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Can I paint aluminum? Yes. Upon purchasing an aluminum product you can request that we coat it with primer with no extra charge. Our customers have had good success painting these pre-primered aluminum rails. If you don’t have us pre-primer and then later decide to paint you need to get a good adhesion primer. You cannot achieve good adhesion on aluminum through scuffing with abrasives.
I like the look of bare aluminum do I need to do anything to protect it? Yes and No! While aluminum will never rust it will oxidize and develop a white powdery finish that many people would not find desirable. In extreme cases this might even weaken the metal after many years. In order to protect your railing we recommend treating it much the way you would other aluminum products. You can use aluminum cleaners and polishes to finish the rail. These products are available in the automotive section of your favorite store for use on aluminum wheels.
The website claims that your aluminum rails have no finish whatever, how can I finish these if I want a bare metal look? We actually do clean the aluminum rails with a flap wheel, and scott bright pads, we also make an effort to clean the black smoke residue from around the welds. We have opted not to make any promises on the aluminum finish feeling it is better to under-promise and over deliver. To further clean your railing you can use a small brass brush to clean the welds. Scott bright abrasive pads can be used in a palm sander to further enhance the finish, or just buffing by hand with a light abrasive pad may achieve the desired result.
Tip: You want to use latex gloves while cleaning. The oils from your hands can easily soak into the aluminum resulting in messy fingerprint smudges. Once the rail is polished this won’t be an issue.