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topic 10140

Prepare oxidized aluminum for painting

I have recently replaced some existing storms with new vinyl clad storm windows and intend to paint the remaining aluminum combination storm frames with a matching gray aerosol spray paint. The existing aluminum frames have 30 years of surface oxidation and need to be cleaned before painting.

Can I sand the finish with fine Sandpaper [linked by editor to product info at Rockler] / 0000 steel wool [linked by editor to product info at Rockler] before painting or is there a marketed product that would be easier/better to neutralize the oxidation? I did read a post about cleaning aluminum for welding, but didn't understand what an acid etch was or even if that was applicable to my situation.

Please help me because I am getting pressure from my spouse to get on this project.

Thanks in advance for helping preserve marital harmony in my household.

Lyle Burmeister
- Madison, Wisconsin


A. I have used the store-bought acid-based aluminum cleaners like Burnishine Aluminum Brightener and Duro Aluminum Jelly and have personally not been much impressed. If it were me, I think I'd just prepare the pieces for painting by cleaning them with detergent and a pressure washer or a scrub brush.

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey


A. I've heard Vinegar works well.

John Dean
- Deer, North Dakota

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