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The Best Paints for Aluminum Boat

Many owners want to customize their aluminum boats. They often paint them, not just to get the color and appearance they like, but also to maintain the vessels. Although aluminum is lightweight, durable, and resistant to rust, extra care is necessary for its upkeep.

best paint for aluminum boat

The best paint for aluminum boat is not only for exterior enhancement but also for corrosion prevention. Doing regular maintenance will keep you from spending more money on expensive replacements or repairs. Thus, you should get the appropriate paint for aluminum that is available in the market.

Be particular about the paints for aluminum boats as they come with various characteristics. To find one that can fulfill your boat’s needs and even help resolve issues, keep reading.

Best Paint for Aluminum Boat Reviews

1. TotalBoat Aluminum Boat Paint

The earthy colors offered by this paint simply lured me into buying it. Black, earth brown, army green, white, khaki, and light gray are awesome choices. Forming a camouflage finish is possible, and it’s something beneficial for individuals who love hunting and fishing.

The colors seem to be inclined environmentally, and this is also the concept that inspired the manufacturer in making the paint’s formula. It has low odor and VOC. I love how it doesn’t bother me with a foul smell during application.

The low sheen finish of this marine paint for aluminum boat is incredible! The reflective attribute is not a part of its effect, so you will surely be one with nature and the surrounding. It’s not only attractive, but it also has toughness and durability.

This paint does an unbelievable transformation on a Jon Boat from 1983. With its self-leveling ability and instant adhesion to aluminum, old boat restoration is accomplished. The boat doesn’t only look fancy, but it’s also protected against corrosion, abrasion, chemicals, and UV rays.

Aluminum canoes, pontoons, dinghies, and other aluminum vessels utilized for hunting and fishing can benefit from this paint. Skipping the primer or etching is fine. You would only need to sand 12 hours before the final coating.

Complete drying is achieved in 48 hours. It takes time and patience, but I’m satisfied with its finish that doesn’t fade, peel, or chip. Cleaning up is simple as water and soap can help you with it.
Pros
  • Camouflage finish for hunting and fishing
  • Has low odor and VOC
  • Low sheen finish
  • For restoring old boats
  • Protects against corrosion, chemicals, UV rays, and more
  • No priming or etching, easy cleaning
Cons
  • Sanding before the final coat
  • 48 hours of drying
This Totalboat aluminum boat paint is not only great for restoration but hunting and fishing as well. The colors will allow you to be one with nature, so you will have a bountiful catch.

2. Rust-Oleum 207005 Marine Topside Paint

The formulation of this paint is intended for areas above the waterline. It can provide excellent protection on wood, fiberglass, and metal surfaces like an aluminum boat. This paint is not only effective in maintaining a new look but also for restoring old ones.

The smooth finish of this paint exemplifies beauty. Prominent gloss retention is present, too. The vessels can achieve their new look because of these effects. You can do it in different colors. The choices are black, battleship gray, red, navy blue, deep green, sand beige, oyster white, white, and semi-gloss white.

Choose the shade that you like and properly apply this paint on your vessel for an elegant covering. The formula is oil-based, self-leveling, and flexible, so you won’t have a hard time applying it. It becomes dry to the touch in just a matter of an hour or two.

Observance of proper application is a must. For instance, it’s not good to make two or more coatings in a single day. Excessive or heavy application is not advisable. These actions would only cause incomplete drying. You have to do things correctly, so you won’t get frustrated when the result appears.

Do the job outdoors or in a ventilated area as the paint can be stinky. After you follow all the necessary procedures, hulls and decks will obtain the needed protection against sunlight and extreme weather conditions. The coating is durable as it’s not prone to chipping, peeling, and cracking.
Pros
  • For areas above the water, wood, fiberglass, and metal
  • Smooth and glossy colors
  • Maintains and restores
  • Self-leveling, oil-based, and flexible formula
  • Durable, quick-dry coating
Cons
  • Shouldn’t apply two or more coatings in a day
  • A bit of stink during application
The gloss on this paint is ideal for maintaining and restoring the boat’s beauty. Painting aluminum boat hull is something I look forward to because of its result.

3. Majic Paints 8-0850-2 Camouflage Paint

Painting a boat or any other water vessel is not just for the enhancement of its appearance. People like me do it to unite with nature. I can camouflage my boat when I go fishing and duck hunting on the lake thanks to this paint.

There are various ways to purchase this paint. You can pick the aerosol one or sizes of quart or gallon based on your needs. The color options that you can choose from are black, bark gray, olive drab, khaki, desert tan, and earth brown.

When you opt for aerosol, make sure you test first so you can identify the right distance when applying. Take note of the manufacturer’s instruction to do it 10 inches to 16 inches away from the surface. When you have a can of this paint, you can use a roller, a paint pad, or a brush.

A second coating is only necessary when the surface is unpainted. Otherwise, it may not be required over some painted sections. Give enough time for the previous application to dry before doing another one. Also, remember that light sanding is essential before applying another layer.

The flat finish is perfect for unifying with nature as no reflection appears on the coat. This paint is terrific on water vehicles, duck blinds, trailers, tree stands, and other objects.

This paint is ideal for metals like aluminum, but its protective finish is also applicable to wood. The durability of the paint also obstructs rust formation. It creates a tough bond that makes surfaces withstand harsh and destructive weather.
Pros
  • Camouflage paint available in gallons, quarts, and sprays, and many colors
  • Can be applied using rollers, paint pads, and brushes
  • Second coating not always necessary on painted surfaces
  • Creates a flat finish
  • Versatile, durable paint
Cons
  • Light sanding before applying another layer
This paint is useful for people who fish and hunt. I must admit I’d love the nature theme color even if it had no purpose.

4. TUFF Coat UT-100 Non-Skid Coating

Runny paint gives me a bad impression based on my experience of boat maintenance. The rubberized, non-skid formula of this product is a real treat for me because it is thick. I don’t like a substance that slips on the surface as it would result in uneven application.

You will be able to use this paint in any way that you want. It can be used as paint for inside aluminum boat, the floor of a fishing boat, a pontoon deck, the front deck of a bass rig, and even wooden sections. Wherever you may use it, you will always achieve a hard coat.

The hardness of the coat shows the durability that you can rely on. I can attest that it can last long based on my experience. I often take my boat for fishing and hunting, but it still looks good. I would clean it with a garden hose to remove the dirt. You may also use soap and a brush with soft bristles.

You’ll be able to pick colors aside from black. There are choices on the lighter side such as white, light blue, medium blue, key west sand, light gray, sand, and Caribbean blue.

This paint is highly resistant to chemicals, so you know your vessel is protected all the time. I also don’t worry about going out under the heat of the sun as it can withstand UV rays.

You’re safe with this paint’s formula as it doesn’t contain hazardous elements. Plus, the application is straightforward. However, this paint is made of thick rubber content, so blending will be much easier with a drill mixer.
Pros
  • Has a thick, rubberized, non-skid formula
  • Can be used in different vessels
  • Durable, hard finish that’s resistant to chemicals and UV rays
  • Easy to clean
  • Many colors available
  • No hazardous elements
Cons
  • Requires a drill mixer to mix its thick texture
All in all, I can do maintenance on my aluminum boat and other water vessels with this paint.

5. Duralux M736-1 Aluminum Boat Marine Paint

This marine paint works like the best primer for aluminum boat. The reason why you can just skip the primer is the marvelous adhesion in its formula. Using this paint cuts almost half of the labor needed for my boat’s maintenance.

Before applying, lightly sand the surface and make sure that you have a clean brush or roller. Then, you can easily apply this paint to create a vinyl type coating. Be mindful to know the right amount for your application as it’s thick.

The alkyd enamel formula is mainly concocted for painting an aluminum boat as well as taking care of surfaces made of galvanized steel.

Once this paint sets, your aluminum boat or any water vessel gains protection against rust, corrosion, harsh cleaning agents, fuel oils, discoloration caused by harbor gases, and moderate exposure to saltwater. With these protective attributes, it’s a breeze to keep my boat clean and sleek.

It’s not only for pleasure water vessels but for commercial use as well. The amazing abilities of this paint are useful for bridges, tanks, oil rigs, industrial equipment, and some structural objects. Duralux sees to it that their products can contribute to the completion of different operations. Some people use it instead of glass and tile to remodel their shower room.

Aside from proving itself multi-purpose, this marine paint also pleases the color preference of the user. There are 20 glossy colors to support your wants of turning your boat into an embellished one. If you aim to be in harmony with nature, there are 3 colors to create a camouflage effect.
Pros
  • Primer and paint in one
  • Cuts half of the usual painting labor
  • Vinyl coating for aluminum and galvanized steel
  • Provides protection against rust, fuel oils, and more
  • For personal and commercial uses
  • Glossy and camouflage colors
Cons
  • Must be mindful of the applied amount because of its thickness
Using a product that is a blend of primer and paint is a big advantage. You get to save time and labor but still, a protective coating is attained.

6. Rust-Oleum 254170 Professional Primer Spray Paint

Convenience and protection are the strength of this spray paint. Needless to say, spraying doesn’t require much strength, so you can free your muscles from any tension. What’s to love about it is that I can spray in 360 degrees angles and direction.

Upside down spraying won’t be a problem. You would still succeed in getting the tight bond on the finish. Usual problems that people encounter with paints are peeling, chipping, flaking, fading, dulling, and blistering. I have not come across these things after I had this awesome paint on my boat.

Every surface gets double protection by its coating for a long period. The durability comes from the spray’s resistance to corrosion and rust. It also prevents abrasion from tarnishing your boat, and this applies to both indoor and outdoor surfaces.

This paint is best for aluminum. I was in awe seeing it adhered instantly on my bare aluminum boat. Before applying it to a surface with some paint, sand the former lightly. You may also apply two or more coatings.

The spray has a high output tip, which means wider coverage. Finishing the job will be done in a shorter time, and you can expect a tight bond with the topcoat like what I had on my boat. I added a satin black topcoat, and it sticks just the way I want it.

I once had to fix some deformation on my fishing boat, so I used an epoxy filler. That’s when I discovered that this paint is not compatible with fillers. Remember this so you won’t wonder why the paint won’t adhere.
Pros
  • Sprays in 360 degrees angles, even upside down
  • Tight bond with the topcoat
  • Forms double protection, protects against corrosion, abrasion, and more
  • For both indoor and outdoor surfaces
  • Best used on aluminum
  • Output tip has a wide coverage
Cons
  • Not compatible with fillers
Free yourself from muscle tension and save time by using this spray paint. It is a top-tier coating too.

7. TotalBoat Wet Edge Marine Topside Paint for Boats

This is an awesome paint as I’ve used it on repairs and restoration done on aluminum boats. The coating is preferably above the water as it’s indicated as a topside paint. I can tell based on its effect that it has a heavy-duty formulation made for commercial use.

It’s not only effective on aluminum and metals but fiberglass and wood too. The finish from this paint retains gloss and maximum color. I’m sure you’ll find something that you like from the 21 available shades.

The coating will stay for a long time as it can resist harsh UV rays, scratches, and chemicals. However, contact with water should be limited. It’s not good for the paint to stay in the water for more than 72 hours. Don’t forget that it is ideal for above-water coating.

Aside from the aluminum boat hull, you can cover RV exteriors, doors, and campers with this product. Sizes are in gallons, quarts, and pints, so you can get the one that’s enough for your project.

Applying this paint is trouble-free, and you can do it in different ways. You may opt for a brush. Thin layers should be used rather than thick ones to ensure proper curing, and two or three coats should suffice. A roller is what you need for tipping, and to guarantee even coatings, vertical motions are best. Having this paint in a sprayer is possible, too, and a thin application is recommended.
Pros
  • Has heavy-duty formula, made for commercial use and different places like RVs
  • Effective on metals, fiberglass, and woods
  • Retains gloss and maximum color
  • Has 21 shades and 3 sizes
  • Creates durable coating
  • Trouble-free application
Cons
  • The finish shouldn’t stay in the water for more than 72 hours
This paint gives me peace of mind because I know that my aluminum boat is protected from harmful, exterior elements.

8. Sea Hawk AH7033GL Aluma Hawk Boat Paint

I can say that this is one of the most appropriate paints for aluminum boats. There’s a lot to gain from its quick-dry formula. My Jon boat that got painted with this product crashed onto the boat ramp. When I checked for some scrapes or scratches, there was none to my surprise.

You can rely on this paint whether you apply it on parts that are above or below the waterline. Just as every owner desires, the aluminum boat is protected from corrosion by its coating. I love the green color as it gives a sleek and neat appeal.

The paint has been on my boat for more than a year now. It stays in a nice appearance as long as you keep it clean, and protection doesn’t cease as time goes by. Some bumps and small accidents can’t easily damage Jon boats and aluminum boats with this applied.

Straightforward application is what I appreciate the most about the products that I use. Lucky me, this paint has this attribute. It immediately sticks on bare aluminum, and there’s no need to use a primer.

It’s fine to thin it out as the paint is thick, and doing so won’t affect its performance. You would still achieve a wonderful result. I’ve tried using a brush and a spray, and they both work well. Quick-drying is always consistent.

This product is imperfect, though. I work in a ventilated area when applying this paint so I won’t inhale the fumes. Be aware that it can eat plastic, too.
Pros
  • The quick-dry formula can be thinned out
  • The finish can be above or below the waterline
  • Protects from corrosion and scratches
  • Effective for a long time with good cleaning
  • Straightforward application with a brush or spray, no primer needed
  • Nice green color
Cons
  • Some fumes during application
  • Eats through plastic
All the qualities of Sea Hawk aluminum boat paint are perfect for Jon boats and aluminum boats.

9. Diamond Brite Paint 46000

This product is made for metal surfaces, and I love to use it on my aluminum boat. I even know several people who use this paint on the roofs of their house. They put it on last year, and it survived a harsh winter with no damage.

You will be astonished to know that this paint can be in numerous applications. Metal cabinets, chain link fences, and aluminum radiators can be coated with this paint. It can be on everything that is made of metal or aluminum!

I painted many metal things inside my house with this product. It covers them so well. The bright surface it creates makes me feel like a professional decorator. It is the kind of coverage that every aluminum boat needs.

Thinning is not necessary as it’s a ready-to-use substance. Thus, this part saves you time and money for buying a thinner. You may spread the paint with a brush, roller, or sprayer. This substance can be applied under temperatures of 60 degrees to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

I used a brush and followed one direction to avoid uneven coating. Be consistent, so you can avoid streaks on the finish. There was a time that I did it on a windy day, but the result was still what I wanted.

Be aware that it may be runny on cold surfaces, so you have to be ready for this situation.
Pros
  • Made for metal surfaces, including aluminum
  • In numerous applications
  • Covers surfaces well and makes them look bright
  • Protective against harsh winter weather
  • Ready to use, no thinning
  • Can be spread with a brush, roller, or sprayer
Cons
  • It may be runny on cold surfaces
When it comes to aluminum surfaces, this is the paint for me. It assures me that my boat is protected while looking good and neat.

10. Rust-Oleum 8781502 Stops Rust Flat Aluminum Primer

Taking care of and protecting my aluminum boat after frequent use is my main concern. With the qualities of this aluminum primer, I know that my boat is secured. I don’t have to be hesitant and ask myself questions like “Should I paint my aluminum boat with it or not?”

What sets it apart from other brands is its ability to stick to aluminum and other galvanized surfaces. I used this on my Jon boat and door, and the result was excellent. It was resilient towards harsh weather or environment and frequent use.

The main problem that most aluminum boat owners worry about is rust. I’m happy that the formula has a tremendous ability to prevent rust from developing.

I want my aluminum boat to look simple but tidy. That’s why I like the flat gray finish that it creates. All you need is a single coat to achieve a plain but nice finish for your boat. You can paint aluminum boat with roller or brush with this. Only a matter of an hour or two is what it takes to turn it dry to touch. Then, curing is accomplished. It’s the best part for me as I don’t have to wait for days.

If you’re into lavish results, this primer can satisfy that demand, too, because it can blend with many topcoats. You may use it as a base for either latex, oil-based enamels, or aerosols. This product works to please everyone with its versatility.

Painting aluminum boat Rustoleum way always goes smoothly. I have nothing to complain about in terms of usage. However, it may not be for you if you prefer a vibrant color as it gives a gray finish.
Pros
  • Sticks well to aluminum and other galvanized surfaces
  • Resilient to outdoor elements and frequent use
  • Stops rust development
  • Neat flat gray finish
  • Can blend with many topcoats
  • A quick-dry formula that can be applied with a roller or brush
Cons
  • Gray finish may not please those who like vibrant colors
Defeat rust formation with this paint while you keep your aluminum boat in a neat state.

Buyer’s Guide

best-primer-for-aluminum-boat

Seeing your aluminum boat beat-up will propel you to find the best paint to revive its good-as-new appearance. Variants of paint for aluminum boat Canada made, US-made, and manufactured elsewhere are offered in the market. This may confuse many buyers.

Thus, here are the following factors you have to consider to ensure you get your money’s worth.

Authentic Aluminum Boat

You may think that it’s a no-brainer, but fall into the trap of purchasing paint for aluminum when your boat does not have this component.

After all, metals can look similar. Determining your vessel’s material is essential when buying a second-hand boat. As you know, there’s no turning back when you start the painting job.

Budget

Paints have different content and of course, price. Having a lot of options is an advantage, as you can always find the one that suits your budget.

Paying a lot doesn’t always mean that you get high-quality products. There are ones at a lower price that can still provide the needed protection for your boat. They can leave a finish that would also make the surface look good.

Some paints are formulated to skip the primer. They may cost more but they’re great for the long run.

Application is a Breeze

Most paints for an aluminum boat can be applied without complication, and drying only takes a short time for most brands. It’s a part of a no-sweat application. Make sure these attributes apply to your pick.

Preferred Color

The color of the boat matters due to the following reasons:

  • Pick a light shade when you live in a hot climate. When you turn your boat into a dark-colored vessel, it doesn’t have enough capability to block sunlight. It’s important to take note of this if you have an enclosed boat. You may end up sailing in a setting akin to a furnace.
  • Having a bright boat means being conspicuous. It will be easily spotted even on a vast body of water.
  • Darker colors are suitable for small fishing boats that journey on murky waters. It’s just practical to avoid bright colors when the water is dirty. Those who live in the northern hemisphere, where there’s little sunlight most of the time, would also settle for dark colors.

Knowing What you Want

Knowing what you want refers to the finish or the coating from the paint. Weigh things and decide whether you would go for matte or gloss. Some boat owners are very particular about the renewed appearance of their vessels. However, some may not care that much as they only occasionally go fishing.

No matter what, repainting always delivers the same result. It is a refreshed look of your aluminum boat. In most situations, spending more effort means getting the best result.

Paint is not the only thing involved in it; the person who would do the application matters as well. When a pro does the job, a cheap brand can turn into an excellent finish. Preparing the hull for painting would also contribute to a flawless coating. You may also do some buffing first.

Care and Maintenance

best-way-to-paint-an-aluminum-boat

Finding a paint that would last on your boat is not impossible. But the time when repainting is needed would come. The coating can stay for years, but it doesn’t stay invincible due to some factors like sun, salt water, weathering, and harsh environment.

Cleaning with water and soap helps maintain the nice finish left by paint on your boat. You don’t want dirt or any tiny things taking residence on it. It’s a way of preserving the paint, and you don’t want your boat to appear like it’s forsaken.

Frequently Asked Questions

painting-an-aluminum-boat

Who makes the best paint for aluminum boat?

The ones who make the best paint for aluminum boats are TotalBoat, Rust-Oleum, Majic Paints, TUFF, Duralux, Sea Hawk, and Diamond Brite.

What kind of paint will stick to aluminum?

The kinds of paint that are mainly suitable for aluminum are latex and acrylic. If you want dents to look less obvious, you have to settle for a matte or satin finish. You should know that glossy paint can’t help you hide the boat’s imperfections.

Whichever product you use, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Can you spray paint on aluminum?

Yes, you can as there are spray paints that are made to stick on the aluminum surface. Applying this paint can be done both indoors and outdoors. It can be done with no delay in a steady stream.

Spray paints for aluminum often include the primer, which can cut down the time and effort that you spend on the job. Preparation, painting, and drying will all be summed up in a shorter duration. The formula of these spray paints has aluminum flakes, so the coat becomes long-lasting.

Check your distance from the boat when spraying the paint. Manufacturers would provide information regarding this matter. The purpose is to make the paint stick on the surface evenly without waste.

What is the best way to paint an aluminum boat?

The best way to paint an aluminum boat starts with preparation. The very first step is getting rid of any dirt and unwanted particles on your boat. Pressure washing can ensure that no contaminants stick on the surface.

Apply a primer coat to hinder oxidation from happening. Some brands add primer to their paint’s formula, so you might be able to skip this step.

It’s usually best to apply two coatings of paint. If you choose to do so, make sure each layer dry first before reapplication.

After you’re done painting, coat your boat to protect it. Make sure to let this layer cure according to the product’s directions.

Can you paint an aluminum boat with Rustoleum?

Yes, you can. There are two paints from Rust-oleum that you can use on aluminum boats. They are actually on the list of our top picks. The first one is the spray paint that can be administered in different angles and it’s considered a primer as well. It makes the application less straining.

The other paint suitable for aluminum boats from Rust-oleum is formulated for above the waterline. Its strength is focused on the protection that it provides. The finish is tough, and it’s not prone to cracking and chipping.

Should I paint the bottom of my aluminum boat?

The vessel can sometimes stay in the water even when not in use. So every aluminum boat owner has the impulse to protect the bottom of their vessels. You may have heard about putting a plastic or two-part epoxy on it. But there’s a much better option than this.

Anti-fouling paint can protect the bottom of the aluminum boat while ordinary paint cannot. But you have to make sure that it’s aluminum-safe or else, it can corrode your boat or even eat the surface. It’s an essential step for those with boats that stay in the water for an extended time.

Anti-fouling paint is most suitable for below the waterline use. If the product description has “anti-fouling,” it’s good for the bottom of your aluminum boat.

Should I use a primer every time I paint my aluminum boat?

You may often hear from the pros to use a primer before spreading the paint on your aluminum boat. But it’s a notion that is no longer relevant with the new formulation of paint. Many paints are formulated for aluminum surfaces and don’t need a primer before applying.

Primer is utilized to help the paint settle on the surface well. It’s best to play safe and use a primer unless your paint’s label says otherwise.

Priming should be done as soon as the boat turns dry. Oxygen and aluminum dislike each other so you have to be quick. Primer prevents oxidation, a process that causes corrosion.

Conclusion

Although aluminum appears to be a tough material, it still needs maintenance and protection. When it comes to boats, pontoons, and other vessels with the same material, only the best paint for aluminum boat can help you take care of them. With the right methods and practice, you can maintain the looks and good performance of your boat.

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