While it is usually best to take your boat to a professional to treat and paint your hull, you can do it yourself as long as you follow the directions carefully.
As well as aluminum boat paint, you will also need to purchase grease and wax remover, vinyl wash primer and epoxy primer. If you apply your aluminum paint directly to your hull without the other ingredients, the paint will run and chip off the first time that you place it in the water. This is due to the fact that the paint has nothing to attach to.
Before you begin, you should make sure that you have a well-ventilated area to work in. You should also read all the labels on the chemicals that you will be using as well as the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). These sheets will tell you the hazards associated with these chemicals as well as the safest methods for handling them. Also, you need to ask questions as you pick up your supplies to ensure that all the brands that you have purchased can be used safely together.
To prepare your aluminum boat for painting, you must first strip the old paint off of it and sand it completely. You should then totally clean the hull with soap and water to remove any particles and dust that have remained from the sanding process. The boat should be left to sit for several hours so that the hull is totally dry. Once it has dried out, you can use enamel or lacquer thinner to wipe the hull down again to make sure that it is completely clean. You are now ready to apply the conversion coat to your aluminum boat.
You should use a spray gun to apply your conversion coat. To make sure that your spray gun works properly, make sure that you use the proper air compressor that is recommended for the model of air sprayer that you have. The conversion coat is applied by spraying the vinyl wash primer over the entire hull. The coat does not have to be thick as long as you make sure that the entire area is covered. Any area that is not covered will have nothing for the primer to stick to. You should allow this coat to dry thoroughly as well before you move on to the next step.
Once your conversion coat is dry, you are now ready to apply your epoxy primer. You will want to apply two coats of this primer to help to conceal any scratches that have not been covered already. Again, you should allow your boat to sit for a few hours to ensure that this coat is totally dry before you proceed. You can now fine sand your last coat and wipe it off completely to eliminate any remaining dust particles. You are now ready to apply your paint.
When purchasing the aluminum boat paint, you will need to ask the dealer which paint is safe to use with aluminum. Certain metal-based paints, such as copper, can create an electrical current when combined with aluminum regardless if there is an electrical source present. Other metal-based paints would be a better choice. Your dealer should be able to supply you with a list of these suitable products.
Once you have chosen the best aluminum boat paint available, you spray it across the hull of your boat, making sure to entirely cover the surface. You should allow this last coat to totally dry before placing it in the water. You now have a brand new paint job on your aluminum boat that will look good for years to come.