5 Best Paints for Aluminum Boats
5 Best Paints for Aluminum Boats
5 (100%) 2 vote[s]
Rust-Oleum 207005
UV Resistance
For Fiberglass, Wood Or Metal Surfaces
Flexible Coating
Rust-Oleum 8781502
Dries Quickly
Base Coat For Aluminum Or Galvanized Metal
Cleans Up With Soap & Water
Sea Hawk Paint
Corrosion-Inhibiting Coating
Ideal For Pontoon Boats Or Any Aluminum Surface
No Need Of Primer
TotalBoat Krypton
Antifouling, Eco-Friendly
Full-Season Protection Against Barnacles, Algae
Copper-Free Ablative
TotalBoat Marine Primer
Cured Film Won
1-Part Premium Marine Undercoat Compatible
High-Solids Primer

Choose the Best Paint for Aluminum Boat

Customer’s Choice: the Best Rated Paints for Aluminum Boats

69 users answered this survey. Please help us improve this review!

53.62% of users selected Rust-Oleum 207005, 4.35% selected Rust-Oleum 8781502, 31.88% selected Sea Hawk Paint, 7.25% selected TotalBoat Krypton and 2.9% selected TotalBoat Marine Primer. Every month we analyze your answers and change our rating.

Modern boats are made from a variety of materials. It is plywood, wood, and plastic. But most often manufacturers choose aluminum to construct a boat. Such a boat has less fuel consumption, can develop good speed, does not require special conditions for winter storage, and is easy for transportation.
Aluminum has many other advantages:

  • Lightweight. Boats made of aluminum are much lighter than their steel or wooden counterparts.
  • Strength. Items made of this metal are very durable body and can withstand impacts without damage.
  • Durability. Aluminum constructions are designed for long service life. Such a boat will serve you for decades. They do not rust or crumble from corrosion.
  • Easy maintenance. The aluminum boat doesn’t really need any special care. You will only have to periodically inspect it for damage and clean the bottom from build-ups if you regularly use the boat.

Aluminum boats are not made of pure metal but its alloys. Manufacturers add manganese, copper, or magnesium to give the metal the desired properties. These substances allow achieving the necessary qualities of the material.

These main benefits made boats made of aluminum very popular. This versatile material will not need much of your attention. Aluminum alloy is not afraid of constant contact with water. But in order to extend the service life of boats, you need to further protect them from corrosion. And paint can help you a lot with this task.

For this purpose, you can find all shades of paint. But this procedure requires a lot of effort. Paints do not stick well to any material. Therefore, you can fail the task without special knowledge and skills.

To paint a metal boat, you need to follow a certain technology. Only then the paint will last a long time. Correctly chosen paint will create a protective oxide film on top of the aluminum product. Therefore, this cover will perform both a protective and decorative function. In this review, we will discuss the 5 best finish options for aluminum boats.

Rust-Oleum Boat Paint – a perfect remedy for a rusted boat.

Rust-Oleum 207005This oil-based paint is good for many surfaces including metal. It is not affected by severe weather conditions and UV light. It works well for all types of boats if you do not store them in the salty water.

The paint has a glossy mirror finish which will contribute to the appearance of every object you finish with it. The paint rolls on very smoothly, and one quart will be enough for two layers on one mid-sized boat.


  • UV resistant;
  • Fine for severe weather conditions;
  • Gloss-retaining;
  • Durable;


  • Needs time for proper drying out.

This paint will enable you to refurbish even the oldest aluminum boat. But to get it done properly, your vessel should be well-prepared. It is recommended to get all the rust off the boat surface by grinding, sanding, or sandblasting. In certain cases, you will need to start with a primer before applying the paint. You can add various powder tints to achieve the desired shade. One quart of paint is a good portion to cover about 100-120 square feet. Be sure to leave the boat to dry well if you intend to apply the second layer of paint.

Rust-Oleum Gray Primer – a perfect coating for stopping rust.

Rust-Oleum 8781502This latex aluminum primer is designed primarily for metal surfaces. Its main and foremost task is to stop rust appearance and spread on the metal surfaces. This cover can be applied over any finish, but be careful when using it over the epoxied paints.

Apply it only on well-dried surfaces. The primer comes in a nice gray shade and provides attractive coverage. 1 quart will be enough for two coatings on a 14’ boat.


  • Works perfectly on any finish;
  • Easy to apply;
  • Cleans up with no effort;
  • Shiny finish;


  • Too thick for a sprayer.

The primer works perfectly for all types of metals and is especially good for aluminum boats. You will have to roll it on or use a brush as it is a bit too thick for a sprayer. But some users managed to thin it out with water and still apply it by spraying. Make sure you remove all the debris from the surface and sand the metal well to allow the paint to grip better. This primer will effectively prolong the service life of your aluminum boat.

Aluma Hawk Boat Paint – a paint working with no primer.

Sea Hawk PaintThis fast-drying paint is an ideal solution for renovating an aluminum boat. The paint is environmentally-friendly as it does not contain chromates. It will work well both above and below the boat waterline.

Thanks to active phenolic resin, it sticks well to the bare aluminum surface without any primer. You can also use it for top coating over surfaces finished with acrylic or enamel finish.


  • Requires no primer;
  • Rust-inhibiting;
  • Does not contain chromates;
  • Excellent water resistance;
  • Fast-drying;


  • No antifouling property.

This paint will allow you to use a boat in both fresh or saltwater. It will protect it well from corrosion. Though, it will not cope with fouling. All methods of paint application are workable for this paint. All methods allow you to achieve perfect adhesion with aluminum. The only condition is to clean the surface well from grease or wax before application. The paint should be left for 24 hours to dry before you launch it on water. It is best to apply 2 layers of paint.

Krypton Boat Paint – the best protection from fouling.

TotalBoat KryptonThis paint is produced using copper-free technology. It can be used for all types of metal, fiberglass, and wood. Its most attractive quality is the ability to keep your boat clean from buildups of debris on the bottom.

The special due-biocide formula will allow you to protect your boat from fouling for the whole season. And at the same time, the paint will not bring any harm to the ecosystem. It will also protect the vessel from corrosion.


  • Copper-free;
  • Antifouling property;
  • Eco-friendly;
  • Bright colors;
  • Easy to apply and durable;


  • Available in three colors only when ordered in a quart.

1 gallon of the paint is enough for processing of 500 square feet. For the best results, it is recommended to apply 2 coats of the product to your boat, and do not forget to allow each layer to dry out for 24 hours. The manufacturer specifies the antifouling property will be effective for a year, but the users say that it will be fine for a few years if a boat is used in freshwater.

Marine Boat Primer – the best solution for a long finish.

TotalBoat Marine PrimerThis fast-drying primer is designed for metal, fiberglass, and wood boats. Its high-solid composition allows you to apply only one thin layer to get the boat ready for further painting. It sticks well even on top of the old paint, but you need to prepare the surface thoroughly.

Avoid applying it on a wet surface. One gallon will be enough for 250-300 square feet.


  • High-solid primer;
  • Fast-drying;
  • Easy to apply;
  • 1 –layer covering;


  • Not strong enough for areas below the waterline.

This paint will look great on any boat, but it does not have enough properties the underwater part needs. Though its winning feature is that you may apply one thin layer of primer to achieve the desired effect. It also dries fast enough. The main idea to avoid thick coating as it will not dry properly. If you still see some drawbacks after drying, you can remove them with careful sanding.

The Buyer’s Guide

Painting a boat is somewhat different from painting other products. It is a very responsible and important task. The fact is that the boat is constantly working in specific conditions. Therefore, the coating must be both stable and durable.

Before realizing this idea, read the following tips.

What paint is the best?

Large vessels cannot be finished with only one type of paint. One paint goes above the waterline, and the other is applied below the waterline. But as a rule, the aluminum boat can be finished with one paint as its size is not big. The choice of paints is quite large, therefore, it is recommended to study in detail the properties of the paint, and it is necessary to follow safety precautions when carrying out general work. You can use the following types of coating:

  • Oil-based paints

These are paints and varnishes based on drying oils. All oil paints and enamels contain pigments that give them color. You can use only those paints which do not contain lead as a pigment. Oil paints with lead will destroy aluminum. Any other pigment in the paint will not damage the boat. It is better to choose enamel for the painting of the boat, it is stronger and has a glossy finish. Apply oil paints only after a primer.

  • Epoxy paints

In recent years, epoxy-based paints have become very popular. Epoxy paint usually serves as a primer layer, but it can also be used as a finishing coating for the vessel. Note, this paint will not work on boats previously painted with oil paints. It is usually enough to apply it in a single layer. Painting is carried out in small areas. Epoxy paint is toxic and requires very careful use.

How to determine the compatibility of paints?

If you decide to repaint your boat, you must know what paint was originally used for it. Old and new paints must be compatible. It is easy to find out if you carry the following experiment:

  • Soak a small piece of cloth with solvent.
  • Attach it to a boat with a larger piece of the plastic cover.
  • Seal the edges of the with sealing tape.
  • A day later, check if the paint under this cover is bubbled or not. If it is not affected, you can start treating it with a new finish.

How to prepare a boat for painting?

The success of the boat painting depends on proper surface preparation. Therefore, you should thoroughly prepare the surface, by following these simple steps.

  • Clean your boat from dirt, oil, peeling paint, and fouling below the waterline. Do not forget to repair areas with damages if necessary. Corrosion somewhere on the vessel will force you to postpone painting until the repair is complete.
  • Remove old paint. When working on major repairs of a metal boat, first completely remove the old coating using a synthetic cord-brush or an old paint remover. It is better to clean the surface gradually, covering small areas with a cloth soaked in a solution and tightly covering the top with polyethylene. When scraping off old paint, be careful not to damage the protective layer of the metal.
  • After removing the paint, thoroughly wash the boat from the acid and paraffin that are usually available in the paint remover. Wash the boat 2-3 times using the appropriate cleanser. Even a small handful of dust can cause big trouble while painting.
  • Spackle uneven areas. Since the hull of the boat is subject to vibrations and deformations, it is preferable to choose a specialized material to restore its surface.
  • And only then you can pass to painting.


What is the best type of paint to use on an aluminum boat?

The best type of paint to use on an aluminum boat is a two-part polyurethane paint. This paint has excellent durability and resistance to UV rays and salt water, making it perfect for marine applications. It also provides a glossy finish that will last for years. Ensure to properly clean the surface of your aluminum boat before applying the paint, as any dirt or debris can lead to chipping or peeling over time. Additionally, be sure to follow all instructions provided by the manufacturer when you are painting your boat with this type of paint. With proper preparation and application, you’ll have a great looking coat of paint on your aluminum boat in no time!

Can I paint over old paint on an aluminum boat?

In order to give your boat a fresh paint job, start by sanding away the old paint and any oxidation until you’re left with clean metal. Then, if you’re using an oil-based paint, etch the surface with a mild acid solution. After that, you should apply an appropriate primer before painting on the finish color. It’s important to use a marine grade paint designed specifically for aluminum boats in order to ensure optimal adhesion and protection against salt water and other elements. Make sure to follow all manufacturer instructions. With some preparation and patience, you can give your boat a fresh look!

Do I need to prime the aluminum boat before painting?

Yes, you do need to prime your aluminum boat before painting it. Primer helps provide a uniform surface that the paint can grip onto and prevents the paint from coming off too quickly or easily. It also helps prevent rust, which is incredibly important when you’re dealing with a metal vessel like an aluminum boat. To apply primer, make sure your aluminum boat has been properly cleaned and wiped down with a damp cloth. Once it’s dry, use an appropriate primer for aluminum boats and apply several thin coats to ensure adequate coverage. After the primer has dried completely, you can then begin painting your boat according to your desired color scheme!

What kind of spray paint can I use on an aluminum boat?

You should opt for a paint specifically designed for use on metal surfaces. This type of paint is usually labeled as “enamel,” and it provides the best coverage for aluminum surfaces. Additionally, using a primer before applying your paint can help ensure that the color sticks to the surface better and lasts longer. Be sure to clean and dry the boat thoroughly before beginning, so there’s no dust or other debris mixed in with your paint job. Read all application instructions carefully – some paints may require multiple coats while others are ready to be used right away.

Do I need to sand the aluminum boat before painting?

Yes, it is important to sand the aluminum boat before painting. It helps create a smooth surface for paint to adhere to and can help remove any corrosion or grime on the hull. Sanding with a finer grit paper will make sure that there are no imperfections in the metal which could cause issues when applying paint. Additionally, primers should be used when painting aluminum boats as they help with adhesion of the top coat. Taking these steps will make sure your boat looks great and lasts for many years!

Is bottom paint necessary on aluminum boats?

Whether or not you need bottom paint on your aluminum boat will depend on a few factors. If your boat is used in salt water, then it’s definitely recommended that you use a quality bottom paint to protect against corrosion and other damage caused by the salt. Bottom paint also helps reduce drag while sailing, making it easier to move through the water. Lastly, if your boat is exposed to regular wear and tear from hitting docks or rocky bottoms, then bottom paint can help provide additional protection. Ultimately, it’s up to you as the boat owner to decide whether or not you feel bottom paint is necessary for your vessel. That said, most experts agree that it’s wise to err on the side of caution and apply a coat of paint if your boat is exposed to salt water or rough surfaces. Doing so can help protect your investment and extend the life of your boat.

How do you prepare an aluminum boat for painting?

Preparing an aluminum boat for painting requires a few simple steps:

  1. Start by thoroughly cleaning the boat’s surface with soap and water and then rinse it off.
  2. Next, remove any loose paint flakes or rust spots using a wire brush, sandpaper or chemical cleaner.
  3. Use a high-pressure washer to wash away all of the dirt and grime from the surface of the boat.
  4. Allow the boat to dry completely before beginning any painting work.
  5. To ensure that your paint adheres properly, you should also sand down the entire surface of the boat using 220 grit paper or finer grade sandpaper; be sure to pay special attention to areas where the paint has been lifted.
  6. Rinse off the sanded areas and then apply a quality primer to the entire boat’s surface.
  7. Once the primer is dry, you can begin to apply your base coat of choice, allowing enough time for it to fully dry before proceeding with any additional coats or details.
  8. Lastly, finish off the project by adding a protective topcoat so that your beautiful new paint job lasts for years to come!

How much paint do I need for a 20 foot aluminum boat?

It depends on a few factors like the size of the boat, the type of paint you’re using, and how much coverage you need. Generally speaking, you’ll need to purchase approximately 1 gallon of paint for each 100 square feet of surface area. Since a 20-foot aluminum boat typically has about 200 square feet of surface area, you’ll likely need 2 gallons of paint for your project! Be sure to read up on the specifications from the paint manufacturer so that you know exactly what materials and quantities are needed for your project.

Can you paint over existing aluminum boat paint?

It is important to prepare the surface before painting by sanding it down or using a primer and degreaser. For the best results, use a marine grade topcoat with an anti-corrosive agent such as epoxy or polyurethane. This type of finish will give the most longevity and protect your boat from harsh conditions in the water. Taking proper care of your aluminum boat’s paint job will help keep it looking great for years to come!

What is the average cost to paint the bottom of an aluminum boat?

The cost to paint the bottom of an aluminum boat will depend on a few factors, such as the size of the boat, type of paint being used, and whether or not it needs to be done professionally. Generally speaking, you can expect to pay anywhere from $200-$500 for a standard-sized aluminum boat. If you choose to have it professionally done, it could run closer to $1,000. It’s important to factor in labor costs when making any painting decision on your boat. Professional painters are trained and experienced in how to properly apply the coating material which can help significantly extend its life. Furthermore, they understand the latest techniques and materials best suited for particular types of boats while also taking into consideration environmental regulations that must be followed. So, while it may seem like a costly investment upfront, in the long run it can end up saving you money and time.

How much does it cost to repaint an aluminum boat?

The cost of repainting an aluminum boat can vary significantly depending on the size, type, and condition of your boat. On average, it costs $100-$400 to paint one linear foot, and the cost for bottom painting fluctuates between $15 and $100 per linear foot. The actual cost of the paint and supplies needed for the job may also factor in. Additionally, any necessary repairs or replacements should be considered in your budget. Be sure to speak with a professional for an accurate estimate of what it will cost you to repaint your aluminum boat.

Overall, repainting your aluminum boat is an affordable project that can help preserve its beauty and longevity.

Is Rustoleum paint good for aluminum boats?

Rustoleum paint is a great option for painting an aluminum boat. It offers superior protection and durability, especially when properly applied. The oil-based formula helps prevent oxidation from salt water and sun exposure, making it perfect for marine use. Plus, its fast drying properties mean you won’t have to wait long between coats of paint. If you’re looking for a good quality paint job that will last, Rustoleum is definitely worth considering! Just make sure you follow the application instructions carefully in order to ensure the best results possible.

Check more related guides:

Useful Video: Painting an Aluminum Boat with spray paint & primer


Today, you will find many paint options that can be used for an aluminum boat, the market offers a variety of materials from different manufacturers. But if you have decided to paint your boat on your own, it is always necessary to consult technical specialists. For any surface, it is vital to use high-quality and most appropriate paints. We hope this review had widened your knowledge of the materials that are fine for aluminum boat finishing, and it will be easier for you now to make a choice.

Hello! I'm a James Miller, and I'm an expert in materials science. I learned different metal properties in the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and I know everything about all kinds of metal. That's why I want to share my experience with you.

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