Steel siding is typically very easy to take care of.
You won’t have to worry about cleaning it or taking care of it the way you have to do vinyl or wood siding.
However, there are times when you may notice that the steel siding is in need of some paint.
There are times when the finish can start to wear down, and the bare metal or steel underneath can be exposed.
If this is your situation, we have the information you need to fix it.
Can You Paint Steel Siding?
Steel siding can be painted as long as you are able to follow a very specific process to do it properly.
Sometimes steel siding can get a bit chalky, and the glossy finish that is on it will start to erode.
Although it may take a long time and some very bad exposure to elements, eventually, the finish on the siding can wear down to the metal.
This is obviously not good because the metal can start to rust and fall apart if it is exposed too much to the elements.
If steel siding starts to rust, you will have an even bigger problem on your hands.
If you notice that the paint has started to get chalky or fade on your steel siding, it is best to follow these steps to get it painted properly and looking great again.
The process is a bit different than other types of painting, and you will want to make sure you follow it properly, so you don’t have to do it more than once.
Steps to Paint Steel Siding
Step 1: Gather Supplies
Like any painting project, you are going to need brushes, buckets, drop cloths, and ladders.
These supplies are going to help make sure you have the painting materials you need, but there is quite a bit of washing you must do when you work with steel siding.
Steel siding must be completely cleaned, and the chalky paint texture has to be removed.
To remove this properly, you are going to probably need to use a power washer.
Here are a few other supplies you will need to complete the entire process.
- Drop Cloths
- Painting Trays
- Anti-Rust Primer
- Exterior Latex Finish Paint
- Power Washer
- Soap and Water
Step 2: Prepare the Surface
Perhaps the most essential part of painting steel siding is to take the necessary steps to prepare the surface.
When you skip the steps to properly prepare the surface, you are going to have a hard time getting paint to stick.
The biggest issue here is that you will want to make sure that you have no chalky residue or mold on the siding.
If any of this is left, the paint is not going to stick.
It can be hard to tell if you have removed everything that needs to be removed.
We recommend running your hand on the steel siding to see if anything comes off in your hand.
If it does, you are going to need to spend some extra time on power washing and removal of the prior paint or finish.
We also recommend spraying the home with a mixture of three parts water to one part bleach.
This mixture is going to help you make sure that there are no bacteria actively growing on the steel siding.
This process is going to be different for each person.
If your coating on your siding is really done, you are going to be able to get it to come off quite a bit easier.
For those who have issues with removing the previous coatings and surfaces, the process may involve some sanding and scraping of the previous coating.
If you do notice that you have an issue removing paint, make sure that, when you start painting, you only do it in a small area.
If you don’t do it in a small area, you could find that it does not stick properly.
Essentially, it can be hard to determine if the surface is ready for paint, so testing a small area is always smart.
Step 3: Start with a Primer
You will want to start with an anti-rust primer built for outdoor use on metal and steel.
If you do not use the proper product, you could end up having the paint chip and peel.
Some people who are able to restore the finish will try and skip the priming step.
Although this is understandable, it will likely be a decision that you regret.
Priming the surface helps to make sure that the finish coat is going to stick and that it will hold up long term.
The primer can help to provide a barrier on the steel as well.
The anti-rust capabilities will ensure that, even if the metal is exposed to water and other elements, it will have no trouble with being exposed and starting to mold or rust.
The primer adds an extra coat of paint to your project, but it will be well worth it.
Step 4: Finish Coat
Once you have the primer in place, you can start to install the finish coat.
When it comes to the finish coat, we recommend starting in a small area and doing a test location.
This is going to help to make sure that the paint is actually going to stick to the primer.
If you, for some reason, have trouble with the paint sticking, you are going to want to reevaluate the quality of the topcoat that you are using.
The paint must be high quality when you are painting steel.
Any type of watered-down lower quality paint is going to end up being too runny and will not give it time to stick to the steel and the primer.
The finish coat will need to be done two times.
You cannot paint the finish coat only once and expect that it will cover properly and remain looking good for years.
Finish coat painting must be thorough and cover everything completely.
Step 5: Close Monitoring
After the finish coat, you are essentially done with this process.
However, we highly recommend taking some time to make sure that your finished coat continues to look good.
Essentially, if the old coat was coming off for some reason, you would want to understand why and make sure it is not happening to the new coat.
Most of the time, as long as you have used the right product, you are not going to have any issues.
How Long Does Painted Steel Siding Last
One common question that people have about steel siding is how long it will last.
Steel siding is meant to be durable and not require all that much maintenance.
However, like all things, it does not last forever.
The length of time that steel siding is typically going to last is about 50 years.
This should be enough time that it does not cause you much in the line of maintenance.
This extra coat of paint that you must do can certainly help to make sure that you get some extra years out of your siding.
Most of the time, the steel is capable of lasting longer as it is simply the paint and the glossy finish that starts to eventually fall apart.
What Paint Sheen Should Be Used Use on Steel Siding?
It is essential to make sure you use the proper paint when completing this process.
As we mentioned, if you don’t use the proper paint, you are going to find that you have trouble getting the paint to stick and to hold up long term.
Luckily, we have some tips to help make sure that you do this right.
The acrylic and latex exterior coats are going to be the best paints to choose.
These paints tend to be a bit stickier and have an easier time staying on the metal.
However, in addition to this, you are going to want to use a satin-type finish.
The satin finish helps to make sure that the water will fall off the surface of the siding without sticking.
A flat finish on steel siding can make it harder for water to drain off.
Another thing to keep in mind is that a glossy finish maybe a little too shiny for your home.
The satin tends to look the best while still providing the functionality that you need for your home.
How Much Does It Cost to Paint Metal Siding?
If you are not sure about whether or not this painting process is for you, we can certainly understand.
Taking on an exterior painting project is a big undertaking.
You will need quite a bit of gear and supplies.
If your metal siding goes up to a second story, the process gets even more involved.
Essentially, you have to carefully decide if this process is going to be something that you want to get involved in.
If you decide that it is indeed too much for you to accomplish, then you may want to look into hiring a contractor to do this for you.
The price you pay for painting steel siding is going to vary based on the size of your home and the location where you live.
Certain areas have a higher income than others, and therefore, these types of projects are priced high.
The average cost of this project will range from anywhere around $3,000 up to $20,000.
Of course, this is a large range and quite a bit of money to consider, but the pricing could be worth it depending on your unique situation and the condition of your siding.
If you already have quite a bit of mold or rust developing on your siding, you may want to hire someone to handle this process for you.
The time it takes and the equipment necessary may not make it worth it for you in the end.
As you can see, the good news is that steel siding can be painted.
The bad news is that the project takes a bit of work and time.
If you are new to home improvement projects, you will find something like this could be too big of an undertaking.
If you do think you are capable of handling it on your own, then we recommend starting with a small area and going from there.
If the small area goes well, you can start tackling other parts of the project.
If the small area does not go well, you can then move on and hire a professional to complete the project.
Hopefully, painting steel siding will be something that you never come across in the time that you own your home.
With the warranty that most steel siding comes with, having to paint this is not an everyday or typical project.