Nothing improves the look of a boat quite like a fresh lick of paint. Whether your boat is wooden, steel or GRP, today’s easily applied boat paints can give your boat’s topsides a new lease of life
Nothing improves the look of a boat quite like a fresh lick of high-quality boat paint. Whether your boat is wooden, steel or GRP, today’s easily applied topcoats can give your boat’s topsides a new lease of life.
But it’s not quite as simple as slapping a coat of enamel over any surface. To get the best results from your boat paint, you need to put in the hours with sanding, priming, filling and fairing.
The good news is that the best boat paints available today are easier than ever to apply, and are formulated to give an excellent finish for the DIY applicator.
A roller and a brush are all you need for a good result, and with practice your boat will look hugely improved. Pay attention to the instructions and above all to the recommendations on weather, temperature and surface preparation and you’ll be well on your way to an excellent paint finish.
There are, broadly speaking, two distinct types of boat paint you might like to consider – one- and two-pack. Let’s take a closer look.
Best one-pack boat paint
This type of boat paint is relatively inexpensive, available in a wide range of colours, and easy to apply. Most will dry through solvent evaporation, and will be easy for the DIY boat owner to apply with either a brush or a roller: or sometimes using both and the ‘roll and tip’ method.
Reasons to buy
- Easier to apply than two-pack boat paint
- Cheaper than two-pack paint
Reasons to avoid
- Softer and less durable than two-pack paint
International Toplac boat paint
This is the classic one-pot boat paint. It’s got a good reputation for easy of application and longevity and is easy to apply. Available in a wide range of colours, it’s claimed to last longer than conventional one-part enamels, while its Silicone alkyd technology gives high-gloss and lustrous colour. 2-3 coats are recommended, with Pre-Kote undercoat recommended to prepare the surface.
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International Super Gloss HS boat paint
International have been making strides to make their topcoats easier to apply by amateurs, and Super Gloss HS is their latest one-pack boat paint that claims to not need brushing out – you can just roll it on. Available in a limited selection of colours, it is nonetheless easy to apply and claims to offer excellent gloss in 1-2 coats when applied by brush or roller. Like Toplac, it can be applied over Pre-Kote undercoat.
Hempel’s Brilliant Gloss boat paint
Hempel’s Brilliant Gloss is an alkyd topcoat that can be rolled and brushed on. It’s recommended to paint on top of the company’s Primer Undercoat, and, like Toplac, 2-3 coats are recommended. Application is said to be easy and the end result should be resistant to pollutants and the marine environment.
Jotun Yachting EasyGloss boat paint
Another one-pack alykd topcoat, Jotun’s easygloss is designed for application by brush and roller. It should be applied over the company’s EasyPrimer and is designed for easy DIY application. Two coats are recommended, and this boat paint will dry to a high gloss finish, especially when the correct undercoats are used.
Teamac Marine Gloss boat paint
Teamac is a long-established paint manufacturer from the North-East of the UK and while their boat paints aren’t as well known as the big brands, they come well reviewed and are well priced compared to the alternatives. Their single-pack marine gloss is available in over 50 colours, can be applied by brush or roller and should be applied over Teamac Marine Undercoat.
Epifanes Yacht Enamel boat paint
Available in 46 colours, Epifanes’ Yacht Enamel claims excellent flowing properties on application and can be applied by brush or roller. 3 coats are recommended for optimum durability when applied by brush, and 4 when applied by roller. Epifanes undercoat is recommended.
Best two-pack boat paint
If you’re looking for the best combination of finish and durability, then two-pack boat paints are your best bet. Unlike single-pack paints, they rely on two components being added together and cure with a chemical reaction, so are much more hardwearing than one-pack paint.
They are significantly more expensive (around twice the price) and this, combined with the need to mix only as much as you will need, can lead many people to think they are more complicated to apply. That needn’t be the case – application is no harder than with one-pack – but prior planning is needed. You also need to be aware of the substrate – if it’s previously been painted with one pack, then you’ll need a barrier coat underneath as the solvents in the two-pack paint will eat the boat paint underneath.
Reasons to buy
- Much more durable and hard-wearing than one pack
- Better finish than one pack
Reasons to avoid
- More expensive than one pack
- Need to be aware of the substrate
International Perfection boat paint
International’s Perfection is a 2-pack polyurethane which has been long used to good effect by DIY painters to get their boats looking like they’ve been painted by a pro. 14 colours are available, and 2-3 coats are recommended, to be applied by brush or roller – or a combination of the two. Recommended undercoat is Perfection Undercoat, which is available in white or grey depending on the colour you’ll be painting on top.
Hempel Polygloss boat paint
Designed for brush or roller application, Hempel Polygloss is a high gloss enamel that is claimed to protect against abrasion and degradation. This boat paint has a limited number of colours available (white, black and blue), but should give good results.
Epifanes poly-urethane yacht coating
Dutch manufacturer Epifanes has long been popular with wooden boat owners for the quality of their varnishes, but their boat paints come highly recommended by those in the trade, which is always a good sign. Their poly-urethane yacht coating is well priced and is available in a wide range of colours.