The Best Primer for Aluminium 2021

Aluminium can be a fiddly surface to paint, especially bare aluminium. The best primer for aluminium adheres well to the surface and is durable to last over time.

Aluminium has become popular because of its versatility and longevity. Used for modern bi-fold doors and strips. The surface however can be a bit trickier than other metals and woods to coat.

Most aluminium surfaces may need etching and the best way to do this is by applying an etch or bonding primer. Priming the surface in this way ensures that there is a key for the top coat finish. However there are self priming products available but we would always recommend etching first.

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The No. 1 Primer for Aluminium

Our preferred Aluminium primer choice is Zinsser Bulleye 1-2-3

Aluminium Paint Comparison

Aluminium PrimerCoverage M2 Per LTin Sizes
Zinsser Bullseye 1-2-310500ml
1 L
Rust-Oleum Special Metals primer9750ml
Hammerite Special Metals Primer16500ml
Marathon Primathon 55L
Plasti-kote Primer Aluminium5400ml

The Best Aluminium Primer Paint

1. Zinsser Bullseye 1-2-3

Zinsser produce a 3 in 1 primer that is a quality aluminium primer. The coating is a primer, sealer and stain killer in one

It is for interior and exterior use and is ideal for glossy finishes and hard to adhere to surfaces such as bare aluminium.

The paint can be applied by brush, roller and spray and covers well.

This paint is water based which means it has a low odour.

The main features of Zinsser Bullseye 1-2-3:

  • Water-based paint with very little smell
  • Little priming or sanding required on most surfaces
  • Primes and seals a large variety of interior and exterior surfaces
  • Quick drying can re-coat after an hour
  • Prevents rust formation

The primer is mould and mildew resistant meaning that it can be used in areas of high humidity such as utility rooms, bathrooms and kitchens.

The primer dries to a flat solid finish, ideal for overcoating with metal paint topcoats.

Bullseye 1-2-3 is an ideal bond coat for galvanised areas like duct work, bare aluminium surfaces, metal panels and doors both internally and externally.

Rust-oleum also offer a furniture finishing wax or a lacquer to further protect the finish.

For a tough adhering aluminium primer with flat finish this is a perfect choice.

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2. Rust-Oleum Special Metals Primer

The special metals primer by Rust-Oleum is the perfect priming solution for aluminium and other hard to coat metal surfaces.

The primer is specifically designed to give a bonding surface ready for top coats.

It is touch dry in an hour, perfect for when speed is required and provides a flat matt finish when dry.

It is an all in one coating but will take a 2 coats to cover 2-3.

The primer paint can be used over previously painted surfaces.

Features of Rust-Oleum Special Metals Primer:

  • For interior and exterior surfaces
  • Hard-wearing
  • Formulated for hard to adhere to metals
  • Dries to a flat finish
  • Touch dry in an hour

The primer can be applied by brush, roller or spray.

A good choice of primer for coating aluminium and other metal surfaces

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3. Hammerite Special Metals Primer


Hammerite makes a special metals primer that is water based and is suitable for aluminium, galvanised metal and copper .

This primer provides a smooth even finish essential for top coating.

It drys fast and can be over coated in 1-2 hours, depending on conditions.

A nice primer to apply and will only take one coat to provide suitable adhesion over aluminium.

The primer is suitable for rust treatment and can be applied to surfaces that are exposed to humidity, rain and rust.

The features of Hammerite Special Metals Primer:

  • Top coat can be applied in as little as 1-2 hours
  • Quick and easy to apply-reduced Runs.
  • Tough & Durable.
  • Smooth finish.
  • Ideal adhesion

We suggest one primer coat, followed by a coat of metal paint followed to create the best finish.

it is available in a red colour.

If you have pieces of aluminium to coat on a project, then this aluminium primer is a great choice.

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4. Marathon Primathon

This rust preventing primer is an effective way of bonding aluminium and steel surfaces.

The paint is aimed for the commercial and industrial painting sectors but can be applied domestically.

The paint can be applied by spray, brush and roller. In fact this paint is best applied by spraying.

Primathon Marathon primer can be top coated with almost any single pack top coat..

The paint is tough and durable, its a high build zinc phosphate anti corrosive primer.

The primer can be applied to most metal surfaces.

Main features of Hemway Chalk paint:

  • High volume of solids in the coating mix for protection
  • Dries fast 10-15 minutes
  • For interior and exterior use in moderate environments
  • Easy to apply
  • Available in different colours

It is available in different quantities from 1 litre to 20 lites for larger projects.

This paint dries extremely fast in the right conditions.

The paint is made in the UK and overall this paint gives great coverage.

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5. Plasti-Kote Aluminium Primer

Plasti-kote produce an aluminium primer aerosol which is ideal for priming small areas or spot priming areas of bare aluminium.

The paint is tough and durable and is easy to apply, just point and spray.

Main features of Plasti-Kote Primer Aluminium:

  • High performance coating
  • Provides excellent base adhesion
  • Fast drying
  • Specifically for coating aluminium
  • Very Fast drying Time

Ideal for smaller items such as bike frames and garden furniture.

This primer is touch dry in 10-20 minutes and dries thoroughly in 30-40 minutes.

The paint dries to a even flat finish suitable for overcoating with metal paints.

Overall this primer supplies great adhering base coat performance.

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As with the majority of painting jobs, the key to a successful project is in the preparation. Aluminium and bare aluminum can be one of the most difficult surfaces to get a bond to due its properties.

A quality aluminium primer is essential to bond the surface which then allows subsequent coats of decorative or protective paint to create the desired finish.

If you have areas of aluminium that require coating make sure that you prepare the surface fully by cleaning and bonding.

How do you prepare Aluminium before Painting?

Ensure that the Aluminium surface is clean and free from dirt, oil, grease and other contaminates. Degrease the surface with a methylated spirit and clean cloth. Use an etch primer or bonding primer. We recommend Bullseye 1-2-3 sealer primer.

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