How to Paint an Aluminum Boat

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Aluminum is a durable and lightweight material that works well for building boats, especially those intended for hunting and flat bottom fishing. The task of painting an aluminum boat is not difficult if you have the right materials. You must properly prepare the surface of the boat, select the correct type of paint and choose a work surface in a well ventilated area before you begin to paint. An aluminum boat can be restored and protected for years to come with a solid paint job.

Mount the boat on two sawhorses. Inspect the hull of the boat for signs of damage and rust. Repair any leaks and damage to the boat before continuing on to other steps. Use grease remover and environmentally safe cleaner to scrub the hull.

Sand the boat down. Start with 600 grit sandpaper and work up. Create a smooth surface so the paint can adhere to the boat. Failure to remove any rough patches or old paint could cause the new paint to peel or fleck later on. Wipe down the boat after sanding with a dry cloth. Use painters tape to cover accessories and deck hardware that should not be painted.

Buy the paint. Be sure to choose a marine paint that can be used for metal surfaces, aluminum in particular. Spread out a drop cloth and prepare to begin painting the boat.

Apply an undercoat. Use a paint gun or paintbrushes to accomplish this step. Wear a face mask and safety goggles to avoid paint fumes and over spray. Allow the undercoat of paint to dry overnight.

Apply a topcoat to the aluminum boat. Again, use a paint gun or paintbrushes. Take your time to apply an even coat over the entire body of the boat. Start with one coat of paint and inspect the results. You may not need more than one coat even if the color of the new paint is lighter than the previous coat. Check for any needed touch ups once the paint has dried overnight.


  • Look for marine grade metal paints that say they are especially formulated for aluminum. Talk to a paint expert at your local hardware store for help if needed. Talk with locals in the marina about how to paint or restore aluminum boats.


About the Author

Mary Corbin began her career writing for online and print media in Indianapolis. Since 2004, she has covered subjects such as home and family, technology and legal issues. Working in the broadcast industry, Corbin created articles for marketing, public relations and business matters. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Indiana University.

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