Aluminum Boats Painting Tips

There are very strict guidelines for painting aluminum boats. It needs extensive preparation first, and the painter must wear protective clothing and gear because highly toxic chemicals are used for preparing and painting aluminum boats.

The paint and primer needs to be industrial-grade. Also needed are 120-grip sandpaper and a dual-action sander, scouring pad, liquid dish soap and water.The paint needed is two-component polyurethane for the topcoat to be used with a high-volume, low pressure (HVLP) spray gun.The boat can be put on saw horses for easier access and washed with the liquid dish soap, scouring pad and water and rinsed well.

First, the area of the boat that is to be painted should be sanded with the dual-action sander and 120-grit sand paper. Masking tape should be used to protect any places that are not to be painted. It should be sanded until the whole area to be painted is smooth and looks dull. If there are shiny or glossy areas, they will not hold the primer or paint.

The sanding may cause some scratches. These will not be seen after the paint has been applied. It is easiest to sand the inside of the boat first and then the outside.

The sanded area should be again washed with the scouring pad, liquid dish soap and water. This will remove any traces of oil. The boat should be well rinsed with clear water. It is good to rinse with a hose that has a power spray nozzle and allowed to completely dry.

painting an aluminum boat

Painting An Aluminum Boat

The area where the boat is to be painted should also be protected with plastic sheets or paper. If it is inside a room, all the windows and doors should be opened for ventilation.

When it is dry, the aluminum should be sprayed with a thin coat of acid-etch wash primer straight on to the clean aluminum to get it ready to take the paint. This primer actually becomes engraved into the aluminum and holds fast to the exterior to allow the primer to stick. There are manufacturer’s instructions on the package of the acid-etch wash primer which should be very carefully followed.

When the acid wash primer is completely dry, two thin coats of two-component epoxy primer can be applied. There should one hour in between each coat for it to dry. When the second coat is dry, three thin coats of the two-component polyurethane topcoat may be applied. Only a few minutes between each coat is needed for drying. Once this is finished, the boat should dry for 24 hours before it is handled.

Just as with the sanding, it is easier to paint the inside first and let it dry before turning it over and painting the outside.

A clear coat of paint applied when the paint is dry will make the boat look new. It will also protect it against scratches and the elements. If the boat is to be used for hunting, a clear coat may not be a good idea because it will make it shiny. Without the clear coat, the boat will need to be repainted more often.

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