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How to Restore Aluminum Railings on Balconies

Last modified: 2022-06-20 | Approximate reading time 4 mins

Aluminum railings have grown in popularity for many homes to use on their decks, balconies or alongside entryways. These railings are being used more widely because of their versatility, durability and easy maintenance.

Aluminum is easier to take care of than most traditional railing materials, such as wrought iron or wood. However, like all outdoor materials, aluminum railings can become damaged and deteriorate.

With that in mind, it is important to read up on a few tips and tricks to keep your railings looking their best. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place, as we are here to offer up tips for cleaning, maintaining and keeping those aluminum railings prim and proper!

How to restore your aluminum railings

Cleaning aluminum railings

aluminum railings around a

Maintaining aluminum railings is relatively easy, as this material requires minimal care. We are recommending that you inspect railings at least once a year to determine whether they need to be repaired. If your railings are near a pool or a spa, they should be inspected more frequently. The most common way to clean an aluminum railing is to hose it down with your garden hose and let it dry completely.

Of course, this will only work to remove a minimal layer of surface-level dirt. If you find caked-on mud or dirt, you’ll have to take cleaning one step further. Using some muscle, pour a solution of non-abrasive soap with water and grab a sponge.

Using the sponge, scrub away the grime. Make sure that the sponge is not dry or rough, as this will damage the railings and cause the aluminum surface to become scratched.

Once you’ve finished cleaning, rinse the solution off with water. Some aluminum railings contain glass panels, and these can be cleaned as any regular glass would be. Use glass cleaner, avoiding paper towels to wipe it off as this may leave streaks or lint residue. 

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Durability and powder coating

Aluminum railings are exceptionally durable, and will not warp or rot like other railing materials such as wood. Many of the newer models of aluminum railings come with a powder-coat finish which works to protect the colour and surface of the aluminum.

Although this finish lasts an exceptionally long time, over the years a white, chalk-like substance may appear on the surface of your railings. This is normal, and the aluminum should be cleaned and polished to get back its original glossy texture and shine. You can polish your railings using a soft cleaning product, avoiding anything with exceptionally harsh chemicals which will just make matters worse.


Aside from regular cleaning and polishing, your aluminum railing fasteners will need to be inspected. The fasteners are the joints that hold pieces of the railing in their place. Over time these may loosen, making them dangerous to rest upon or hold onto. Your fasteners will need to be tightened as necessary, making sure that the railings are in good working order.

It is recommended that you use a light coat of floor or car wax, applying it to the tops of each exposed fastener every 3 to 6 months. This will work to prevent oxidation, and also strengthen the fasteners. You may also notice surface rust forming on your aluminum railings. However, this is a normal part of the ageing process, and will not affect the integrity of the fasteners.

Painting a railing

If, in addition to maintaining your railing, you decide to offer it a youth cure or change its look, it is possible to paint it. Since this surface is smooth and often covered with a protective anti-rust (and non-stick!) coating, it will have to be prepared before applying the colour. Degrease with acetone or alcohol to burn, then sand with fine-grained paper before rinsing with water.

Several choices are available to you for the future. There are aerosol aluminum paints that do not require any undercoat. However, it is advisable to use a rust-proof primer and let it dry completely before applying the paint. You can use a roller to apply vertically the paint of your choice: acrylic latex, epoxy or glycero.

Would you like to install a railing on your balcony? Take a look at our article How To Install a Guardrail on a Balcony.

Coastline maintenance


If you are living close to a coast, you may have to perform a few extra maintenance techniques on your aluminum railings. Salt and moisture from a coastline region can create a damaging buildup of salt on the railings. Unfortunately, this buildup can be harmful to the aluminum, and cause it to deteriorate faster.

If this happens to be the case for you, make sure to check aluminum railings once a month in order to remove the salty residue. The salt must be removed carefully, and as before, avoid using a rough or harsh brush or sponge. 

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