by Ron Joseph
Q: I have several large aluminum panels (picket fence type) that need to be prepped. I read one article you had about DIY'er in Arizona, good stuff, but I need to know what I can prep the aluminum with? I work in California, now that you have picked yourself up off the floor from laughter, can you suggest any products or hint a name? I think I'm going to use a primer from Dunn Edwards. I think it's called galvalum, but the prep chem is what is stumping me ... please help!
There are several new pretreatments on the market for aluminum surfaces. Unfortunately, to the best of my knowledge they are not readily available for the consumer market and I don't believe that paint stores carry them. One such product is PreKote-X-It from Pantheon Chemicals. This is a water-thin product that can be wiped with a clean rag onto an clean aluminum surface prior to priming and top coating. I have performed some limited testing of the product and also read research papers that indicate that the product works very well as a pretreatment for aluminum.
Carpenter Chemicals makes a product called Plaforization, and this too might fit the bill. Unless you can purchase directly from Carpenter Chemicals, I don't know where you will be able to obtain the product.
For both products, I suggest that you visit the web sites of Pantheon and Carpenter and go from there.