If you’re hauling your boat out to the boatyard, whether it’s for maintenance or not, you might want to take the chance to bottom paint it.
Whether you’re bottom painting for the first time or giving it a fresh coat of paint, it’s something that needs to be done every so often, to ensure the boat is being properly maintained.
Why bottom paint the boat? Well, it’s not like anyone is really going to see the paint underneath, except for the fish under the sea, of course.
But that coating of paint does a great deal to prevent the growth of organisms that will become attached to the hull, and then decrease the overall performance of the boat. So basically, you need that coating of bottom paint.
Since you have to bottom paint your boat, you’re going to have to see how much it costs, and budget appropriately so you can get it done along with the rest of boat maintenance.
Whether you’re hiring a professional or doing it yourself, let’s break down all the costs involved in the bottom painting of the boat, on average.
Average costs to bottom paint a boat: DIY and professional
The cost of bottom painting your boat can of course vary, as it can depend on many different factors, including the type of paint and the size of the boat.
Average prices can range from $300 to over $3000, so there’s quite a big difference depending on how big the boat is, and the quality of the paint that you choose.
It seems rather expensive for a paint job, but the paint used in boats needs to be able to withstand saltwater and other elements, so it’s rather pricey!
Not to mention that painting the bottom of a boat is a little more complicated than painting something like a wall in a room.
If you want to get a good price, you can research different professional companies and see which one offers the best deal. Or if you want to save some money, you could just pull a DIY and get the job done yourself!
Let’s look at the average costs for both options:
- Hiring a professional company:
Usually, professional companies will have set prices according to the size of the boat, so they will charge you accordingly. Although sometimes, they can have deals or offers in place, so it’s worth doing some research and comparing different options.
On average, hiring a professional company to bottom paint your boat will cost between $1000 and $3000 or more. Again, it depends on the size of the boat.
- Doing it yourself:
Bottom painting your boat in a DIY manner will save you some money, but you need to have the right materials, and you need to be confident in your skills so that you’re sure of being able to do a good job.
You’ll be saving on the labor, but you’ll still have to pay for the paint, so the price will range between $300 and $2000 on average, depending on how much you need.
Estimating the cost to bottom paint a boat:
We now know the average costs of bottom painting a boat, but as we mentioned, the price completely depends on the size of the boat and the paint you’re using, so the estimated cost varies from boat to boat accordingly.
How can you estimate a more accurate cost for your specific boat? Well, let’s take a look, whether you’re hiring a professional, or doing it yourself.
- Estimating the cost with a professional company:
Most commonly, the professional company will provide you with an estimate of the cost, before the job begins. Meaning you have the chance to accept and agree on that price, or reject it and look for another option.
They will provide you with an estimate once you’ve given them the information about your boat, which will include the size in feet length.
They might also provide you with different paint options, but they’ll make you aware of the differences in price between them beforehand.
- Estimating the cost when doing it yourself:
When you’re estimating the cost yourself, it’s not as simple as providing the measurements for the boat, choosing paint, and then getting a quote. Instead, you’re going to have to do the maths yourself, and figure everything out.
So what things are you going to have to take into account, towards the final overall cost? Here is a list of the basics that you need to consider:
- Measure your boat fully, so you know exactly how much paint you will need. You need to measure the length, the width, and the height, so you have the entire bottom of the boat covered.
- Once you know how much paint you need, you have to look for a paint option, look at its price, and calculate what the overall cost will be for paint. This will be the big bulk of your overall cost for the whole job.
- You will need other materials, other than paint, and getting these will factor into the final cost as well, as you will have to buy whatever you don’t have. Items such as a respirator, a spray gun, sandpaper, paintbrushes, and others. Basically, all of the tools needed to perform the job.
- If you’re going to hire a helping hand, so that you’re not doing the entire job by yourself, then you will also have to pay them for their labor, unless you have a friend or family member willing to help for free!
How to estimate the cost of paint for bottom painting a boat:
The paint is the biggest bulk of the cost when it comes to bottom painting your boat, so it’s important that you’re able to estimate its cost as accurately as possible.
We’ve already mentioned that you need to measure your boat, width, length, and height, in order to know how much paint you need, but let’s look at it in more detail.
Once you’ve calculated the square feet of the bottom of your boat, you know how much you need to cover. But how much paint does each square of food require?
Well, if you’re only applying a single coat of paint, you can cover around 25 to 30 square feet with 1 gallon of paint. Likewise, you can cover around 40 square feet with 2 gallons of paint, and around 50 square feet with 3 gallons of paint.
However, it is usually recommended that you apply at least two coatings of paint to the bottom of your boat, to stop it from wearing off too quickly. This means you will need twice the amount of paint.
The average cost for the paint used for bottom painting a boat is usually between $100 and $150 per gallon. So you can see how the job can get pricey pretty fast.
You also then need to consider the use of a primer paint, and of a finishing coat, both of which will further add to the overall cost. But, of course, this is optional and up to you.
Although a lot of the time, it can depend on the paint you’re using, as some will have to be sealed with a gel coat layer in order to be effective.
How to estimate the cost of labor for bottom painting a boat:
Estimating the cost of the labor is done by estimating the amount of hours it will take to complete the job, and then calculating the cost with the price of the labor.
If you’re hiring a professional company, you don’t have to worry about how much you’re paying for the labor itself, because it’s included in the service, and the price is instead calculated based on the size of the boat.
But if you’re doing it yourself, you might want to consider hiring some helping hands to get it done quicker. And if not, it’s still good to know how many hours, roughly, bottom painting your boat will take, so that you’re aware of the time it requires.
Maybe we should have named this section ‘how long does bottom painting a boat take’, but let’s go ahead and figure that out.
Well, the truth is, it can’t really be estimated in an accurate way, because it depends on how fast you’re painting! But on average, most bottom paint jobs for boats take between 10 and 50 hours of time. Let’s break down an average bottom paint job:
Before you start painting, you need to prepare the bottom of the boat. You have to tape off the borders, ensure the boat is well positioned, and ensure the conditions are right.
If you’re able to paint indoors, it shouldn’t be a problem. But when outdoors, the weather can get in the way of the job. Ideally, it should be sunny and warm, so that the paint can dry faster.
This preparation stage might also include sanding down the boat or cleaning up the residue from previous paint jobs, before you apply the new one. It can be quite some time before you can actually start with the painting!
- Primer coat:
The primer coat sets the base upon which you can apply the actual coat of main paint. Usually, it’s recommended that you apply two layers of primer, to ensure there’s enough of it. Once you’re done, you need to wait until it’s dry before proceeding onto the next stage.
The base coat needs to be applied with patience and taking your time. Rushing it risks doing a bad job, and you might not end up giving the boat the protection it needs for a long lifespan.
It is completely recommended that you apply two layers of paint, and you will have to leave the first to dry before starting on the second one, so this might take quite some time. Once you’re done, you need to wait until it’s dry before proceeding onto the next stage.
- Gel coat:
The gel coat is often used to seal the paint in place, and to offer an extra layer of resistance that ensures that the paint is durable, and that the bottom of the boat is well protected.
It is also recommended that you apply two layers, but it’s up to you, and it depends on the paint you’ve used. Once you’re done, you need to wait until it’s dry before proceeding onto the next stage.
- General check-over:
The general check-over is basically ensuring that you’ve covered the entire surface correctly, and that everything is in order. You then need to wait the specific amount of time, stated in the paint you’ve used, before the boat can return to water.
The amount of time it takes for you to paint the bottom of the boat depends on your own speed. However, there is a specific amount of time that you need to allow for while each coating of paint is left to dry.
This amount of time can vary depending on the type of paint used, and can range between 10 minutes to overnight.
Let’s sum this up, how much does it cost to bottom paint a boat? On average, it can cost anywhere between $300 and $3000.
The main factors that determine the cost of the job are the size of the boat (which determines the amount of paint needed), and the type of paint that you will use (which determines the price of the paint needed).
There are other factors, such as the price for labor (which varies depending on if you’re hiring a professional company, or if you’re doing it yourself), the tools needed for the job (if you have them already it will be cheaper, but if not you will have to buy them), and any other costs that might arise during the process.