How To Paint A Houseboat

A houseboat is often considered an envious asset which most people either can’t afford or don’t live near enough to water to use it. Owning a houseboat is not cheap and even after purchasing one there is still the added expense of its maintenance, which is honestly a task in itself. 

Maintenance includes giving it a fresh coat paint in order to give it a new look as well as to prevent rusting and corrosion as well as other unforeseen damages.

However, unlike regular painting jobs, painting a houseboat requires a little more knowledge and preparation, which is why we have this article for you – in order to know the tricks of the trade of painting your houseboat in such a way that it leaves everyone jealous of your masterpiece.

 So, read on to know more.

How to start when painting your houseboat?

When you think of painting your houseboat, it is necessary that you are absolutely sure of a few things, such as the coating which you are going to be applying as well as preparing your houseboat for paint in general.

The type of paint that you use and the proper preparation before painting ever begins is vital to not only make it look good but also to have the paint last for as long as possible.

How do you choose a coating for your houseboat?

If you have a fibreglass roof, then it is obvious that you should not be applying any random coating and in such cases, you’ll have to look at every option at hand. 

For starters, you could consider applying a gel coating. In case that doesn’t work out, there is also the option of using acrylic paint. The thing about gel coating is that unlike other materials, it doesn’t tend to last very long at all. 

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Similarly, if you are thinking of using acrylic paint, keep in mind that it is extremely labor intensive but at the same time it also tends to last considerably longer.

For most people it is worthwhile to spend a little more time and effort up front to have something that will last longer. 

How to paint the roof of your houseboat?

Since you’ve already decided on and prepared the coating, it is time to move onto the painting of your houseboat’s roof. If you have a fibreglass roof, you should consider putting on a primer first. Although it isn’t a necessity, it would do good to your overall finish and will likely make the paint last longer. 

Thus, if you do decide on applying a primer, remember to choose one which is compatible with the paint and surface that you are painting on. After you’ve applied the primer, you’ll have to make use of a 30-grit sandpaper for sanding it, before applying paint.

Make sure that you check out the instructions of the primer regarding the ideal wait period between coats and before painting if you’re looking to get the best results.

Why do you need to paint your houseboat?

The reasons behind painting your houseboat can be many. For starters, it increases the overall value of your houseboat, in case you have plans of selling it in the near future. Besides that, it also helps to give the boat a new and fresh look which is often necessary if your boat has gone through any form of wear and tear. 

Other than this, when you give your houseboat a new coat of paint, it also helps to improve the overall look of the boat and makes it more attractive to the viewer, which in turn makes those onboard happier and more satisfied about taking a ride on the boat.

Another benefit (and the most important) of painting your houseboat is that it will protect it from the elements and keep it from deteriorating as well. If you’ve ever seen a normal house or building that hasn’t been painted in a long time you will easily see the damage that the sun, wind, rain, etc. does to it. 

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Repainting your houseboat regularly keeps it from getting damaged like that. 

When to choose dark colors to paint your houseboat?

Although it is a new trend, it has been quite quick to catch on and that is using dark colors as well as stripes when repainting your houseboat. The reason behind which someone might choose to use dark colors is that it helps to absorb light and heat and when you look to paint large areas using dark colors, you will also end up hiding and painting over damages and distortions.

In case you have a fiberglass boat, its material can be extremely sensitive, especially to heat. Since plastic is known to be thermosetting, having a dark surface will ensure that the dark surface is able to heat up under the sun allowing the plastic ample time to cure itself.

However, this can become dangerous because it often leads to shrinkage that in turn can lead to serious distortions of the surface, which might even lead to permanent long lasting damage to your houseboat. 

There are more serious damages which can occur too, such as those with cored laminates especially foam. So, remember to take necessary precautions when looking to repaint your houseboat and especially when choosing the paint color. 

What preparations are necessary when thinking of painting your houseboat?

Preparation is the primary factor to keep in mind when you plan on painting or repainting your houseboat. If your preparation isn’t right, you’ll end up doing a terrible job which in-turn will make matters worse with regards to the painting of your houseboat.

Not only will it look bad if the preparation isn’t done properly but you will also often have to repaint which will be a giant waste of time and money. 

Thus, when you prepare it is necessary that you keep certains factors in mind. We will cover a few of those factors below. 

  • Know that old gel coats often have a tendency to be porous, which usually happens because it has managed to absorb years of oils and waxes. This is why new paint is unable to adhere to the surface. In such cases, thorough sanding as well as waxing is necessary to ensure that the contamination has been removed completely.
  • You will also want to ensure that you put on a special primer coating that has excellent adhesive properties.
  • It is important to ensure that all surface irregularities are smoothed out and any and every crack and scratch is filled and leveled out.
  • Know that if you don’t remove the surface irregularities, a fresh coat of paint might cause the defects to stand out, which might lead to all of your hard work going to waste! Unless you thoroughly accomplish this, your painting job will not only remain incomplete but will also leave you extremely dissatisfied.
  • Make sure that you review each and every area on your boat, especially those which might require any form of extra care or attention. Any spot which you might miss may be detrimental to the overall painting of the boat.
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Although it is suggested that you hire a professional painter to do the job for you, while you guide him through every detail you’d like to see covered, in case you plan on doing the painting job yourself, it is necessary that you keep every little detail mentioned above in mind.


Painting your houseboat might not be the most fun you have ever had but regular maintenance and upkeep will be far easier and cheaper than having things become brittle or break because you couldn’t be bothered to paint every now and again. 

Not only does painting your houseboat keep it looking good but it protects it from the elements that it is exposed to while sitting on the dock as well as while you are driving it through the water. 

Matthew Robbs

I love the outdoors and especially spending time with my family. Whether on a boat or at the beach, my happy place is near the water.

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