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Painting outdoor aluminum furniture

Q. I want to paint my peeling aluminum outdoor patio chairs and table. Can I? Do I have to sand first. Do I have to prime. Can I paint the furniture?

Julie Durante
Homemaker - Bolton, Ontario, Canada

Q. Hi,
I am also asking the same question. Have you gotten any responses? My table is peeling and I need to find out if I need to prime it first, and what kind of paint I can use. Please let me know if you get any responses. Good Luck! Dawn

Dawn Baynard
- Lake Wales, Florida, USA
June 16, 2008

A. Hi, folks. Recognizing that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, you must scrape/sand away anything that lacks adhesion because the old paint can fall off and the new paint with it. Yes, aluminum should be primed with a paint designed to be an aluminum primer [on eBay or Amazon] .


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey
June 17, 2008

Q. Thank you, Mr. Mooney. Can I then paint the table with any kind of spray paint?

Dawn Baynard [returning]
- Lake Wales, Florida, USA
June 24, 2008

A. Yes. Most sprays like Rustoleum and Krylon are for outdoor use. Just read the label first because a few paints are for specialty purposes like indoor use or for craft projects.


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey
June 24, 2008

Covermaxx Matte Black

(affil links)

Q. Can you recommend a primer suitable to prime cast aluminum? I have the same problem with my cast aluminum patio furniture, 2" areas of lifting paint. Does it have to be epoxy based primer? I want a super matte finish similar to Krylon Covermaxx super matte primer. After using an appropriate primer on aluminum, can I use this primer (for its finish look) even though it is a black primer?.
Also, can you list the step by step process for preparing the piece for priming and painting.

Nikki Lange
- Meridain, Idaho
April 11, 2018

A. Hi Nikki.
We can't post recommendations for one particular brand over another (why?) but here's a link to a primer made for aluminum and galvanized surfaces which should be fine .

Self-Etching Primer

(affil links)

As previously mentioned, if you have loose paint you must scrape or wire brush it off first. Then, for best results, surfaces should be cleaned before painting. A scrub brush [on eBay or Amazon] and a pail of Spic and Span [affil links] or similar should be fine. Then hose it down, let dry, and prime. Good luck.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey
April 2018

Q. Hello! We purchased a beautiful 11-piece outdoor dining set 3 yrs ago from a local outdoor recreation store. By the end of that summer, the plank like table began to "warp" or "twist" in a small spot and the paint flaked off. Long story short, they stopped dealing with that manufacturer and only offered me a small discount off a new set (which we couldn't afford to do). I would like to try to paint the tabletop over but have never painted rustproof aluminum furniture. Do I need to strip the entire table top to make the paint adhere, sand it, or just cross my fingers and paint the whole thing? I have searched for 60 x 84 table cloths endlessly before finding this site.

Dani Storch
teacher, mom of boys, trying D-I-Y to save $$ - Brick, New Jersey USA
June 29, 2019

A. Hi Dani. If you are sure the paint is peeling only in one small spot, you can prime and touch up just that spot, although it won't look the same. Or you can prime that spot first, lightly sand the rest of the table (or just scrub with a scrub brush and detergent), and paint the whole thing. The only thing that won't work at all is painting on top of peeling paint because it will continue to peel and just take the new paint off with the old. Good luck.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey
June 2019

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