How to Paint Aluminum Boat

Aluminum boats can serve different purposes. Because they are characterized by durability, lightweight, and affordability, a lot of individuals use them for fishing and hunting. In a situation where it has been years you’ve got your own aluminum boat and you notice that the paint on it is already decaying or you don’t really like the paint that is on the one you just bought, you should know that there is an easy way to repaint it. But the relevant question here is “how?”.

Do you know that you can turn your ugly aluminum boat into one that looks great for many years? To get the task done easily without spending a lot of cash, get the environment and your boat prepared ( sand away the old layer paint, wash the boat, and apply primer), and finally apply a clear coat to have a brand-new boat.

In this piece, we’ll uncover the considerable reasons for painting an aluminum boat and the different steps to take to paint it.

How to Paint Aluminum Boat..

Reasons for Painting Aluminum Boat

Why should you paint your aluminum boat? The first thing you need to understand is that you can always enhance the appearance of your old and tired-looking aluminum boat and also extend its lifespan with new paint. Some users prefer leaving their aluminum boat in the water for long periods of time. Here, you want to get new paint, particularly anti-fouling paint, for the prevention of growth on the bottom.

Tips:  Ensure you avoid applying cuprous paint to your aluminum boat.  Check to see if the anti-fouling paint to use is marked ” aluminum-safe”. If it is not safe for your aluminum boat, it can make the metal corrode away. Go for anti-fouling paints that won’t create a problem when used on aluminum hulls. This explains why you need to check at least two times for safety.

Can I Use Latex Paint on an Aluminum Boat?

Using painting enamel over latex on an aluminum boat is not recommended. Latex paint is not suitable for painting aluminum as it does not provide the same level of protection and adherence as specialized marine paints. It is better to use a paint specifically designed for use on metal surfaces.

How to Paint Aluminum Boat

To get the best-expected result when you decide to paint an aluminum boat, there are proven steps to follow. Below are these elaborated steps explaining how to prepare your aluminum boat for paint and the process to give it a nice look.

STEP 1: Sand off loose paint and rust

Aluminum paint cannot last forever. A time will come when it will begin to flake and fall off. It will definitely look unprofessional if put new paint on a rusty surface or loose paint. So, the first step to take is to sand off the loose paint and rust on the boat to have a smooth surface on which you will paint.

To sand off loose paint and rust manually, you can use materials such as an electric sander or sandpaper (depending on the size of the boat). For a large boat, we’ll recommend that you use an electric sander. This is because it can take a lot of effort and time to sand off loose paint and rust from a large boat.

In case you want to use sandpaper, start by taking off the old paint completely using 80-grit sandpaper. After sanding it off, take another sandpaper ( 40-grit) to smoothen out the surface. Professionally, Professionally, a nice smooth surface is best for the new paint.

STEP 2: Wash the boat thoroughly

The next thing to do to prepare the aluminum boat for priming after sanding off loose paint and rust is to give it a good wash. to wash the boat, you can use a high-powered water hose or a pressure washer. Using any of these will help remove effectively debris that is stuck to the boat.

If any of these materials fail to do the job as expected or you want to give your boat the highest painting process, you can wash it thoroughly without a pressure washer or high-powered water hose. You can check the internet for a guide on how to clean an aluminum boat.

STEP 3: Apply Primer

A primer is expected to be applied after you have seen that the boat is as clean as possible. A primer refers to a preparatory coating, otherwise called an undercoat, that is placed on the material before applying the real paint. The primary reason for using a primer is to ensure better adhesion of paint to the surface of the boat, to offer extra protection for the aluminum boat, and increase the paint’s durability. With a primer, your paint will attach to the vessel and prevent corrosion and oxidation.

How can you apply primer? There is no rocket science here. You can do this easily with either a sprayer or brush. If you want an even distribution of primer, you may want to go with a spray application. Even though people usually recommend a second coat of primer, you may stick with one layer if that is what you want.

Before you paint your boat,  you need to wait for the primer to cure after its application. Ensure you follow the instructions on the bucket of the primer. Note: the requirements are not the same. Every primer has its specific requirements. Some primer requires only an hour for painting after application while others may call for a few days.

STEP 4: Paint the boat

Painting your boat is the penultimate step when it comes to how to paint an aluminum boat. After the application of the primer, what you do next is get your paint and get on with the job.

Related: How to Remove Paint from Aluminum Boat

What is the most suitable paint for your aluminum boat?

Picking any type of paint will depend on if you have used a good self-etching primer. Besides, you need to know that ingredients are a major factor that must be considered when you decide to choose the paint for your aluminum boat.  For this type of boat, you can go for latex or acrylic paint. Ensure you pick the exterior-grade one and paint that is designed specifically for boats.

Moreover, there are extra ingredients in this type of paint. It contains copper or other anti-fouling components. Going for this paint will help prevent the growth of barnacles, muscles,  and other species on the bottom of the boat.

Another thing to consider is UV protection.  Undoubtedly, your boat will be spending more time in the water where it will be exposed to the direct sunlight and reflections of the rays of the sun most of the time. Remember that UV rays are not a friend to your boat, particularly the paint, therefore,  go for a paint that features UV protection. This will make it stay longer on the aluminum boat.

You may want to consider the color as well. The common color is green, but you are free to choose any color you like and even customize it.

How to apply the paint to your aluminum boat

To paint your aluminum boat, try to tape up every area where you don’t want the paint to touch. You will have the tape removed when you’re done. The tools to apply the paint can be a roller, sprayer, or brush. If you want an even distribution, you may want to go with a sprayer. Note: Don’t overspray if you’re using a sprayer if you don’t want uneven coats and dripping, and ensure you use consistent motions.

 You can also use a roller and a brush together. Using a brush will help reach the hard-to-reach parts. Here you need to ensure that the brushers and rollers are not overloaded. This is because it can result in drips. If it is possible, try to make at least two coats of paint.

STEP 5: Apply a clear coat

The last active step to take is to apply a clear coat.  A clear coat will offer you an aluminum boat that appears nice, shining, and glossy like a new one. Some of the benefits of applying a clear coat include its quality to protect the boat against elements.  Saltwater can cause corrosion and UV rays can affect the paint or boat. A clear coat can help to defend your aluminum boat from all these.

To apply a clear coat, you can use a sprayer or brush. If you choose a brush for the application, ensure that you use foam brushes ( foam brushes are more effective than bristle brushes).

Tips: You may need an extra coat because a foam brush tends to hold less paint. Also,  ensure you read the requirements and instructions that may come with your clear coat product.

How much does painting an aluminum boat cost?

As far as the paint and the preparation materials are concerned, you may want to budget for the painting job around  $150 – $200. However, it is worth noting that the cost usually depends on the size of the boat.

How long will paint last on an aluminum boat?

If you can protect your boat well during storage and keep it from any form of damage, good paint should stay and look new for about five to seven years.

How often should you paint an aluminum boat bottom?

“How often” will depend on how frequently you use the boat or if it lives afloat.  Generally,  it should be once a year. Nonetheless, some bottom paints can last effectively for 2 years.

Final word

The content has provided in detail how to paint an aluminum boat. The given steps are the accurate ways to accomplish the task easily.  Get down to the aluminum boat painting project today and have the result you have always wanted.

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