6 Best Paints for Aluminum Boats: Reviews and Buying Guide for 2020

Sprucing up your aluminum boat with a fresh coat of paint is a great way of personalizing your boat, but paint is also important for protecting your boat. The right paint can prevent corrosion and UV damage, besides improving the performance of your boat.

If you have a boat with an aluminum hull, it’s important to choose a paint that you can apply over this material. Here are our top picks.

Top Features to Look For When Choosing Paint

The best paint for aluminum boats should be durable and easy to apply. You can shop for paint and primer systems to find complementary products that deliver the best protection possible, or opt for a paint that doubles as a primer to save time.

One of the main issues you can encounter with your boat is to have marine growth on your hull. Algae and other invasive plant species can attach themselves to your boat if it’s still for long periods of time. Species like mussels and barnacles can also grow on your hull and cause damage.

The best paint for aluminum boats should use copper or another ingredient to repeal these invasive species and prevent marine growth. Manufacturers refer to this feature as anti-fouling.

You should also look for a product that is UV-resistant. UV rays can damage your boat’s paint and cause it to peel. If your boat’s paint is peeling, UV rays could damage the hull of your boat.

If you need to paint the inside of your boat, look for a non-skid paint or make sure you can mix a non-skid component into the paint you selected.

Lastly, color selection is an important consideration. Some manufacturers offer classic colors like gray or white, while others have a more original color selection.

Additional Considerations for Painting an Aluminum Boat

You need to prepare the surface before painting it. If there is old paint on your boat, you should use sanding paper to remove it. You might need to use a de-waxing treatment depending on the type of paint you decided to use.

Sanding is an important step because salt and slime can build up on your hull. Paint won’t dry properly if you don’t apply it to a clean surface.

Check the drying time of the paint you selected. Most products have a time window for applying additional coats or for launching your boat.

You will get better results if you apply a primer. A primer will make the paint last longer and help protect the hull.

When painting, remember to use thin layers. You might need to apply more than one coat of paint to get the most coverage possible or make the color look brighter.

Best Paint for Aluminum Boats Under $50

These budget options will help you save money if you have a large boat to paint or can’t justify investing in a more expensive paint system.

Diamond Brite Paint

This product is the best paint for aluminum boats if you’re shopping on a budget. It’s an enamel that uses an oil base for a durable result. It’s a versatile product that you can use in different industrial settings, and it’s suitable for painting an aluminum boat.

You can use this paint for interior and exterior uses, which means you can paint your boat hull as well as the inside of your boat with this product.

The composition of the enamel prevents peeling, cracking, and fading. It’s a durable paint that is easy to apply. You can spray it, roll it, or brush it. The versatile application process allows you to cover large surfaces with a roll before switching to a smaller brush to get into small spaces.

Diamond Brite offers a lot of variety. There are 12 colors to choose from, and you can order this paint in 1 quart, 1 gallon, or 5-gallon containers.

Pros:

  • Durable enamel
  • Won’t crack or fade
  • Versatile application process
  • 12 colors

Cons:

  • Not an anti-fouling paint
  • Doesn’t double as a primer

TotalBoat Aluminum Boat Paint

This boat paint will help you save time and money since you don’t need to use a primer with it. You can apply it over existing paint or bare metal, which eliminates the need for sanding the old coat of paint.

It’s an excellent option because you will get excellent coverage with this paint. The paint has a low-sheen finish that will make your boat look brand new, and it’s resistant to chemicals and corrosion.

You can apply this paint over different surfaces, including aluminum and galvanized steel. It’s easy to clean, and you can get rid of dirt and buildups with soap and warm water. There are six different colors to choose from.

Pros:

  • No need to use a primer
  • Apply over existing paint
  •  Low-sheen finish
  • Prevents corrosion

Cons:

  • Only six colors available

Best Paint for Aluminum Boats Under $150

Spending more on boat paint is worth it since the results will last longer, and these products deliver additional protection.

US Marine Products Black Gallon Coastal Copper 250 Ablative Antifouling Bottom Paint

This product is the best paint for aluminum boats if you leave your boat in a saltwater environment. It contains copper, which is the most effective ingredient for repealing invasive species that can grow on your boat’s hull.

You can apply this paint over an existing layer of paint without having to sand your hull. It delivers excellent protection, and the paint will not chip or fade. The self-polishing finish will spruce up the appearance of your boat!

Pros:

  • Anti-fouling protection
  • Durable results
  • ·Apply over existing paint

Cons:

  • Limited color selection

Sea Hawk Paints Aluma Hawk Aluminum Boat Paint

This paint uses a resin that doubles as a primer and makes the paint more durable. The manufacturer created this product for use on aluminum surfaces, and it’s an excellent choice if you want to paint a raw aluminum surface without having to use a primer.

The paint will protect your boat’s hull from corrosion. You can also use it as a base coat if you want to apply a layer of enamel paint or lacquer.

This paint dries rapidly and is easy to apply. It creates a durable result, and it’s safe to use with fresh and saltwater.

Pros:

  • Doubles as a primer
  • Great for painting on raw aluminum
  • Protects your boat from corrosion
  • Fast drying time

Cons:

  • No anti-fouling feature

Best Paint for Aluminum Boats Overall

We think the best paint for aluminum boats is one of these two products.

Rust-Oleum Available 207005 Marine Topside Paint

We like this paint because it’s an affordable and durable option. The main downside is that you should only use it above the waterline. It’s still an ideal option for sprucing up the inside of your boat, and you can save money by pairing this product with another paint designed for the hull of your boat.

This paint delivers a durable coating that can withstand extreme weather conditions. It will protect your boat from UV rays and deliver a vibrant color.

We like the glossy finish and the smooth appearance of the paint. It’s easy to apply, and you can choose from nine different colors.

Pros:

  • Affordable topside paint
  • Glossy finish
  • Anti-corrosion
  • UV-resistant

Cons:

  • Not for use below the waterline

TotalBoat Krypton Copper Free Antifouling – Marine Ablative Boat Bottom Paint

This heavy-duty paint is your best choice if you’re looking for a reliable and durable paint for your hull. It’s a product that you should only apply below the waterline.

We like this paint because it delivers vibrant colors that last. There are anti-fouling ingredients that prevent algae and barnacle buildups, but this paint doesn’t use copper, which can be an issue for the environment.

The paint stands out thanks to its easy application process. You can use a brush, roll, or spray to apply it. Unlike other paints, there is no maximum dry time to launch for this product. You can paint your boat, put it in storage, and launch it a few months later without any issues.

Pros:

  • Easy to apply
  • No maximum dry time to launch
  • Anti-fouling
  • Heavy-duty paint

Cons:

  • Not for use above the waterline

Conclusion

The best paint for aluminum boats depends on how often you use your boat, how much time it spends in storage, and the kind of conditions you’re likely to encounter.

If you want a durable coat of paint, we recommend investing in specialized products. You should use the heavy-duty TotalBoat Krypton Copper Free Antifouling – Marine Ablative Boat Bottom Paint to paint everything below the waterline, and paint your deck and other elements with Rust-Oleum Available 207005 Marine Topside.

If you don’t need anti-fouling protection and want to paint your aluminum boat on a budget, you should consider using Diamond Brite Paint. The result won’t be as durable as what you would get with other products, but the color selection gives you the possibility of personalizing your boat while most manufacturers have a limited color selection.