Category Archives: Aluminum Application

Can Aluma Hawk Paint be used with Tuff Stuff Epoxy Primer?

The direct answer is Yes.

Sea Hawk Tuff Stuff Epoxy Primeraluma-hawk-boat-paint-by-sea-hawk-paints-28288-1000x1078 is an effective water barrier and universal primer. When applied to metal hulled boats it can serve as corrosion protection below the waterline. Therefore many boaters want to have that sort of protection on their Jon boat, and apply Aluma Hawk Boat Paint on top.

When over-coating Tuff Stuff Epoxy Primer it is important to meet the required over coating times in order to achieve the best adhesion because temperature and humidity have a direct impact on dry times. QUICK and EASY RULE: When the coating is dry to the touch, yet still has some tack, it is ready to be over coated. Your thumb will leave a print without lifting any epoxy. This is called hot-coating. However, if the coating is completely cured (or after 24 hours) it needs to be thoroughly sanded with 80 grit sand paper to remove the shine, or you must apply another coat of Tuff Stuff within 6 days. Then you have an additional 24 hour maximum window to overcoat with paint.

Tuff Stuff Marine Epoxy Primer

These two products are great on their own, but they can do so much more when working in conjunction with each other.

How to Apply Awlgrip Topcoat to an Aluminum Hull

Awlgip Marine PaintsFirst Identify the paint that is there. Is it compatible?

If yes – Sand, Primer, Paint

If no – the previous coating needs to be taken down. Sand with 80 grit paper until the coating is gone. Sand blasting is not recommended because it takes away the aluminum itself.

How do you know if previous paint is compatible with Awlgrip? Perform this test:

  1. Need a rag and some Lacquer thinner
  2. Sand the surface with 80 grit sand paper
  3. Apply lacquer thinner to the rag and hold it on the sanded area.
  4. Put a piece of plastic on to to hold the rag so the Lacquer thinner doesn’t evaporate.
  5. Hold rag for 35-45 min.
  6. Remove rag slowly. Is surface bubbling or lifting? If no, scrape surface with the blade of a knife. If the paint comes off with the blade or the paint feels rubbery you have identified an acrylic based paint. Awlgrip may be applied on top of it. If the surface was bubbling or lifting, the paint is not compatible and must be removed.

D6600 CF WashII. Apply Awl-Wash Primer CF (Mix Part A and Part B) within 4 hours of cleaning the surface. This provides excellent adhesion to the aluminum surface. Awl-Wash CF can be overcoated with primers after 1 hour of application. Maximum recoat time without sanding is 6 months.

III. Apply a Primer to the Awl-Wash Primer CF. There are 2 main choices.

  1. 545 Epoxy Primer – Thin, building primer. Usually applied when there is no need to fill scrapes or gouges.
  2. Awlquick – a medium build, primer/surfacer. Applied to a surface that needs to be filled where there are scrapes or gouges. Awlquick Base + Converter.

IV.  Apply a topcoat.

  1. Awlgrip – may be brush rolled or sprayed – usually lasts 7-10 years.
  2. Awlcraft – must be sprayed only – usually lasts 4-6 years.

For more information on Awlgrip vs. Awlcraft, click this link.

Painting an Aluminum Hull with Non Antifouling Paint

When painting a boat used for hunting/fishing, such as a jon boat, typically a flat finish is desired so you’ll want to use one of our camouflage paints. A primer coat is used to help the paint adhere to the aluminum surface and provides an extra layer of protection from corrosion. Or use or Aluma Hawk that is a paint and primer in one.

Duralux Aerosol Camouflage KitWhen using the Camouflage Paint Spray Kit or Duralux Camouflage Paint on bare aluminum apply two coats of Duralux Zinc Chromate after sanding. If using the Aluminum Boat Paint Green or Aluma Hawk (available in Black, Jon Boat Green or Aluminum Grey), these serve as paint and primer in one. For more application details see our ‘how to paint an aluminum jon boat’ article. This should be used when you desire a dull flat finish.

Duralux Marine EnamelIf you desire a gloss finish, look to the Duralux Marine Enamel or Super Marine paints for other options. Duralux High Gloss Marine Enamel is affordable and easy to apply and only recommended for above the waterline or moderate use on the bottom (a day or so in the water, not extended periods). This topside paint works best in very thin coats; see the prep recommendations found on product page on “how to use” tab. For aluminum application apply one coat of Duralux Zinc Chromate M739, Top with two full coats of Duralux Marine Enamel. The enamel works well thinned with M650 by Duralux.

RevolutionYou also have a choice from Super Marine Paints that can be used above or below the waterline and come in a few different styles.  The Revolution  (great option if rolling/brushing)  or Mono Epoxy (durable and looks best sprayed) are the easiest to use and usually customers choose the Super Marine Etching Primer (SM 664D) for the primer. They are also available in your choice of sheen (satin or gloss). Click on “view more” for the paint and use the specification/how to use tabs for detailed instructions, coverage and preparation on any of the product pages. The “work horse” is the Two Part Epoxy, most durable of the Super Marine choices with the top of the line selection is Ironside. The previous two paints are available in flat and semi-gloss as well as satin and gloss. For aluminum application see details on each product page but it is a two-step primer process:

Aluminum, galvanized and Stainless: Use SM-117 Pre-Wash Primer in combination with any other Super Marine primer such as SM-664D Etching Primer.

You have many options when painting aluminum. Your use of boat, budget, and amount of time you want to spend on the project determine the right paint for you. For more information see our ‘topside boat paint options’.

Aluminum Hull Repairs and More

jonboatHow to Fix a Leaking Seam or Rivet on Aluminum Boat

As aluminum boats age they show various signs of wear and tear. One of these signs may be a leaking seam or rivet. Over time, rivets can stretched and loosen, causing a gap in the hull integrity and this results in a leak. The solution to this problem is fairly simple and may be fixed at home using just a few tools and know-how. So, how should this problem be addressed?

Locate the Leaking Rivet or Seam

The first step is to find the exact seam or rivet that needs repair. To do this, put the boat in water and observe carefully. You could also put water inside the boat and see where it allows the water to escape from.

Assess the Damage

The second step is assessing the extent of damage to the rivet or seam. If the seam is too wide to be filled or caulked, it will need additional rivets in combination with a sealant product. If the damage is easily visible a sealant or caulk will be sufficient.

Choose a Sealant or Epoxy Product

There are hundreds of products out there that claim to fix leaks and seal cracks. How do you know which to choose? The Bottom Paint Store has done most of the hard work for you and can confidently recommend 3 products that really work.

Hawk Epoxy KitHawk Epoxy is an excellent product to repair aluminum hulls. We recommend getting one of the Hawk Epoxy Kits that will contain everything you need for filling in the aluminum. Hawk Epoxy is a versatile product that can be used for many other application too. Everyone should own this kit!

The second is BoatLife’s LifeCalk Sealant. This sealant may take a long time to cure (1 to 3 days), but it results in a waterproof, rubber seal that will adhere to almost anything. It can also be applied underwater for emergency repairs!

The third option is G/Flex 650 Epoxy made by West System. This liquid epoxy is more flexible and versatile than regular epoxies and will adhere to almost any surface. The bond that it creates can absorb shock, vibration, expansions and contractions. It will fully cure in 24 hours. Also, West System has created a detailed and comprehensive set of instructions for a wide variety of applications. They can be found at this link and below:

G Flex Epoxy by West SystemFix leaking seams and rivets

Patch holes in aluminum hulls

Repair pitted or pin holed surfaces

If your hull is bare aluminum you can cover the entire surface with a high build epoxy primer to help seal and protect it such as Tuff Stuff. For application details see our link for application of a marine epoxy.

Now that your leaky rivets and seams have been repaired, you are ready to paint! Check out this How To Article for more information on how to paint your aluminum vessel.


Applying Antifouling Paint to a Pontoon Boat

If you do not have any coatings at all on the bottom of the boat, we suggest to sand the pontoons with 80 grit and then apply Tuff Stuff High Build Epoxy. It is a water tight barrier coat designed for use under the waterline and with aluminum hulls. Tuff Stuff will insure that you protect the aluminum from corrosion, and also aid in the adhesion of the antifouling paint. Use 2 coats. You can apply the 2nd coat within a couple of hours of the first coat. See detailed instructions at How to Apply Marine Epoxy Primer”.

TUFFSTUFFnewAfter you apply Tuff Stuff marine epoxy primer on hull, be sure to use an aluminum safe antifouling paint. The bottom paint needs to be applied the same day as the Tuff Stuff marine epoxy primer. Antifoulants in general are designed to repel hard growth. For soft growth you should have an additional biocide that help with the algae. Smart Solution is an excellent antifoul for aluminum pontoons used in salt water as well as Mission Bay for fresh or salt water.

WARNING: You should only use an aluminum safe antifouling like Mission Bay or Smart Solution. Using any other type of copper based antifouling could severely damage your pontoons and will cause corrosion, pitting and eventually holes in your pontoon boat.

If you do not need antifouling paint and are in fresh water, we suggest using one of the products located in the “How to Paint an Aluminum Jon Boat article.


How to Video:

How to Paint an Aluminum Jon Boat

Paint a Jon Boat

Aluminum Jon Boat

Jon Boats are flat bottom boats manufactured for easy maneuverability in shallow water. The most used material for construction is aluminum, making them lightweight and durable for fishing and hunting. A camouflage paint job is a good idea for hunters using a Jon boat to help blend into the surrounding land and water; choose your favorite color of marine enamel that come in over 15 colors and a higher gloss than camouflage paint. The easiest and most popular paint for your boat is the aluminum boat paint green or Aluma Hawk. These are both a paint/primer in one that can be applied to most surfaces with little preparation needed.

Make sure you have a location for painting your jon boat that is free from blowing dust and debris (a garage is ideal).

Surface Prep: The surface must be dry and free of grease, wax, dirt, or other foreign matter. Scrape off all loose paint and dull any gloss area with a light sanding or power brushing. Remove all dust with a cloth dampened with paint thinner and allow to dry, you can use wax and grease remover or acetone. Sand the existing jon boat paint surface or bare aluminum with 80-100 grit sandpaper.

Use a paint scraper or sander to remove any peeling paint or areas that are likely to cause peeling on your new paint. Don’t worry about scratches because these will make it easier for the new paint to adhere by etching the surface. Use a soft bristled brush to make sure you remove all debris left from sanding.

Painting a jon boat:

Duralux Aluminum Boat Green

A primer coat is used to help the paint adhere to the jon boat aluminum surface and provides an extra layer of protection from corrosion. When using the Camouflage Paint Spray Kit, Duralux Camouflage Paint, or Marine Enamel on bare aluminum apply two coats of Duralux Zinc Chromate after sanding. If using the Aluminum Boat Paint Green or Aluma Hawk, these can be your primer and paint.

Aluma Hawk PaintIf you choose to use a simple one-step system on your bare aluminum jon boat, then Duralux Aluminum Boat Paint Green or Aluma Hawk (available in Black, Jon Boat Green or Aluminum Grey) are an excellent choice since is can be used as a primer/paint in one over bare aluminum. You should prep the surface as stated above, and then wipe down the bare aluminum jon boat with white vinegar prior to coating. This acts like an acid and will “etch” the surface for better adhesion.  You will need to apply two coats of of Aluminum Boat Paint Green. (only available in dark green)

To make the inside have a non-skid surface use the Duralux Non-Skid with the Duralux products and the Non-Skid by Sea Hawk with the Alumi Hawk. See the ‘how to apply non-skid paints’ for more details.

Painting an Aluminum Outdrive

Outdrives are difficult to keep free of growth. The main reason for this is that traditional copper-based bottom paints cannot be used on an aluminum outdrive. Doing so will result in serious corrosion from the aluminum reacting to the copper in the paint.

Outdrive paint kitWhen painting an aluminum outdrive you must use a copper-free bottom paint. There are a couple of different brands out there. Interlux Trilux 33 (The most popular) , and Sea Hawk Smart Solution (The best). Trilux is the most popular and easy to find at your local West Marine. However, the results are not as impressive as Sea Hawk Smart Solution   (available in pint size black as Outdrive Paint) that uses the newest metal free technology. You will get the best possible results with Smart Solution, and is becoming more and more popluar as the best solution for painting an outdrive. It is also the best priced of the two, but is yet not available in an aerosol spray. You can get a quart and brush it on, or you can spray it with a conventional spray gun.

The Outdrive Paint shows best  results when paired with a primer such as Tuff Stuff or Bottom Paint Primer by Sea Hawk.  For spray options the Barnacle Blocker can be used alone or over coated with Smart Solution for improved protection. You can find our Outdrive Paint Kit for increased savings!

How to Apply Bottom Paint to an Aluminum Boat

Tuff Stuff Marine Epoxy Primer

Tuff Stuff Marine Epoxy Primer

If you do not have any coatings at all on the bottom of the boat, we suggest to sand the hull with 80 grit and then apply Tuff Stuff High Build Epoxy. It is a water tight barrier coat designed for use under the waterline and with aluminum hulls. Use 2 coats. You can apply the 2nd coat within a couple of hours of the first coat. (up to 6 days)

After you apply Tuff Stuff marine epoxy primer on hull, be sure to use an aluminum safe bottom paint. The bottom paint needs to be applied the same day as the Tuff Stuff marine epoxy primer. Bottom paints in general are designed to repel hard growth. Smart Solution is an excellent bottom paint for aluminum hulls when in salt water. We recommend Mission Bay for fresh water.  I have listed links below to the products described above. These can be brushed, sprayed, or rolled.  If you already have coating(s) on the hull, pressure wash, sand with 80 grit, and then apply Smart Solution.


How to Video: Aluminum Boat Bottom Paint Application

Smart Solution Bottom Paint by Sea Hawk Paint 
Mission Bay Copper Free Paint