How-To Guides

How to Apply Bottom Paint to Your Boat

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Bottom paint is essential for protecting your boat’s hull. But applying bottom paint to your boat takes a lot more than just painting on a new coat. To ensure your boat is properly protected, this is a job that needs to be done right. When applying bottom paint to your boat, keep these following steps in mind.

  • Get the right paint. A wide variety of paints are available to boaters. In our store, we carry several brands for different types of boats. Our staff can help you choose the right one for your vessel. Also, there are water-based paints now available that have almost no fumes and are much easier to clean up in comparison to solvent-based paints.
  • Check for damage. Always check the bottom of your boat for any damage from the previous season. Any damage will need to be repaired prior to painting. Look for signs of bad blistering and osmosis. Blistering often occurs when water gets past the epoxy barrier coat and through the gel coat, getting into your boat’s fiberglass. When water gets in, it damages your gel coat and paint, leaving blisters. Isolated damage and small blistering can typically be repaired. For extensive blistering, check the hull with a moisture meter to determine water content.
  • Do proper prep work. Your bottom paint will last longer and perform better if you take the time to properly prepare your hull before applying it. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions. For new boats, use an epoxy primer as a barrier coat. Several coats are required. Then, use several coats of anti-foul paint for a top coat. Remember that different regions, harbors and moorings often require different paints. High current areas with cooler water will not foul as fast as slow moving warmer water. Engines and out drives can be anti-fouled as well.
  • Sand the right way. When sanding, use high-quality sand paper. It will cut faster and hold-up longer, which means spending less time sanding. Also, you should always wear proper protection such as safety glasses and a respirator or dust mask.
  • Use quality tape. Don’t use any old tape when masking off the hull. Cheap masking tape will allow the paint to bleed underneath, giving your hull a sloppy look. A crisp line makes a big difference. In our yard, we use a laser to mark the waterline.
  • Remove any stains. When painting, you may find stains along your boat’s waterline from the previous season. We carry products that can remove this staining and get your boat looking clean again.