Personalizing and customizing our belongings is a typical human trait that we don’t see changing any time soon. Few things feel better than having your boat in your favorite colors and renovating it at the same time? To achieve maximum success in both endeavors, though, you must get your hands on the best paint for aluminum boats.
This material is highly versatile and not so hard to maintain. Many boat owners have questions regarding how to paint it, and this is why our team decided to provide a helping hand. In our article, you will find our top reviews of paints for aluminum boats but will also come across our practical tips on how and why to paint your vessel. Check us out!
Best Paint For Aluminum Boats Comparison Chart
Rust-Oleum Marine Topside Paint
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TUFF Coat Non-Skid Coating
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Total Boat Aluminum Paint
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Durabak Deck Paint
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Majic Camouflage Paint
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Rust-Oleum Antifouling Paint
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Best Paint For Aluminum Boats (New List 2021)
Here we will outline the top products according to The Marine Magazine and hope that our reviews will benefit you greatly.
1. Rust-Oleum Marine Topside Paint
The Rust-Oleum paint is among the most budget-friendly options available at the market as its price is below the average one. Moreover, if you take four pots of paint, you will also save some money. There are nine colors you can choose from. If you wish another color, not offered by Rust-Oleum, you can mix the paint with mica powder tint.
This paint can be used for a variety of surfaces such as wood, metal, and fiberglass. A convenience is that you can apply the paint either by brush or by spray. One-pot can cover around 100 square feet. The time needed for the surface to dry is not more than 2 hours. However, it is advisable to let it dry at least 4 hours before you start walking on it.
Thanks to its durable coating, this product is resistant to weather conditions and abrasion. In addition to this, it is UV protected.
- The paint holds up well against outdoor weather conditions.
- You can use this product not only for boats but also for bathtubs, sinks, and other things made of metal, fiberglass, or wood.
- There is a variety of colors you can choose from.
- Before applying this Rust-Oleum paint, you need to use a primer which some people may find not very convenient.
2. TUFF Coat Non-Skid Coating
This TUFF product can be used for different surfaces – aluminum, wood, fiberglass, concrete, and even plastic. In addition to this, you can utilize it not only for boats but also for indoor places, such as commercial kitchens.
A definite advantage of this product is that it is water-based, which means that it is not dangerous. Before applying this TUFF paint, you need to clean the surface well enough and then put metal primer on it. One galloon of this product will be enough to cover 140 square feet or have two coats on 70 square feet.
If you manage to apply the coating properly, it will be water-resistant. However, if the layers of paint are too thick, it will most probably start cracking. So you’d better ask an expert to do it for you. Keep in mind that it is advisable to apply two coats of paint to achieve the desired effect.
- This paint is a single component, which means that it doesn’t require any mixing before applying it.
- A benefit of this product is that it is water-based, so it is not hazardous for people to be around the painted place while it is getting dried.
- If the coating is applied properly, the paint proves to be durable and resist extreme weather conditions.
- Since this is rubberized non-skid paint, the surface it is applied on, won’t be slippery.
- The colors you can choose from are only eight, and they are from the cold gamma. So if you prefer bright colors, this is not the most appropriate product for you.
3. Total Boat Aluminum Paint
The first advantage of this paint is that it doesn’t require any priming. You can apply it both to bare or previously painted surfaces. Another benefit of this product is that it can be used both above and below the boat waterline.
Thanks to the substances it is made of, this paint proves to be resistant to chemicals, abrasion, or corrosion. Moreover, it doesn’t fade out or peel off being exposed to extreme weather conditions. You can easily wash the surface that has been painted without worrying that the color will be ruined.
For your convenience, you can apply this paint by brush, spray gun, or roller. Its chromate-free formula allows for good adhesion and is the reason why this product doesn’t have a strong odor. The time needed between the coats for the paint to dry is just 1 hour if the temperature is around 72 degrees.
- You can apply this water-based polyurethane directly to surfaces without using a primer.
- Since this paint is chromate-free, it produces only very little odor.
- A benefit of this product is that it can be used below and above the vessel waterline.
- The paint dries very quickly for less than an hour, which allows you to put several coats of paint in a day.
- This paint comes only in 6 camouflage colors.
- You cannot paint other surfaces different than aluminum.
4. Durabak Deck Paint
If you need waterproof and all types of weather-resistant paint, the Durabak one is a good option for you to consider. This product is designed to be used outdoors under direct sunlight. The fact that it is made of rubber tire granules makes the surface covered with this paint, non-slippery.
You can utilize this protective coating on different surfaces such as wood, metal, concrete, and fiberglass. There are three ways in which you can apply it – by spray, brush, or roller. An advantage of this product is that it can bond to itself, which means that you can quickly repair any damages of the painted surface.
Durabak provides a range of 22 colors, so it is most likely that you will find your preferred one among them. Before applying the paint, you should make sure that the surface is dry and non-greasy. One galloon of Durabak will be enough for two coats on a 60-square-feet surface.
- Durabak comes in 22 colors, and all of them can be additionally tinted.
- If you need color samples, the manufacturer will send them to you for free.
- The recycled rubber tire granules that the paint contains make it non-slippery.
- Unlike other similar products, this paint can be applied to itself. So if any damages to the painted surfaces occur, you may fix them.
- It is time-consuming to prepare the surface before applying the paint.
5. Majic Camouflage Paint
If you want your boat to match any natural surroundings, you may find Majic an interesting option as it comes in 6 camouflage colors. This paint is resistant to rust, water, and severe weather conditions. You can use it not only for your boat but also for other vehicles, ladders, duck blinds, bows, tree stands, and even guns.
For the camouflage purposes you may need this paint, maybe you will be glad to know that it is non-reflective. Keep in mind that if you want to apply Majic on metal, you first need to put a primer.
A disadvantage of this product is that it takes a lot of time to dry because the paint is oil-based. So if you need to clean up any surface covered with this material, you will have to use a solvent. It is recommended to apply the paint by brush as it is too thick for a spray.
- This paint proves to be very durable as it is resistant to water and all kinds of weather conditions.
- Majic offers several camouflage colors that can hide well in natural backgrounds.
- You can apply this paint to different vehicles and objects.
- The paint holds up well to surfaces and prevents rust from appearing on the surface.
- If you want to apply the paint by spray, you will need to dilute it first because it is very thick.
- Since it is oil-based, this paint is a hard-drying one. So it will take some time for the surface you have covered with it to dry.
6. Rust-Oleum Antifouling Paint
This Rust-Oleum product is designed to prevent surfaces from fouling, which is ensured by the copper that the paint releases. One galloon of Rust-Oleum can cover up to 110 square feet. As it is intended to be used on boats, the paint provides a protective coating that inhibits any marine growth that may stick to the bottom surface of the vessel. You can use this product for boats that sail both in salt and in freshwater. However, if you use your boat in saltwater, you may need to repaint the bottom every several years.
You should keep in mind that it is suitable only for mild or moderate weather conditions. The paint can bond to fiberglass and other non-aluminum surfaces. The manufacturers recommend applying two coats of this material. They also warn that you should wait 60 days before you launch your boat.
- Thanks to its chemical formula, this paint releases copper, which creates its antifouling effect.
- Using this product, you can protect the bottom part of your boat from the marine growth that may stick to it.
- The Rust-Oleum Antifouling is appropriate both for saltwater and for freshwater boats.
- You can apply the paint on fiberglass, wood, and steel.
- This paint cannot be used on aluminum surfaces.
- If you live in an area with harsh weather conditions, it is not advisable to use this product.
Why Should I Paint My Aluminum Boat in the First Place?
Oh, come on, do we really need to answer that? Is there a metal vessel out there that will not benefit significantly from having its surface repainted once in a while? Humans change their clothes and conduct all sorts of skincare procedures. Don’t treat your favorite boat in any different way.
- It simply looks better. We don’t know if this should be the main reason to repaint your boat, but we know it is among the good ones. Absolutely every car, boat, house, or bike look fabulous after a paint job. You can’t argue with that.
- A top-notch aluminum paint will give your boat a protective layer and will surely extend its life. The battle between people and rust is a never-ending one. Painting is one of the main ways to protect an aluminum boat in saltwater. Don’t underestimate the “health effects” and the anti-corrosion properties of a paint job.
- To hide scratches and other impurities. No matter how careful you are with your boat, it is inevitable that it will start showing wear at some point. Without a doubt, you have committed one or two bumps into rocks, coasts, branches, and of course, the dock. Repainting the vessel may significantly reduce the visibility of dents and bruises. Obviously, severe damages will need to be addressed differently. You can fix small scratches using a quality boat wax, and this is why our team has created a top list of the most excellent products in that category. Check it out.
- Extra protection from sunlight. Ah, weather conditions – our favorite topic. A boat has to fight off many attackers. Water is evidently the first one to think of, but there’s also wind, rain, snow, sunlight, etc. The protective layer that you get from your aluminum boat paint we mentioned above is a multifunctional one. UV protection is essential, and so is the ability to resist hot and cold weather alike. You get all that with the right paint selection.
How to Find the Right Aluminum Boat Paint
So here you are with a beat-up boat at hand – one that you will breathe some new life into. Selecting the proper paint for your aluminum boat doesn’t have to be a tough challenge, and we sincerely hope that the products we have listed above will help you. So, what to look for?
1. Make Sure You Get Actual Aluminum Paint
This sounds like a no-brainer, but you will be surprised at how many people actually buy something that isn’t suitable for their surface. Second of all, make sure that your boat is indeed made of aluminum. Some metals may look alike and not to be skeptical, but if you bought your boat second-hand, there’s a chance you’ve gotten a vessel that may be made of something else.
Once you clear this out of the way, and once you are confident you’ve grasped all that you want to know about aluminum paint, commence to making a purchase.
2. Determine how Much You Want to Spend
You will be surprised how much the price on boat paint varies. Don’t forget to check exactly how much paint you will need for the size of the boat that you own. This will determine to an extent, the amount of money that you will have to part with.
Bear in mind that some paints will not require the application of primer beforehand. Such cans come at a price, but they may be worth it in the long run.
3. Ease of Aluminum Paint Application
All substances of that class are typically pretty easy to apply. We are yet to stumble upon a can of boat paint for aluminum that will require a lot of time to administer. The other good part is that such a paint dries out quickly too. This particular aspect will not give you a hard time when picking the right product.
4. Define What Type of Finish You Expect to Get
Needless to say, the pricier items are going to give you a better look regardless if we are talking about matte or gloss. A lot of boat maniacs care deeply about how well their renewed boat will look, but if you are among those that will go fishing once every other week, you may not care about the finish that much.
The bottom line is that your boat will look refreshed no matter what. The delicacy of the finish will be greater if you are willing to pay more. Even then, who does the actual paint job also matters? In the hands of a pro, even a cheaper paint may look like a luxury brand one.
And lastly, let’s not underestimate what a good boat buffer can do. We have compiled reviews of the top boat buffers on the market, and if you pick the right one, even a budget can of paint may look marvelous.
5. Color of the Paint
Do not ignore this point. The color really matters for a wide number of reasons.
- Bright boats will generally attract less sunlight. If you live in a hot climate, you maybe want to avoid going for black or brown. This is especially true if your boat is a closed one. You don’t want to be in a furnace
- Another argument to get a bright-color paint for your aluminum boat is that you will be easier to spot if you go out in the ocean or the sea.
- Darker colors are appropriate for small fishing boats, which are typically used in murky waters. The dirtier the area, the more you want to avoid bright colors. Also, if you live in the north where sunlight is hard to come by, feel free to go with a darker theme.
Here’s How to Paint Your Aluminum Boat
All paint jobs are pretty much done the same way, aren’t they? There are always 5-6 steps to follow regardless if you paint a wooden door or a stainless-steel pot. Apparently, there will be some differences because the surfaces and the substances are not all the same, but its essence, the process isn’t much different.
- Priming (not always needed)
- Applying paint once
- Doing it again
- Using Clearcoat
So, the first step is as important as anything. In fact, we can divide it into two main categories. First, preparing the work area around you and second, preparing the actual boat. Now let’s go through all the stages that will lead you to have a brand-new coat of paint on your boat.
Prepare Everything Before You Paint
Sanding the boat always comes first. Not washing, not scrubbing, but sanding. For this purpose, we advise you to use an 80 or a 100-grit sandpaper. You don’t need to go higher than that. Also, do not worry if the surface isn’t smooth after you sand it. It is not supposed to be.
Aluminum paint is not supposed to be applied on a perfectly smooth metal surface. No, it requires something to latch on, so if the boat is somewhat etched as a result of your sanding, this is completely fine.
When it comes to washing, pressure-washing is the way to go. It is the quickest and most effective way to get rid of all the unwanted dust and dirt left on the surface after sanding. Scrubbing is also helpful in case you don’t have a pressure washed at hand.
Fil la bucket with water, grab a brush, and dive in. After everything is dried out, use adhesive tape in case you want to have some areas in a different color. And before you get your hands dirty, make sure one last time that the surrounding area is properly ventilated. This isn’t just because of the boat but also for the sake of your own health.
Do I need to Prime Aluminum Before Painting?
Now granted, every professional will tell you that you cannot skip this step, and we will pretty much confirm this notion. However, bear in mind that some of the paints on our list above do not require a primer to be used beforehand.
Still, the paint job will simply come out great if you put in the effort to prime the surface. You simply cannot and should not count that the paint will stick to the boat without any problems. We recommend that you play it safe.
The most important tip here is to prime the boat as soon as it dries out. This is because aluminum and oxygen do not like each other. There’s a process called oxidation, and it leads to corrosion of the surface. The primer is there to prevent all that, but you cannot be too slow to do it.
Applying the paint
The paint will cure relatively quickly, so nothing stops you from putting two coats in the span of 2-3 hours. Our advice is to paint half of the boat first, let it dry, and then turn the boat to address the other side.
Our team encourages people to experiment with the colors. Feel free to mix two coats together to see what happens. When it comes to the actual application, you can use a brush, a roller, or even a spray. Whatever you decide to go with, we still recommend that you got a brush underhand because there will always be some delicate or hard to reach spots on the hull of the boat.
Aluminum Boat Paint FAQs
We definitely haven’t addressed every aspect of painting your boat above, and this is why we will answer some questions here.
What is the best paint to use on an aluminum boat?
In terms of color, we recommend going for bright ones if you are confident that the boat is unlikely to get scratched and bumped here and there. Otherwise, go for green or grey. When it comes to the quality of the paint, just see the selected products we have reviewed above.
What kind of paint do you use on aluminum?
There are two main options here:
- Latex paint
- Acrylic paint
As long as they are waterproof, you will be all set. Our little tip here is not to go for gloss paint. Stick to satin or matte as they will hide any blemishes that the body of the boat may have. As far as a particular brand goes, make sure to see what our experts have picked in the top list above.
How do I paint my aluminum boat myself?
We firmly believe you do not need a pro to paint your boat. Our tips include sanding the boat first, cleaning it, taping the areas you don’t want to be painted, and then priming the surface before applying the paint. Just see the section of our article that describes all these steps above.
It is now time to roll back our sleeves and get to painting. Our article is nearly done, and so we put an end to the theoretical information. We believe that if you follow our tips, you will have no issues locating the best paint for aluminum boat.
Not only that, our team firmly believes that the steps we have provided will be able to assist you in painting your boat without having to hire anyone. If you are a boat enthusiast, you will surely benefit from the other articles we have created especially for reviews on products for boat maintenance and detailing.
Share our work with others and leave us some comments. Thanks for reading!