Boats can endure so much wear and tear from being out on the water so much and can end up being pretty tired-looking when it’s docked in the harbor.
Sometimes a good jetwash and some cleaning products will have it looking better in no time, but other times it needs a little more TLC and generally a lick of paint to get it back to its original glory.
If you’ve ever wondered how much it’ll cost to paint your boat, then you’re in just the right place as we’ll be covering everything you need to know whether you’re considering doing it all yourself or hiring a professional company to come and do the job for you.
Painting a boat can cost anything as little as a few hundred dollars to over $5000 in some circumstances, however, all of these costs will depend on the size of your boat, what paint you’re going to be using and whether you’re choosing to paint it yourself or hiring someone to do it.
If you’re looking for some money-saving tips to help you stay on a budget when painting your boat then keep reading on.
Why Should You Paint Your Boat?
Painting your boat will give it a new lease of life and will help it to look brand new again. If you plan on selling your boat in the future, then proper maintenance and painting your boat annually will contribute to increasing the value so you’ll still secure a good deal.
If your boat is normally stored on land then you won’t need to worry about painting it as regularly as you would if it was constantly kept on the water and getting some serious action. You may be able to get away with some waxing and regularly rinsing and wiping away build-up to maintain the quality and surface of your boat.
Using specialized paint can help protect your boat from various kinds of water damage and can also prevent water plants from sticking to the bottom of your boat.
What Sort of Paint Do You Use For a Boat?
There are various types of paints that you can use for different areas of your boat and you may have to buy a few if you’re looking to give your boat a complete makeover.
The type of paint that you’ll need will depend on what type of boat you have and what materials it’s made of, so you’ll want to make sure you know what kind of paint is best for your boat before committing to buying gallons of it.
The most common types of paints used for boats are as follows:
- Gel Coat Paints for the external layer of boats
- Anti-fouling Paint
- Oil-based Paints for the top side of the boats
- Tar paints for the bottom painting of a boat
You’ll be able to buy many of these paints at home improvement stores, some will be labeled as boat or marine paint whereas others will have unspecialized names as they can be used for various uses.
You may find painting your boat a lot more enjoyable than painting your interior walls in your home. Boats will allow you to bring out your creative side, whether that’s by using vibrant colors or taking the time to stencil a cool design before you paint so your boat can look proud when it’s sailing and sporting some jazzy patterns.
If you’ve got an older boat or one that is in fairly bad condition then you may have to hire someone (if you don’t know how to do it yourself) to do fiberglass repair to the damaged surfaces.
Hiring a professional to do this job can cost you anywhere between $70 to over $100 an hour and the worse condition your boat is in, the longer the job will take. Some professionals will include the cost of materials in the labor price charge but you’ll want to double-check before you get caught out when it’s time to pay.
Now it’s time to discuss how much this is going to cost. Obviously, these figures are estimated and based upon previous experiences and word of mouth. These costs will differ depending on the size of your boat, what company you’re using (if you use one), the paint you want to use, any damage that needs to be prepared beforehand, and then also how much paint you’ll need to use.
Painting Your Boat Yourself
If your boat is looking a little sad and has some very prominent water lines showing, then you can take on the task of painting it yourself and saving yourself some cash.
Now don’t be fooled, this is not an inexpensive job by any means and you may find yourself double-taking your calculations when you find out how much the whole project costs.
You’ll probably have to use different paints for different areas of your boat, like for inside and outside, and the type of paint that you’ll need will also depend on what material your boat is made out of.
If you’ve got a wooden boat, anti-fouling paint will be more than sufficient to spruce up and protect the boat. It’s relatively inexpensive but is very effective at keeping away barnacles and other organisms that are prone to attach onto the bottom of your paint when you’re sailing.
When it comes to boats that are made from materials such as fiberglass, you’ll want to ensure that you’re spending a generous amount of money on high-quality paint to keep everything protected.
The more expensive your boat, then the more high-quality (and more expensive) your paint should be, otherwise, you risk your boat getting damaged and decreasing in condition very quickly which could lead to a significant drop in value.
Painting your own boat will give you free rein of designing and painting it exactly how you’d like, and you’ll also get the satisfaction of being able to look at the finished product when it’s done and thinking ‘I DID THAT!’. However, you’ll need to be prepared to spend a long time painting the boat and if you’ll be doing the job on your driveway, make sure you’ve got fine weather otherwise the rain could wash away your progress.
Before you even attempt to paint your boat, make sure you’ve prepped the boat before and everything is sealed, otherwise, you might end up double backing on a step you’ve already done.
How Much Will It Cost To Hire Someone To Paint Your Boat?
On average, a professional company will charge you anything in the region of $1000 to over $5000 to paint your job, but the cost will mainly depend on the size of your boat and how long the job takes.
Each company will charge a different amount, so you’ll want to browse around or ask those local to you who’d they recommend as you may be able to find cheaper deals.
Typically professional painting companies will charge you by the hour for their services whereas some will calculate the cost of the service based on the linear feet of your boat.
The bigger the boat, the longer it will take to paint and the higher your costs will be. It should normally take a professional painter around 10-40 hours to paint a boat depending on the size of it.
How Much Will Paint Cost For This Project?
To find out how much paint will cost for this boat painting project, you’ll need to measure up your boat to estimate how much paint you’ll need to complete the job.
You’ll need to measure up the length, width, and height of your boat. If your boat height changes throughout the body of the boat, you’ll want to make sure you’re measuring from the highest point down to the bottom.
Measuring your boat will be an essential step when it comes to painting your boat, especially if you’re going to be doing it yourself.
If you’re going to be hiring a company to paint your boat but you will be supplying your own paint, it may be your responsibility to make sure you’ve got enough by accurately measuring the boat. If you’re unsure if you’re measuring it correctly, you can always ask someone from the company to come out and help you so you can get the correct amount of paint.
Let’s just say each side of your boat is 100 square feet and the back of your boat is 50 feet. You’ll have a total of 250 square feet to cover with paint. However, you’ll need to take into consideration that you may need different paints for the bottom of your boat, so you’ll need to measure specific areas so you can get accurate measurements of paint.
Roughly 1 gallon will be enough to cover 250 square feet of surface, however, one coat will not be enough and many people use up to 5 coats for one paint job on their boat.
A high-quality marine paint may cost around $70 per gallon, so if you’ve got to buy 5 gallons to do all your coats on your boat, you could be spending upwards of $350 on paint for your boat.
You’ll also need to buy a primer to paint on your boat before you go in with marine paint and then also use a topcoat or a gloss to finish off the painting process.
You may need to do a couple of coats of each to make sure it works effectively, so as an estimate you could look to be spending around $150 on boat paint primer and gloss finish.
Make sure to take into consideration the cost of supplies for painting your boat, such as any spray paint guns, rollers, paintbrushes, and preparation tools. The preparation tools you may need for this project will be sandpaper or sanding materials, tape, paper, and film, but this may vary depending on what colors or designs you’re going for on your boat.
On average, to get all of these supplies you may incur an extra cost of around $100.
So as a total cost, that will be nearly $600 on paint supplies and preparation tools.
Professional paint companies normally charge you by the linear foot and not square foot of your boat, so let’s say your boat is 50 feet long, then you could be looking at quote costs of around $2,000 or upwards.
So if the quote was $2,000 and your boat is 250 square feet, this could work out at around $8 per square foot of paint which is a fairly good deal.
To make sure you’re getting a fair price for your quote, ask around different companies in your area.
Top Tips for DIY Painting Your Boat
Buy a Spray Paint Gun
Buying an HVLP gun will be one of your best decisions when it comes to tackling your boat painting project as it’ll save you so much time and you can use them again and again when you need to paint the boat sometime in the future.
They’re inexpensive but will save you spending days, maybe even weeks trying to get your paint job on your boat finished. You’ll still want to have some paintbrushes to hand as you’ll be able to reach more restricted areas or touch up any spots you missed when using the paint spray gun.
Do the Preparation
Painting the boat yourself can be a giant task by itself, but not doing the preparation work before tackling the painting will make the job a lot harder.
Make sure to repair any surface damage with fiberglass repair or using body filler to seal any cracks or dents in the boat. This way you’ll achieve a perfectly smooth finish with the marine paint. You don’t want to look at the finished job and regret not covering the imperfections before painting.
Cover Your Work Area
If you’re going to be embarking on this project from a workshop or a driveway in your home, then you’ll want to ensure you’re using protective floor cloths or plastic sheeting to make sure any paint that drips doesn’t stain your floor.
Get Someone to Help You
Painting your boat yourself can take some serious time and energy, especially if you’re lucky enough to own a big boat.
It may end up taking you days or even weeks to get your boat finished ready to get back out on the water so why don’t you ask a family member or a friend to help you paint the boat so you can speed up the process.
Buy Second Hand & Sell on After Using
If you’re trying to do this DIY project on a budget, then you could try and find your painting materials to buy second-hand from places like Facebook Marketplace.
Paint normally has a shelf life of around 2-10 years once opened depending on the ingredients, so if you feel like you won’t be using the paint you bought anytime soon, then you could sell any leftover paint to someone else so you’re not wasting any money.