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  1. #1
    Petty Officer 1st Class halas's Avatar
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    Default Basic rustoleum oil based paint for aluminum boat?

    I just bought a 1978 14' mirrocraft for a few hundred dollars. Soon as the weather allows it I want to paint the hull inside and out on the budget.


    I have all the sanders, and pressure washer and spraying and rolling equipment since I was a house painter for 30 years. Infact I spray painted hundreds of aluminum sided houses back in the days.



    I just wanted to know if anyone on this forum had long term positive outcome using basic rustoleum oil based paint on their aluminum boat (without the expensive special primers for the bare aluminum). Thanks for your help...

  2. #2
    Honorary Moderator Emeritus tashasdaddy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Basic rustoleum oil based paint for aluminum boat?

    i have used it, for years, on aluminum and fiberglass with excellant results. spray can and brush/roll on. oil base semi gloss. usually 2 coats.
    FLORIDA GATORS
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  3. #3
    Cadet kbkindle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Basic rustoleum oil based paint for aluminum boat?

    i also have used it but i did do two think's different i would wash down whatever i was going to paint with vinager. they also make a wash for this process but vinager works just as good ia'm not 100% sure you have to but they say to. also use a special primer it also come in a spray can and its light green in color cant remember the name but i bet there is someone on sit that does

  4. #4

    Default Re: Basic rustoleum oil based paint for aluminum boat?

    for best results prime first with Zinc Oxide paint. It will greatly extend the life of the paint and protect the aluminum fron oxidation..

  5. #5
    Vice Admiral 5150abf's Avatar
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    Default Re: Basic rustoleum oil based paint for aluminum boat?

    You cna get etching primer in a spray can at an auto parts store and it isn't that much.

    You can paint it without it but it won't last nearly as long, in the long run it is probably cheaper to do it right once than to redo it over and over.

    With the etching primer you only need a very thin coat, it isn't like paint, just enough to cover the raw metal, you should be able to do a 14 boat with 2 cans.
    GO IRISH!!!!

  6. #6
    Petty Officer 1st Class halas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Basic rustoleum oil based paint for aluminum boat?

    "You can paint it without it but it won't last nearly as long, in the long run it is probably cheaper to do it right once than to redo it over and over."

    When you say "won't last as long" you mean it will peel off or it will fade off faster.

    I am only concerned with chipping or peeling because I know it could create lots of work for later.

  7. #7
    Vice Admiral 5150abf's Avatar
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    Default Re: Basic rustoleum oil based paint for aluminum boat?

    Yes it will peel off, it is really hard to get anything to stick to aluminum without using the right primer.

    The etching primer is actually acid based and eats into the aluminum to give the paint a good base, as I said you only need a light coat, after that you can put anything you want on it but you need that base to start.
    GO IRISH!!!!

  8. #8
    Lieutenant Mark_VTfisherman's Avatar
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    Post Re: Basic rustoleum oil based paint for aluminum boat?

    Quote Originally Posted by kbkindle View Post
    .....i would wash down whatever i was going to paint with vinager. they also make a wash for this process but vinager works just as good ia'm not 100% sure you have to but they say to. also use a special primer it also come in a spray can and its light green in color cant remember the name but i bet there is someone on sit that does
    1] scuff sand entire boat with a sanding sponge to ensure it is smooth
    2] scrub boat with soap and water and rinse well
    3] wipe down THOROUGHLY with white vinegar and let dry
    4] paint Rustoleum (thinned out some) with a good natural bristle brush - two coats. Let dry well and then wet sand LIGHTLY with 400 wet and dry paper. Tack off dust etc with a clean cotton rag and paint thinner, then brush on third and final coat with very clean brush

    This should get you by cheaply, which sounds like your goal. The other primers mentioned will make a better job, but good prep and the vinegar will do almost the same trick.

    Happy boating!
    Clean feet are happy feet; same for boats.
    1964 MFG Niagara Deluxe

  9. #9
    Vice Admiral 5150abf's Avatar
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    Default Re: Basic rustoleum oil based paint for aluminum boat?

    Sorry Mark but I have to diagree, the vinigar will get the surface really clean but it won't do anything to get the paint to stick to the aluminum which is the problem with painting it.

    If you want paint to stick to aluminum you absolutely have to use etching primer, it is different than grey or red primer whose main purpose is to fill scrathces and imperfections, etching primer actually bonds to the aluminum to give you a base for painting but won't fill anything as it is too thin.

    2 cans would be less than $15, a deal as opposed to stripping and repainting in a year or 2.
    GO IRISH!!!!

  10. #10
    Moderator Bondo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Basic rustoleum oil based paint for aluminum boat?

    Ayuh,..

    Halas,... Is there any remnants of the original paint,..??

    If so,...
    I'd go with a light scuffing, spot prime any Bare spots with a rattlecan of Rustoleum Aluminum primer,+ Shoot it...

    Or,... If the original finish is Gone,...
    This'll work,....
    1] scuff sand entire boat with a sanding sponge to ensure it is smooth
    2] scrub boat with soap and water and rinse well
    3] wipe down THOROUGHLY with white vinegar and let dry
    4] paint Rustoleum (thinned out some) with a good natural bristle brush - two coats. Let dry well and then wet sand LIGHTLY with 400 wet and dry paper. Tack off dust etc with a clean cotton rag and paint thinner, then brush on third and final coat with very clean brush
    Any Grease is Better,..... Than No Grease at All.......

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Basic rustoleum oil based paint for aluminum boat?

    The correct process would be to sand any bare metal spots to white metal and immediately coat with wash coat of zinc chromate primer. A wash coat means a light coat not a heavy thick coat.
    Within 4 hours, apply your first primer coat, you don't need to over do it just coat it. When that coat is dry to a point where it will leave a finger print if you touch it but your finger dosent get paint on it then apply your second coat. You can now wait up to 30 days to apply your finish coat.

    Once the second coat of primer is dry, you can scuff sand that with 220 grit paper and then begin applying your finish coats. Allow your finish coats to dry to a scuffable hardness so you can scuff sand it. You can apply as many finish coats as you feel necessary if you scuff sand between coats. Do not scuff sand the final coat. If there are enough coats, you can color sand with 400 and 600 grit wet or dry to produce a brilliant and smooth finish.

  12. #12
    Lieutenant Mark_VTfisherman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Basic rustoleum oil based paint for aluminum boat?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark_VTfisherman View Post
    1] scuff sand entire boat with a sanding sponge to ensure it is smooth
    2] scrub boat with soap and water and rinse well
    3] wipe down THOROUGHLY with white vinegar and let dry
    4] paint Rustoleum (thinned out some) with a good natural bristle brush - two coats. Let dry well and then wet sand LIGHTLY with 400 wet and dry paper. Tack off dust etc with a clean cotton rag and paint thinner, then brush on third and final coat with very clean brush. This should get you by cheaply, which sounds like your goal. The other primers mentioned may make a better job, but good prep and the vinegar will do the same trick.
    I am not a chemist, so I hope no chemisty PHDs shoot me . However, the following is basically (acidically?!) correct to explain this. While some commercial products may offer other reasons they are used for certain applications, vinegar will get you by cheaply.

    Vinegar works because it is acidic. Aluminum and galvanized steel does not "corrode" because their rust does not flake (chelate??) away but instead is a "stable" oxidized surface. That is why aluminum and galvanized metal peel when not treated with an etching product- the oxide (sometimes combined with an over-smooth surface) does not allow the paint to bond to the base metal.

    The etching products (or vinegar) create a surface which will not peel because when it is used, the paint is then being applied to a clean "toothy" surface instead of the somewhat loose oxide surface.

    There are always better ways, but if all you want to do is buy a $15 can of Rustoleum, you will be ok using vinegar instead of a commercial product to prep the surface.

    Show us before-and-after pictures when you are done!
    Clean feet are happy feet; same for boats.
    1964 MFG Niagara Deluxe

  13. #13

    Default Re: Basic rustoleum oil based paint for aluminum boat?

    Quote Originally Posted by sschefer View Post
    The correct process would be to sand any bare metal spots to white metal and immediately coat with wash coat of zinc chromate primer. A wash coat means a light coat not a heavy thick coat.
    Within 4 hours, apply your first primer coat, you don't need to over do it just coat it. When that coat is dry to a point where it will leave a finger print if you touch it but your finger dosent get paint on it then apply your second coat. You can now wait up to 30 days to apply your finish coat.

    Once the second coat of primer is dry, you can scuff sand that with 220 grit paper and then begin applying your finish coats. Allow your finish coats to dry to a scuffable hardness so you can scuff sand it. You can apply as many finish coats as you feel necessary if you scuff sand between coats. Do not scuff sand the final coat. If there are enough coats, you can color sand with 400 and 600 grit wet or dry to produce a brilliant and smooth finish.
    great advise +1

  14. #14
    Petty Officer 1st Class halas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Basic rustoleum oil based paint for aluminum boat?

    Thanks for all the info, I really appreciate it.
    I just wanted to hear from people who painted aluminum boats in the past with good/bad long term results.
    TASHASDADDY, Mark VTfisherman and Bond-O gave the green light on not to use primer and just apply two coats of rustoleum after cleaning/vinegaring.

    I was hoping to hear from more people who actually had good or bad experience with just the straight rustoleum oil based paint on the hull without the special primers.
    I guess a few of us want to gamble an important step as painting the boat.

    The only experience I have is painting aluminum houses (with latex paint).
    In the 30 years I only saw a couple of peeling aluminum siding.
    Normally it would start chalking after 12 years or so exposed to sun, mildew and the Cleveland winters, almost never peeling.

    I would not use latex house paint on a boat but we always had good results using the oil rustoleum on some aluminum awnings and gutters .

    Had mostly bad luck painting galvanized gutters using any paint (peeled off in a few years).

    BOND-O, to answer your question the boat have pretty solid coat of original paint on both sides, faded but solid.

    I will post pictures in March when the days are warm enough to paint the boat. I will give good or bad report as time goes on.
    Halas

  15. #15
    Moderator Bondo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Basic rustoleum oil based paint for aluminum boat?

    the boat have pretty solid coat of original paint on both sides, faded but solid.
    Ayuh,... You don't/ won't have adhesion problems,...

    Scuff it, Clean it,+ Shoot it....

    You'll be Pleased with the results....
    Any Grease is Better,..... Than No Grease at All.......

  16. #16

    Default Re: Basic rustoleum oil based paint for aluminum boat?

    I build trade show exhibits alot out of alumn. we etch spray with primer 1st paint just wont stick without.

  17. #17
    Cadet Gopher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Basic rustoleum oil based paint for aluminum boat?

    My experience painting small alumimum parts with alkyd enamel (Rustoleum) includes with sandblasting. This completes cleaning the surface and giving it some tooth.

    Parts I've used zinc chromate primer on, optionally followed with Rustoleum clean-metal primer and top coat have held up fine.

    Parts I've skipped the zinc chromate primer but used clean-metal primer and top coat tend to peel off the aluminum.

    Noticed this year local hardware stores dropped the zinc chromate primer. I did find a substitute that appears to be zinc-rich but labeled as a primer for "all metals". (not just an as-is coating for galvanized steel) I tried it out of desparation. The paint on these parts is holding up, but haven't really had them around long enough to be a "real" test.

    I did find a store (afterwards) with classic zinc-chromate but at 3x the old price.

  18. #18
    Commander Rickairmedic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Basic rustoleum oil based paint for aluminum boat?

    You can get zinc cromate at any napa the item number is 7222 and they hide it in the back its not out on the shelf with the rest of the rattle cans . I have 2 & 1/2 cans into my 16' Starcraft so far and still have the topside and interior to paint so will most likely go through a total of at least 5 cans maybe 6 .



    Rick

  19. #19
    Petty Officer 2nd Class Swivelhart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Basic rustoleum oil based paint for aluminum boat?

    I had a 16ft Ouchita Aluminum. I agree with Bondo above as I had a layer of the original paint still there even though it was rough. No knowing much at the time I cleaned all the nasty stuff off with a brillo pad lightly going over the whole boat...let it dry...flipped it over and roller painted the whole thing with dark blue regular rustoleum. Only one coat because I was poor and yes it needed another and three years later it hasnt chipped rubbed off or anything. I didnt even wash it with soap or vinigar.

    You will be just fine as you have already found out by now. I put a reply for others seeking info.

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