How to Prepare Your Boat Before Applying Fiberglass Boat Paint

When you first buy a fiberglass boat you think that the maintenance will be basic, but nothing is ever quite as it seems. Sooner or later every owner will be investigating a fiberglass boat paint.

When your boat first starts to dull you try to wax and polish it, initially this will work. However, as time passes you will need to do this more and more often, until it becomes unfeasible to continue. This is when you need to think about a paint job.

A boat paint job is not something which you should leap into without some research. Initially you need to understand a bit about the issues you are likely to encounter when applying fiberglass boat paint.

The first thing to understand is that boats are made from many different parts. If you want to achieve a high quality paint job you will need to remove all of these. Everywhere there is a join between two surfaces there is the opportunity for the paint to form a bridge between them, with a small amount of air caught under it. This may look fine when the job is first completed, but this will always be a weak point. These areas will be the first to bubble and crack. So it is important to make sure that all windows, doors etc are removed before any paint is applied.

Where you have two pieces of fiberglass meeting you should also take these apart. Firstly because of the possible paint bridge described above, but also because these will be held together with stainless steel screws and these need to be removed and refitted if you are to get a good final finish.

Next you will need to remove all the wax which you spent so many hours applying. When a fiberglass boat is made it is covered with a gel coat. It is this gel coat which holds the colour. The gel coat is slightly porous and over the years when you have been waxing your boat you have been blocking this porous surface and creating a smooth one. Fiberglass boat paint will adhere best to a porous surface, so you will need to sand down the whole of the fiberglass.

Your boat will now be ready for painting. The paint should be applied in a sealed paint booth. This is to achieve the best results and also because of the toxicity of the paint. There will be some areas on your boat which will be hard to spray. For these you should discuss with you painter about a brush application. Brush application does leave a few lines, but an experienced painter will be able to keep these to a minimum, which will look and last better than an uneven spray in these areas.