How To Paint An Aluminum Boat

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

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
    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
    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
    . 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

Once your aluminum is properly cleaned and primed, it’s time
to apply the paint.

Painting An Aluminum

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

Want more ways to take care of your aluminum boat and have
it looking its best? Browse all of the
boat cleaning and maintenance products
at BoatLIFE

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