Painting the fiberglass on your boat hull can be a great way to improve its appearance and make it look brand new. But if your boat deck leaves a lot to be desired, that work can be for naught. That’s why Boat Life has put together this brief guide on how to paint a fiberglass boat deck. Use these simple steps to help ensure your boat looks as best as it can while still maintaining the quality of its fiberglass.
Step One: Clean, Rinse, Dry
This might not be the most fun step in the process, but if you want the entire process to go smoothly and easily, it’s essential. Clean off the boat deck with fresh water, and move the boat somewhere safe where it will have the opportunity to rinse, drain, and then dry without added debris falling on it. You’ll want to be somewhere well-ventilated to allow for a proper drying process. Start this step much earlier than you might imagine so you’re sure you’re working with a dry deck.
You may also have to remove many features off the top of your boat that might otherwise make painting labor-intensive. For that reason, don’t commit to painting until you’re sure you can devote adequate time to the full process.
Step Two: Mask Off the Painting Area
Apply specially-designed painter’s tape to the deck and make sure it adheres. When learning how to paint a fiberglass boat deck, it’s important to remember that fiberglass can be famously slippery, especially when it’s wet. That’s why it’s so important to adequately dry the entire deck.
Take your time here. If you want precisely painted corners and edges, that happens through masking off these edges. Think of this as the first step in a professional-quality coat of paint.
Step Three: Apply the Paint
Although there may be added steps if your fiberglass has a thick layer of gelcoat—and you can check out our post on preparing a fiberglass boat for painting—painting the boat deck is generally
simpler. Once the area is dry, masked off and clear of a gelcoat, you’ll be able to apply paint directly.
You can also apply primer first, though that can depend on the individual type of paint you’re using. If you’re not sure what you’re using, speak with an expert and let them know which surface you’re going to be painting to ensure that your paint matches with the job.
Step Four: Remove the Tape and Wait
Once the paint is evenly applied, you’ll be able to remove the tape and have a look at what you’ve done. But you’re not technically done yet—not until you’re sure that the paint has adequately dried! Be sure that you don’t need to use your boat for a few days to ensure that your paint is where it needs to be before you use the boat deck again. Then re-attach any furnishings you removed and get ready to enjoy the boat again!
Keep Your Boat Looking Great
Want to make sure your boat deck’s fresh look will last? Then browse our boat waxes and polishes to ensure that your paint is adequately protected from UV and debris damage.