The safest way to paint aluminum is with a face mask and eye protection. Safety precautions are important with aluminum paint because it is made of fiberglass and flecks of aluminum. The paint can cause scratches to the cornea of a painter's eyes, as well as respiratory distress if inhaled.
Using gloves is also a good idea to avoid skin irritation when using aluminum paint. Older aluminum siding should be checked for lead content before painting. This can be done with a simple lead test kit.
Before painting aluminum, areas that do not need paint should be covered. If painting a house, shrubbery can be covered with drop cloths. Cars should have the windows, headlights and trim covered with painter's paper and tape.
The priming process varies depending on the aluminum surface being painted. In general, it involves scrubbing the surface with a mildly abrasive material, washing it thoroughly and applying a coat of primer paint. This ensures that the top coat goes on evenly and lasts a long time. Painters should follow directions about drying time between coats to further ensure even application. In addition, aluminum paint often needs to be applied from a closer distance than other spray paints.