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Old 08-13-2014, 08:39 AM   #1
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Painting Aluminum Window Frames

The PO decided to paint over the teak doors and door frames, and the aluminum window frames, with apparently the same paint. The doors will need to be addressed, but the immediate issue is the aluminum frames.

They're factory coated a dark brown, which is an appropriate contrasting color to the tan hull. Maybe they were faded and that's why they were painted a light tan to match the hull. Now that paint is peeling.

I'll try stripping back to the original finish, but if that doesn't come out well, what's the best paint for this job?
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Old 08-13-2014, 08:46 AM   #2
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I'm facing a similar situation but there's no owner applied paint, the original black paint has failed.

I'll be watching this discussion but my first thought is to use Rustoleum marine paint from the home center. I haven't looked at it closely, but I'll remove the remains of the existing paint and then follow the instructions on the can.
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Old 08-13-2014, 09:46 AM   #3
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Anything with zinc chromate (banned for a lot of uses now) was what they undercoated outboards and outdrives with but in spray cans. It's still available in places with the "professional application" caveat (I think) but widely ignored. Either way...not a good thing to breath.

There was just another thread talking aluminum painting and someone linked an aluminum acid etch system that would be a contender if I studied it more. But any system that addresses pitting and getting the aluminum oxide out of the pits and off the surface for long enough to get paint over it is the ticket from what I have seen/read.
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Old 08-13-2014, 09:54 AM   #4
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Once the paint film starts bubbling then the only thing to do is to scrape and sand down to bare aluminum. Then coat with Alodine, a chromate aluminum primer. Then paint. If you paint without the Alodine primer, it won't last.

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Old 08-13-2014, 10:44 AM   #5
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Understood about bare aluminum. But if - big IF - I get the OP's paint off and the factory paint is still intact underneath, but faded, can I just spray over that, or does it have to come back to bare aluminum and be primed?
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Old 08-13-2014, 10:49 AM   #6
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Understood about bare aluminum. But if - big IF - I get the OP's paint off and the factory paint is still intact underneath, but faded, can I just spray over that, or does it have to come back to bare aluminum and be primed?
I doubt you'll be able to get just the new paint off, but if you have intact, well adhered paint and prep it properly you can paint over it just like you would a car or your home.
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Old 08-13-2014, 11:15 AM   #7
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I doubt you'll be able to get just the new paint off, but if you have intact, well adhered paint and prep it properly you can paint over it just like you would a car or your home.
I agree, for the prep just make sure it is lightly sanded and wiped down with thinners before painting or the new paint will not adhere. If you are using a water based paint over oil based it will have to be primed but I would not expect you are using a water based paint.
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Old 08-13-2014, 11:26 AM   #8
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Can they be removed, bead blasted, and powder coated?
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Old 08-13-2014, 11:29 AM   #9
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I is possible that the original finish isn't paint but rather anodized. That is tough stuff. I painted an aluminum boat years ago with great success. I kept it about ten years afterward and never had a chipping, peeling or other adhesion issue. I stripped it bare with paint stripper. sanded it with 220 grit until spotless clean. Then etched it with automotive metal prep (muriatic acid ). Washed it with clear water and allowed it to dry in the sun then overnight. Sprayed it with Petit zinc cromate. then lightly wet sanded with 330 grit. Then sprayed it with two coats of Petit Easy Poxy. Came out really nice.
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Old 08-13-2014, 05:03 PM   #10
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Nice Coincidence, I was just going to ask what caulk to use on my aluminum engine room vents when I put them back in. In my case the vents were easily removed so I took them home & bead blasted them. With a bit of sleuthing I found a small local company that dry powder coats and will be taking them there tomorrow. Cost for six 24"X12" vents is $150.00 cdn.

I also talked to a pro auto body painter, he said he would paint with an etch primer followed by a two part paint. Cost would have been $60.00 a vent. Ouch!

Sadly they are pitted in some areas so they can never look perfect but at least the powder coat should last as long as I do.
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Old 08-13-2014, 06:19 PM   #11
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Nice Coincidence, I was just going to ask what caulk to use on my aluminum engine room vents when I put them back in. In my case the vents were easily removed so I took them home & bead blasted them. With a bit of sleuthing I found a small local company that dry powder coats and will be taking them there tomorrow. Cost for six 24"X12" vents is $150.00 cdn.

I also talked to a pro auto body painter, he said he would paint with an etch primer followed by a two part paint. Cost would have been $60.00 a vent. Ouch!

Sadly they are pitted in some areas so they can never look perfect but at least the powder coat should last as long as I do.
Ask to see a sample of textured powder coat. You may like it. It will hide all the pits.

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Old 08-13-2014, 08:51 PM   #12
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Can't recommend powder coating. I have a lot of it, and it does not seem to last even though it was done professionally by two different applicators. Wish I had used two part linear poly with a proper cleansing and stabilizing primer.

If you insist, make darn sure you isolate every single fastener and deal with every ding as soon as you see it, as in immediately.
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Old 08-13-2014, 09:00 PM   #13
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I agree, for the prep just make sure it is lightly sanded and wiped down with thinners before painting or the new paint will not adhere...
I would add to that, the primer needs to go on immediately, with no delay, after the prep.
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Old 08-13-2014, 09:04 PM   #14
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Can't recommend powder coating. I have a lot of it, and it does not seem to last even though it was done professionally by two different applicators. Wish I had used two part linear poly with a proper cleansing and stabilizing primer.

If you insist, make darn sure you isolate every single fastener and deal with every ding as soon as you see it, as in immediately.


Every nice yacht captain that requested custom panels for new electronics wanted painted aluminum and SPECIFICALLY did NOT want powder coated when I worked at a marine electronics place.

It's been my experience that it is the RARE example of powder coating that has held up and no where's near the longevity I have seen with a good paint job with numerous choices of paint.
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Old 08-13-2014, 09:27 PM   #15
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Etching and properly treating with alodine followed by chromite is the way to do it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by djmarchand View Post
Once the paint film starts bubbling then the only thing to do is to scrape and sand down to bare aluminum. Then coat with Alodine, a chromate aluminum primer. Then paint. If you paint without the Alodine primer, it won't last.

David
Powder coating is similar to painting, you have to etch , alodine , prime and top coat if you want the coating to last. I would use Alwgrip or Sterling two part as a top coat.
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Old 08-14-2014, 09:16 AM   #16
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Now you have me worried and re-thinking going with powder coating, it will be brutal to remove if/when it fails but I just can't bring myself to paying $360 to spray paint a few vents with an epoxy. I'm thinking now, since I also would like to paint my faded aluminum window frames like CaptTom & Ron that I may be better off just painting with any old enamel. At least when it fails it would be a relatively simple task to lightly sand and repaint.

I do like mbevins idea of textured dry powder to hide the pits however.
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Old 08-14-2014, 09:24 AM   #17
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Now you have me worried and re-thinking going with powder coating, it will be brutal to remove if/when it fails but I just can't bring myself to paying $360 to spray paint a few vents with an epoxy. I'm thinking now, since I also would like to paint my faded aluminum window frames like CaptTom & Ron that I may be better off just painting with any old enamel. At least when it fails it would be a relatively simple task to lightly sand and repaint.

I do like mbevins idea of textured dry powder to hide the pits however.
Couldn't you fill the pits, then sand and paint?

My plan isn't even to spray because masking would be a big chore and removing non-leaking windows would be an even bigger chore. Flat or semigloss paint could be brushed on or If I could find or make a 1" roller, that might give a better finish. It's just trim, it's not like I'm painting the boat with a brush.
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Old 08-14-2014, 10:48 AM   #18
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Use the marine outboard ,I-O rattle can to prime , and another rattle can in the color of your choice.

Will last well look good and cost little.
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Old 08-14-2014, 10:56 AM   #19
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Use the marine outboard ,I-O rattle can to prime , and another rattle can in the color of your choice.

Will last well look good and cost little.
If it is just a few parts, that is a splendid idea.
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Old 08-14-2014, 10:56 AM   #20
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If the aluminum was originally annodized and doesn't have any pitting/corrosion, this should work. It is what many Nordic Tug owners have done to paint the black annodized window frames. This comes from an owner and it was posted to the SENTOA website:

I have anodized windows & wheelhouse doors with bare metal showing in spots and have been able to refinish them as follows:
Light sanding with 320-grit paper just enough to remove loose stuff.
Wipe with paint thinner.
2 coats of Rust-oleum grey primer thinned 40-50% with Penetrol (NOT normal paint thinner) I use a foam brush.
Sand again & wipe if needed to level runs and sags but use very light pressure.
2 coats of Rust-oleum flat black paint, thinned 40-50% with Penetrol. (I tried gloss black but it turns out much too glossy for me.) I also use a foam brush for this.
Finish with the reddish rubbing compound they sell at Pep Boys, NAPA stores, etc.
A car buff showed me how to do this and since these materials are not normally sold in marine stores, you will be pleasantly surprised at their cost. The secret of the Penetrol is that it makes the paint thin and runny enough to flow smoothly but does not destroy the hiding ability of the paint. Finally, I would practice on something other than the boat first.
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