HOW TO PAINT A FIBERGLASS BOAT
Why spend money hiring a professional to paint your fiberglass boat when you can do it yourself? Although it does take time, with a clear game plan and a little prep work it can be done! Repainting your boat will give it a fresh new look and even increase the value when done well. We have broken it down into a three step process: Prep, Prime and Paint. We have also included a few tips for better application and to keep your boat looking newer longer!
PAINT OPTIONS: Before you start your 3 step process you should have your paint picked out. There are three main choices for fiberglass boats. Click for paint options.
1. One part paint(polyurethane): This type of paint is a perfect option for the DIY project. It can be applied with a paint roller and foam brush or sprayed on.
2. Two part paint(polyurethane): While it is thin and requires multiple coats, it is the most durable and has the highest gloss retention. Some two part polyurethanes are manufactured to be brushed and rolled on while others must be sprayed. It can become toxic when sprayed and should be applied by a professional.
3. Alkya enamel: This is a traditional oil-based paint. It is simple for a beginner to apply using a brush and is more cost efficient than the other options. It is also generally more compatible with the paint already on your boat.
1. PREP: First you will want to prep your boat to get it ready for the new paint. Having all supplies ready and easily accessible is very important for a quick and smooth process.
- Clean thoroughly: Although its a good idea to clean your boat regularly, this is especially important before you start painting to get rid of dust and build up.
- Remove all hardware: While you can use masking tape to cover the plastic and aluminum hardware, it is even better to remove it altogether. Painting over taped edges can lead to build up in the corners which can cause cracking and peeling down the road.
- Remove wax coat: If you have previously waxed your boat, you will want to use a solvent to remove all layers of wax before you begin painting. This is because the paint will not adhere to the wax coating.
- Repair boats surface: Fresh paint will make all the scratches and scuffs on your boat more visible so you will want repair these before painting. You can buff out the small scuffs and use an epoxy filler for deeper scratches.
- Sand the boat: After the repairs are done, you will want to sand the boat's surface. You can do this by hand or with an electric sander. Don't forget to change out your sandpaper once it gets worn down!
- Remove dust: After you are finished sanding, make sure to use a clean cloth to remove all of the dust before you move on to the next stage.
2. PRIME: Although it is not necessary for a fiberglass boat, you can choose to prime before moving on to the painting stage. Click for primer options.
- Prime: Choose a primer that is compatible with the type of paint you have chosen. Apply a thin coat of primer over all surfaces that will be painted.
- Sand: Lightly sand everywhere you have primed and again remove the dust with a clean cloth.
3. PAINT: If you choose to prime the boat, you will want to begin painting within two hours for best results.
- First layer: You can begin the first coat of paint by rolling on your first layer. Follow instructions on paint can for dry time which is usually 1 to 2 hours.
- Second layer: You will want to remove the tape and brush on the second layer to get all the difficult and hard to reach areas.
Tips and Tricks:
- Keep dust and bugs away while prepping, priming and painting! Spray down work space floor to keep dust from being stirred.
- Be conscious when choosing paint colors. Dark colors might look great but fiberglass is basically plastic and they will attract heat which can cause shrinkage and distortion. Light colors will be better longterm.
- It is best to paint when temperature is between 70-80 degrees and humidity below 70%.
- Two people painting a large area quickly will have the best results. The first person should roll on the paint while the second follows behind with a brush to smooth imperfections in the brush marks. This is called the roll and tip method.
- Clean brushes and rollers make a big difference in the end result and you should try to change or clean them every half hour.
- Keep lint free cloths on hand to keep dust away.
- Clean boat after each use to keep the paint job looking better longer, but do not use harsh detergents or abrasive scrubbers.