How to Paint a Fiberglass Boat With Epoxy Paint

by Lindsay Haskell
Maintain your fiberglass boat.

Maintain your fiberglass boat.

Fiberglass boats are popular among fishermen and recreational boaters alike. Over time, air and salt water exposure causes the glossy finish on fiberglass boats to wear away. Besides that, small collisions can cause dents in the fiberglass. Your boat's aesthetic needs are also a preventive maintenance opportunity. Luckily, it is not difficult to repaint a fiberglass boat with epoxy paint to restore her glossy finish.

1. Use your masking tape to mask the edges of the area of your boat you intend to paint.

2. Create provisional covers using tarpaulin or plastic garbage bags to cover your boat's on-deck hardware, vents and other items on deck you do not want to paint. Keep the tarpaulin or garbage bags down using duct tape.

3. Use water and liquid dish soap to clean the surface you're going to paint. Rinse the surface using running water. Let dry.

4. Put some dewaxing solvent, such as acetone, on a cloth and and wipe down the surface with it to get rid of any wax or grease sticking to the surface.

5. Use 80-grit sandpaper and an orbital sander to rough up your surface to prepare it for the paint.

6. Create spot repairs to any damaged spots on the fiberglass using your epoxy paste. Epoxy paste is thicker than epoxy paint and is used to make a more sturdy, hard surface. Once the epoxy paste has cured completely, sand it using 80-grit sandpaper to even the surface out.

7. Mix your two-part marine epoxy primer paint following the manufacturer's instructions. Apply using your paint roller. Let dry.

8. Make sure the primer has dried completely and then sand the surface using 220-grit sandpaper and your orbital sander.

9. Dip a cloth in acetone and use it to wipe away sanding grit. Rinse the surface with water and let dry completely.

10. Mix your finishing coats of epoxy paint, thinned with the paint's solvent, according to the paint manufacturer's instructions. Apply in two thin coats using a paint roller.

11. Give the epoxy paint time to cure thoroughly.

12. Remove the masking tape and tarpaulin or garbage bag coverings.

13. Rub automotive paste wax on the surface in a circular motion. The wax should turn to a white powder when dry. Buff the surface with your orbital buffer.

Items you will need

  • Masking tape
  • Tarpaulin or plastic garbage bags
  • Duct tape
  • Liquid dish soap
  • MEK or acetone
  • 80-grit sandpaper
  • Orbital sander
  • Epoxy paste
  • Two-part marine epoxy primer
  • Paint roller
  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • Two-part marine epoxy paint
  • Automotive paste wax

Warning

  • Be in a well-ventilated area when working with epoxy paint.

About the Author

Lindsay Haskell began writing fiction and nonfiction in 2008. Her debut novel, "Grace," is to be published in January 2011. Having lived in five different countries and traveled across five continents, Haskell specializes in Third World social and political issues, with a concentration in the Darfur conflict. She is currently a first-year student at Wellesley College studying history, Africana studies and English.

Photo Credits