Can I Paint My Aluminum Window Frames?

Being exposed to the elements 24/7 does great damage to your house. Windows are among the many that take a constant beating.

If your windows are made of aluminum or any other metal, then you must know from first-hand experience that they lose their shine and look dull after a while. 

You may be wondering whether you can paint aluminum window frames or not. 

The answer to that is yes, you can paint your aluminum window frames and get them to look good as new in no time. 

In this article, you will find answers to:

  • How to Make Aluminum Window Frames Look Better?
  • What is the cost to paint aluminum window frames?
  • How to Make Old Aluminum Windows Look New?
  • How to Date Old Windows? / How old are my windows?

How to Make Aluminum Window Frames Look Better?

It’s a pity that aluminum window frames weather scratches, dullness, discoloration, and lose their sheen over time. Painting them is an easy and inexpensive process to refurbish their tired, worn look. Let’s explore how to paint and give your aluminum window frames a complete makeover. 

Safety precautions

DIY projects are fun and extremely satisfying. But taking safety precautions while handling such chemical substances is paramount. Wear gloves, safety goggles, and respirators or masks while performing the next stages, and keep your vicinity well ventilated to prevent the buildup of toxic chemicals in the air. 

It’s also advisable to protect your glass panes and surrounding walls while you undertake this entire operation. Use Painter’s tape to seal off the glass from the frames and masking paper or plastic to protect the rest of the glass area. Also, use drip sheets on the floor to keep them from staining or any paint mishap. 

Cleaning your frames

It’s tricky to make the paint adhere to metal surfaces. It’s even trickier when there is dust, grime, and debris present between the metal and paint coats. It’s, therefore, necessary to clean your window frames thoroughly before moving on to the next steps. 

You can clean your frames using a no-soap or mild soap solution and a soft cloth. Micro-fiber cloth would be the gentlest option. If there is any indication of rust, try using soft sandpaper to remove the layers and clean the remains. Make sure to pat dry the frames, especially the grooves and joints, so there is no water deposit. 

Applying Primer

Priming is an essential step that, however tempting it may seem, should not be missed. Priming provides the metal surface with a smooth finish and prepares it to accept paint coats flawlessly. 

The primer you choose should be oil-based and primarily come with rust-inhibitive properties. You could also go for self-etching primers as they lend enhanced adhesion to the paint. You can get a paintbrush or roller to apply the primer or go for various spray paint primers.

Spray paint primers are preferred as they help in applying thin coats which is the key to giving your aluminum window frames a high-finish, professional look after the paint job. 

After applying primer to your window frames, let that primer settle for a few hours before you start with the painting process. 

Applying Paint

Now that your window frames are cleaned, primed, and fully prepped, they are ready to be painted over. 

High-quality acrylic paints tend to be the best kind of paints for aluminum window frames. Make sure to check the paint instructions beforehand and verify if it’s suitable to be used on aluminum. 

Also, metal spray paints are a great option to reduce any incidence of excess buildup or dripping. Spray paints are easier to handle and maneuver in order to render thin coats of paint which is essential to achieve an even finish. 

Your application should be steady with back and forth movements, all the while ensuring that the coats are even and thin. Let layers dry for a few minutes in case of spray paints and a period of 6-7 hours in case of acrylic paint before going for more layers. 

Leave your paint to dry and check for any textural defects. If you find any, scrape them off with a sleek blade causing minimum damage. Voila! Your window frames must look as good as new.

What is the cost to paint aluminum window frames?

The whole cost of the project would depend upon the size and number of window frames you need to paint. If you have a few window frames to paint, it’s safe to estimate that you will be able to wrap up the whole project for under $150. If you have a lot of areas to cover, then you might have to compare the cost of doing it all by yourself with hiring professionals for the same. 

On average, it’d take around one to two standard cans of spray for a single large window. Considering this and that you have the cleaning supplies and other optional supplies like a ladder at hand, here’s the rest of your cost estimate: 

  • A can of spray paint: $10-$15 for 12oz, 
    • Or, Acrylic paint: $45 to $50 per gallon,
  • Paint Primer: $15 to $25 per gallon, 
  • Drop Cloth: $10-$30
  • Scrub Brush: $10-$25
  • Tape and paper to protect surfaces: $5 each, per roll

Going the DIY route for painting your aluminum window frames would cost considerably lower than replacing them or hiring a contractor. For this task, you will need supplies such as masking paper, painter’s tape, drop cloths, sandpaper, safety goggles, ladder, etc in addition to the primer and paint.

If you choose to go for spraying your primer and paint, you will save on time and costs since you can skip out on buying paintbrushes or rollers. Spray paints also dry faster than other types of paints. 

How to Make Old Aluminum Windows Look New?

Old aluminum windows shouldn’t be put a damper on your house as they are quite easy to renovate. By following the same painting instructions mentioned above, you can turn the entire look of your old windows around.  

How to Date Old Windows?

The material of the window can reveal a lot about its approximate age. Wood is the popular choice and has been throughout the ages. So, to date wooden windows you will have to take a careful look at their make and designs.

Solid vinyl windows are relatively recent. Aluminum and fiberglass windows are quite popular nowadays. These materials are pretty sturdy in make and don’t require replacement as such. 

How old are my windows?

You can take an estimated guess of the age of your windows by observing their hardware too. By noticing its latches and pins and its support methods such as pegs, latches, or springs, you can date it to the decades they became popular. 


Who doesn’t want their house to look warm and inviting? Your windows play a key role in giving off that impression. Your aluminum window frames, just like every other element of your house, require care and maintenance. Keeping your frames clean and giving them a paint job from time to time will keep them looking brand new. 

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