How to Paint a Fiberglass Boat Hull

Written by robert preston
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How to Paint a Fiberglass Boat Hull
Wear and tear from time spent on the water can necessitate a new paint job for your boat's hull. (Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images)

A small chip or crack in your boat's hull can quickly cause your boat's entire paint job to be compromised, as water can get in-between the paint and your boat's fibreglass hull, causing it to bubble and crack. Adding a fresh paint job to your boat will give it a like-new sheen, making it more eye-pleasing to the passersby, whether you're docked and relaxing or travelling at high speed.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Screwdriver
  • Socket wrench
  • Power sander
  • Putty knife
  • Fibreglass epoxy
  • Primer
  • Paint brush
  • Boat paint

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  1. 1

    Remove any external decoration or trim from your boat's hull -- such as detachable hand rails. Consider that placing masking around objects will leave tiny gaps between the paint and the masked areas, which, even if not visible to the naked eye, can allow water in; this will ultimately damage the paint.

  2. 2

    Clean the boat to remove any water scum or waxes that may have accumulated on the boat's hull.

  3. 3

    Scrape the hull and sand off any paint from the previous paint job.

  4. 4

    Smooth down any raised areas on the hull of the boat with coarse sand paper.

  5. 5

    Fill in any cracks or dents in the hull with fibreglass epoxy -- any dents or raised areas will be highlighted by a shiny new gloss paint.

  6. 6

    Sand the surface of the boat over all areas that you will be painting -- sanding creates a textured surface for the primer and paint to better adhere to.

  7. 7

    Mask off any objects in the painted area that you were unable to remove, as well as the interior of the boat, to prevent the paint from dripping onto the seats.

  8. 8

    Prime the boat by applying a coat of primer to all surfaces that will be painted.

  9. 9

    Apply layers of gloss paint until the paint has the desired, uniform appearance.

  10. 10

    Reattach any removed parts after the paint has dried.

Tips and warnings

  • Never paint the boat on a humid day. Humidity below 65-percent is required for a successful application of paint. Ideal temperatures should be in the region of warm but not hot, with temperatures in the 70s Fahrenheit providing the best results.
  • Always wear protective gear when applying new paint or fibreglass. Goggles and gloves protect your eyes and hands from the chemicals, while a respirator and mask ensure that you do not inhale toxins.

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