Aluminum siding started to become popular after World War II, when this metal, which had been so crucial to the war effort, became more readily available. Valued for its weather resistance, low maintenance requirements, and long-lasting finish, aluminum was a common siding choice until vinyl overtook it in the 1970s.
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Although it's durable, aluminum siding is prone to denting, and its color chalks and fades over time. But if you live in an aluminum-clad home that has lost its luster, replacement isn't your only option. If you're otherwise happy with your siding's performance, consider cleaning, patching, and repainting it instead.
First you'll need to replace any dented or damaged sections. Then scrape off flaking paint, and chisel out and reapply caulk lines as necessary. Scrub away mildew with a bleach-water solution before hand-washing the siding with soap and warm water. To speed things up, you can power-wash instead, using a low-pressure tip. Let the siding dry for a few days before painting, beginning with an application of galvanized metal etching primer. Once the primer is dry, paint the house using 100 percent acrylic exterior paint. A low-luster finish will help hide surface irregularities, and I strongly recommend two coats.
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