glass section of the windows and doors. This isn’t completely necessary but I like the extra protection it gives.
My money-saving trick is to use any old rolls of wrapping paper if you don’t have brown kraft paper on hand. I always seem to have an excess of wrapping paper somehow and this is a great way to repurpose it.
Once you have everything prepped, you can start painting. Any time you spray paint, start by shaking your paint thoroughly for about a minute and then shaking it every few minutes as you work. It’s also a good idea to wear a protective mask when working with spray paint.
Hold the spray paint 6 to 8 inches from the surface you are painting and slowly move it over the surface with a steady back and forth motion. Make sure you keep the can moving to avoid thick, drippy areas.
You want to do 2-3 thin coats of paint. Don’t be tempted to try for one very thick coat, you’ll just end up with drips and uneven coverage.
Check the instructions on your can of spray paint to see how long you need to wait before adding a second coat of paint – usually it is only a minute or two.
When you’re done painting, turn the paint upside down and spray for five seconds. This will make sure the can doesn’t clog and will work just as smoothly for your next project.
Once the paint is mostly dry, you can carefully remove the painter’s tape and paper.
If you find any little spots where paint managed to sneak through your barrier onto the glass, it’s easy to remove using a razor blade scraper.
Painted Metal Doors and Windows
Here are some before and after photos so you can really see the difference the paint made. Even though the color difference from bare aluminum to white is subtle, the windows and doors look so much nicer (and less cheap) now. I love how they blend in with everything else instead of standing out.
I also built new shutters for the windows, but even without the shutters, I was really surprised at just how much better those windows look.
And the metal outlet covers blend in nicely now. Which is great, since we have at least a dozen scattered around our porch.
This project was particularly quick and easy. I used three cans of spray paint to paint two sets of sliding glass doors, two windows, and a dozen outlets. And the entire project was done in a couple of hours. The majority of that time was spent cleaning and taping everything. The actual painting took less than ten minutes.
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- All-purpose cleaner
- Painter’s tape
- Roll of kraft paper or wrapping paper
- Spray paint
- Start by removing any pollen and dust in the door frame by vacuuming it out.
- Use an all-purpose cleaner and rag to clean the surfaces you will be painting.
- Secure painter’s tape all along the edges of the surfaces you will be painting.
- Cover the entire glass section of the windows and doors with kraft paper or wrapping paper.
- Shake your paint thoroughly for about a minute and then begin painting.
- Hold the spray paint 6 to 8 inches from the surface and move it with a steady back and forth motion.
- You will need 2-3 thin coats of paint.
- Once the paint is dry, remove the painter’s tape and paper.
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Rust-Oleum 338945 Stops Rust Advanced Spray Paint, 12-Ounce, Semi-Gloss White
Made in USA Brown Kraft Paper Jumbo Roll 17.75” x 1200” (100ft) Ideal for Gift Wrapping, Art, Craft, Postal, Packing, Shipping, Floor Covering, Dunnage, Parcel, Table Runner 100% Recycled Material
ScotchBlue Original Multi-Surface Painter’s Tape, 2.83 inch x 60 yard, 1 Roll
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