Painting aluminum commercial grade doors

Paint can make a pet-scratched aluminum door look almost new again.Paint can make a pet-scratched aluminum door look almost new again.

Aluminum is a common material for storm and screen doors, which are installed in front of an exterior door. Aluminum is also used for some bi-fold closet and cabinet doors. Although you can paint aluminum with nearly any paint, exterior-grade spray-paint leaves an even, smooth finish without brushstrokes, and it dries faster and bonds better than latex. Unless you have chosen low- or no-fume spray-paint, work outdoors or in a garage with the main door opened. After painting, the door should look new again.

Remove the hinge and pneumatic closer arm screws, if any exist, with a Phillips or flat-head screwdriver and take down the door. A pneumatic closer is a tube-shaped apparatus, usually at the top of a storm or screen door, that closes the door automatically. If the door sits on a track, such as a bi-fold closet door, pull the spring-loaded pegs at the top of the door out of the track and lift the door out of the bottom track. Separate bi-fold doors at the hinges after removing them from the track by removing the hinge screws.

Cover the area where you will paint with newspapers or a drop cloth. If you are using saw horses, set them on the newspaper or drop cloth.

Lay the door on a flat, horizontal work surface.

Clean the door with degreasing cleaner or an ammonia-based cleaner and a rag. An old toothbrush helps clean inside tight areas. Rinse the door by wiping it with a damp sponge, or use a garden hose if you are working outside. Let the door dry completely.

Remove the glass or screens, if any exist and if they are removable, by turning the clips or sliding the panel out of its track. If glass or screen is not removable, cover it with newspaper. Trim the newspaper slightly smaller than the glass or screened area with scissors, and tape the newspaper around the perimeter with painter’s tape or masking tape. Tape will stick to most screens.

Cover any other parts of the door that you don’t want to paint, such as the handle and weatherstripping, with tape, and trim the edges of the tape with a utility knife. You can remove some of those items if you wish, but it’s simpler to cover them with tape.

Put on a pair of protective safety glasses or goggles, a dust mask and chemical-resistant gloves.

Sand off any flaked paint with an ultrafine-grit sanding sponge or sandpaper, and wipe off the sanding dust with a rag or sponge.

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