Chalky Siding: How to Prep for Aluminum Painting Project

 In Exterior Painting

Painting Aluminum Siding in Cleveland Because of Chalk

One of the main reasons a homeowners in Cleveland will paint their aluminum siding is because they notice a white residue on the surface. This is called ‘chalking’ and essentially is the existing paint breaking down from the weather.

This oxidation that occurs on aluminum siding results in the build up of a chalk like substance on the siding itself which can easily be seen by wiping your hand across the aluminum. This substance, if not removed, will affect how well the paint can adhere to the siding. In order to remove enough of the chalk like substance with a power washer, you would need to get close enough to the siding that you run the risk of damaging it. Therefore, here at Textbook Painting, we have a special cleaning process that we use when painting aluminum siding.

The first step in our hand washing process is to lightly power wash the siding. Once it is wet, we use brushes and a cleaning agent to hand scrub the siding. The cleaning agent makes the removal of the chalk easier and it also kills any mold, mildew or algae that may be growing on the siding as we don’t want that festering beneath our top coat of paint. Following the scrubbing, we will go back over the siding with a light power wash to give it a final rinse to remove all of the chalking and dirt. We pay special attention to the small lip under the aluminum siding pieces as rain does not rinse contaminants that can build up there.

Power washing your house is like taking your car to a drive through car wash and our hand washing process is like washing your car by hand in the driveway. The car wash will certainly clean your car but is nothing compared to washing it by hand.

Any painting company in Cleveland will power wash your home before painting. POWER WASHING IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH! You should not have your aluminum siding painted by anyone who does not understand the importance of properly washing the siding beforehand.


We believe in doing things the right way to provide the longest-lasting and best result possible. We call this doing things the Textbook Way. If you have noticed a chalky residue on your aluminum siding, we would love to provide you with a quote to paint it. It will be a very cost effective alternative compared to replacing your siding and will last for a long time. Learn all about our home exterior painting services here.


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Showing 2 comments
  • Lynn petersun

    What chemicals are involved? What is in the “chalky” substance? Does that substance have lead in it?

    • Michael Murray

      Hi Lynn, to remove the chalky substance, we wash using TSP (trisodium phosphate). The chalky substance is simply the existing paint breaking down from the sun and weather. Nothing to be worried about. If your home was built before 1978, you should always test for the presence of lead before starting a renovation project. That being said, it is most likely not lead-based paint on aluminum siding.

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