Aluminum boats are durable, affordable, and easy to use. But are they easy to paint? They can be—if you know the right steps and give your boat the care it needs every step of the way. Here’s everything you’ll need to know about how to paint an aluminum boat!
Preparing Your Aluminum
Although aluminum is a light and simple metal, sometimes simplicity means that you need to make sure you perform every step just right. Here’s what you’ll need to know as you prep your aluminum surface for painting:
- The surface of your aluminum should be dry and clean . Use an Aluminum Cleaner to take care of your metal surface as best as possible. That means removing any dirt, debris, wax, or adhesives. Once you’ve washed and rinsed your boat, give it plenty of time to thoroughly dry before moving forward. Some boating experts even recommend sanding your boat to adequately prep the aluminum for painting—but if you do this, make sure to use a soft brush to remove any debris left from the sanding.
- Use Release Adhesive Sealant & Remover if there are difficult spots of adhesives still stuck to the boat. You can also use this to help clean off any old residue from tapes, stickers, and the like.
- Tape off any trim or other areas you don’t want to paint. Take your time here. Precise taping will mean a precise paint job—and it makes your life a lot easier when it’s actually time to paint. It’s possible you won’t need to use much painter’s tape, depending on your individual preferences.
- Apply a primer . Be sure to read your paint primer labels thoroughly. You won’t want to use any old general primer, but one specifically designed to be used with aluminum. This will help ensure the proper adhesion, as aluminum can be a bit finicky when it comes to this step in the process. Follow the primer’s instructions for the proper amount of time required between priming and painting.
Once your aluminum is properly cleaned and primed, it’s time to apply the paint.
Painting An Aluminum Boat
Using a marine-grade paint, apply the paint in the way that’s easiest for you. You have some options here. Your goal should be smooth, continuous colors—but you shouldn’t break your back trying to achieve it, either. You might even use a spray paint to make things go effortlessly. If you’ve done a good job of prepping your aluminum, most paints should adhere to the aluminum with ease.
Should you use one coat or two? It may depend on the type of paint you use and your preferences. If you do use two coats, try to put a brief cushion of time between the two applications without letting the paint dry too much—often about an hour’s worth of rest.
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