Old, tired looking aluminium boats can have their appearance enhanced and lifespan extended with a new paint job that can easily be done as a DIY project.(photographs courtesy of Norglass Marine Paints)
The most important aspect of painting an aluminium boat is to ensure the surfaces are thoroughly prepared to ensure you achieve excellent adhesion of the paint coatings. Any contamination on the surface or an existing glossy coating will reduce the adhesion of the paint and result in premature failure of the coating.
If the boat is already painted, we would recommend removing the existing coatings using a commercially available paint remover. This will ensure all contamination is removed and the bare surfaces can be adequately prepared.
Aluminium oxidises when exposed to air. This oxidation needs to be removed which can be readily achieved using a solvent degreaser and a nylon souring pad. DO NOT use steel wool as the metal fibres will embed in the surface which will lead to the aluminium corroding preferentially to protect the steel. Once the surface has been cleaned it will start to oxidise so it needs to be painted straight away.
The aluminium must be primed with an Etch Primer first to provide adhesion and a key coat for your subsequent top coats irrespective of the final coating you choose.
To finish, 2 coats of either a high quality marine grade exterior enamel (Wattyl KillRust Epoxy Enamel or Norglass Weatherfast Enamel) or an industrial 2 pack polyurethane coating (Wattyl Poly U400 or Norglass Northane Gloss) can be applied. All these products can be applied by brush, roller or spray.
If the boat is going to be stored in the weather or left moored for continuous periods of time, we would strongly recommend a 2 pack polyurethane product as it is more durable and is suitable for continuous immersion.
Crowies Paints distribute both the Wattyl and Norglass Marine Specialty Finishes. Norglass offer their 2 pack polyurethane kits in smaller pack sizes which caters specifically for the DIY pleasure craft market.
Pop in to any of the Crowies stores and they will be able to assist with product and colour selection.