The Important Steps On How To Paint An Aluminum Boat

Mastering the skill on how to paint an aluminum boat will not only beautify your floating vessel; it will also give you comfort because of the protection it provides from the several inevitable battles that your boat may encounter.

While many prefer going to professional painters in the factories, my wish is that through this tutorial you will realize that painting is a creative do-it-yourself activity that will help you maintain your boat while saving your money. What you just need is prepare the materials I will mention and follow the simple steps that I will discuss.

So, let's do this.

Materials needed:

  • Primer: This is also sometimes called undercoat. The one I use is Duraluxe Marine Paint which is available at Home Depot. Read the can label to make sure that the primer you use is compatible with the paint.
  • Electric sander: This tool makes smoothing the boat's surface quicker. What I suggest is to use a random orbital (also known as dual action or DA).
  • Paint: You can use any product that works well with the primer. I recommend that you use the same company and its products all the way through as using different brands can be a little bit tricky.
  • Marine-grade epoxy: This is available in your nearest boat stores and hardware. What I use is TAP Marine Grade Epoxy which many claims to be the safest epoxy available on the market.
  • Painter tape: Any brand of this product sticky enough to make removable parts paint-free will work for this tutorial. I use 3M Masking Tape.
  • Rags or dry cloth: You will use this material in wiping down the boat especially during the preparation stage and after sanding.
  • Paint brush, roller or paint spray: All these three serve the same purpose; to spread the paint over. Just select which one your hands are more comfortable with when using.
  • Sawhorses:  You will need a pair of these materials for this tutorial. Sawhorses will help balance the boat when cleaning and painting.
  • Cleaner:  Look for a product or brand that is safe to use for aluminum components.
  • Safety goggles and face mask: These are protective pieces of equipment vital in preventing any heath-related problems you might get from painting
How To Paint An Aluminum Boat

The step-by-step procedure:

1. Mount the boat

Many who decide not to bring their boats to a professional and do the painting themselves tend to forget to start with this step. Mounting the boat is important because it helps you to clean the entire hull or body of the craft thoroughly especially the bottom part. Do this by using a pair of sawhorses to support and carry the boat.

2. Clean the boat.

Making the boat ready for painting is the next step to decorating your boat.

This method includes cleaning of dirt, sands, grease, oils, paints and any unnecessary blemishes on the metal. In scrubbing the hull, you can use any environment-friendly cleaner and grease remover.

You can use scrapper, rags and a hose with high pressure in making the boat spotless. To remove any fading, rough, or loose paint, use the electric sander and begin with 600 grit. If needed, you can sand the boat up to 2000-grit.

Note: The amount of grit may vary depending on the severity of the blemishes.

Creating a smooth surface and making sure to remove all rough patches prevent new paint from peeling and flecking. Do this by starting from the inside area of the boat to the outside.

To better appreciate the process of sanding a boat, you can check the video below:

3. Remove the hardware

The most important thing to remember when detaching the components is to ensure that you take off whatever you can including the window sidings. Use a painter tape to cover deck hardware and accessories that you need not to color; this will keep them neat and protected.

These are almost all the materials you will need for this step. Occasionally, you will need to use other tools such as putty knife and pliers. However, if you are a fish catcher, you may have a fishing pliers; that will work as a substitute too.

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4. Inspect the damaged parts, and repair them

Make sure to check the entire hull to know if there are signs of rust or damage. Identify if there are any cracks, nicks or corrosion. Use marine-grade epoxy to fill in any holes.

You may also need other supplies depending on the severity of the damaged parts. If you are angling, you may have to use some materials anglers use when they fix a fishing reel, so it is better if you bring them as well.

5. Apply an undercoat

It is essential to know that there are several types of primer. What you need for this tutorial is an undercoat manufacturers design for aluminum oxide surfaces. You can use paintbrushes or rollers to do this step, but a paint sprayer can make the coat more even.

Begin spraying the undercoat on the internal part of the boat. Let it dry for several hours (I usually dry it overnight). Turn the boat over. Apply the primer on the outside part of the craft. Allow the surface to dry.

5. Apply an undercoat


6. Apply a topcoat

Choose a paint which is compatible with the undercoat. The process of applying this coat is almost similar to that of the undercoat. The only main difference is that, at times, you will need to apply the topcoat more than once especially when it is lighter than the undercoat.

If possible, make 2-3 layers of paint to ensure that your new boat's color will remain for the years to come. Check if there are necessary touch ups and dry the boat overnight.

For better results, paint your boat during dry, cool day; this saves your paint from troubles caused by excessive heat or the wind. Painting your boat when the temperature is 16-27 degree Celsius with 60% humidity makes a big difference.

Warning: Inhaling paint fumes is harmful to one's health, so make sure to properly your safety goggles and face mask.

To have a clearer picture of some of the steps I mentioned, I have included three separate audio-visual presentations which discuss the ways to restore your aluminum boat.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3


Did you have fun in learning the steps I mentioned above?

I know that learning how to paint an aluminum boat may take a lot of time and effort that you might find going to an expert and letting them do the job for you more practical or ideal. I encourage you to give it a try especially when you have ample time. Believe me; it will offer you a fulfilling experience as you hone your skills more while spending less.

If this writing piece helps you, please feel free to give your insights by writing them in the comments section below, or you may also share this article with your friends.

Interested in fishing? If your answer is yes, I suggest that you visit the website below to learn more informational and exciting topics about fishing.

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