Tag Archives: topside boat paint

The Different Types of Boat Paint

In this article, we will briefly describe some of the different types of boat paint that can be used to repair, restore, protect, and make your boat looks its best.

Topside boat paint is a type of paint you apply above the waterline of a boat. This can include the sides of the hull, deck, as well as interior. Marine topside paints usually consist of one-part polyurethane, two-part polyurethane, and alkyd marine enamel. There are also buffable, two-part acrylic urethanes. Due to the sun’s rays, your boat is vulnerable to UV damage so coating your upper hull and deck with good topside paint can go a long way to protecting your boat.

Blue Water Marine Topside Paints are superior in quality, higher in value and typically, priced better than store brands


Aluminum boat paint can be used for many purposes including to camouflage, decorate, refurbish, or restore and touch up aluminum boat surfaces. Paint that is safe for aluminum and can be applied without a primer and can be used below or above the waterline. If you don’t take care of your aluminum boat, it will eventually start to show its age. One way to keep your aluminum boat looking new is to touch up the paint when it starts to fade or chip. Touching up the paint on your aluminum boat is a relatively simple process.

Aluma Hawk is a high-solids, quick drying corrosion inhibiting coating designed for use on aluminum. It requires no primer and can be applied below or above the waterline with no antifouling characteristics; it also contains dual purpose phenolic resin which makes it possible to use as both primer (for metals) AND topcoat if needed!

Aluma Hawk Paint
Aluma Hawk is a fast drying, high-solids, corrosion-inhibiting coating designed for use on aluminum with no need for a primer.

Duralux Paint is available in a variety of colors to satisfy the most discriminating boat owner’s eye, Duralux offers a complete line of products including enamels and spar varnish. Duralux aluminum boat paint is a solid choice for those who want great protection for their aluminum boat.

Duralux Aluminum Boat Green
Duralux Aluminum Boat Green


Fiberglass coatings usually consist of gelcoat, gelcoat putties, resins, restoration solutions, repair kits, and tools/materials. Gel coats are often used to touch up or repair a boat’s finish. They have a much shorter shelf life and can be a lot more difficult to apply than paint so the manufacturer’s instructions must be carefully followed to ensure a successful result.

Gelcoat can be used to patch existing gel coat, fiberglass repairs, and new construction and projects.


Wood boat paint typically includes traditional types of oil-based finishes, as two-part paints tend to be less flexible. Because wood can flex and swell, especially along seams, expensive finishes will not last any longer than traditional stain or paint. Teak can be used to prevent fading on a boat’s wood finish. If left untreated, it will often fade which leads to the need to clean or treat the wood so it is not susceptible to rot, mildew, and discoloration.

Teak wood cleaner
Just Teak is a simple solution to clean, brighten & protect your teak.


Bottom boat paint is antifouling paint or coating designed to diminish weeds, barnacles, and other aquatic organisms that can attach below the waterline of a boat and cause damage. Bottom paint includes ablative bottom paint, hard boat bottom paint, aluminum safe bottom paint, primers for bottom paint, and boat bottom paint remover.

Biocop bottom paint uses the newest biocide technology which is safe for the environment.

If you need assistance selecting the right marine boat paint for your next project see Bottom Paint Store’s how-to articles or call our technical support department Monday-Friday from 8:30-5:00 pm EST 888-505-2313.

Topside Boat Paint Options: What are your choices?

There are many different topside boat paints and qualities, generally, the more you spend the better the results. See the below paints for topside/moderate water exposure (1-3 days submerged max).

Blue Water Mega Gloss is affordable and easy to apply and only recommended for above the waterline or moderate use on the bottom. This topside paint works best in very thin coats; see the prep recommendations found on the product page on the “how to use” tab and if the Blue Water Mega Gloss Primer is needed.

Popular color options can also be found with the Interlux Brightside, commonly used for topside gloss surfaces with moderate water exposure. Also, Interdeck white paint with added non-skid is perfect for a white slip-resistant deck.

Duralux offers some camo paints as well as the high gloss marine enamel option. For use on aluminum the Duralux Zinkromate Primer is recommended and for use on wood the Duralux Yacht Primer is recommended for best adhesion.

In flat paint/primer in one option, you’ll find the Aluma Hawk. This is extremely popular for hunting and fishing boats and ease of use in white, blue, sand, aluminum gray, Jon boat green, and black.

The best available boat paint for the topside with the best finish is Awlgrip, most expensive but best results and loved by customers. Some of the Awlgrip paints can be brushed or rolled but others must be sprayed.  Awlgrip marine paint also requires a little more “do it yourself savvy” to apply these paints, and require the correct activators and reducers when applying. The manufacturer of Awlgrip recommends it for use only above the waterline and by professionals.

Your topside boat paint choice depends on your budget, the durability needed and the amount of time you want to spend on your boat paint application.

Most of the paints above do exceptionally well with brush and roller application. Be sure to choose a solvent-resistant, high density closed cell size foam roller. This minimizes the formation of bubbles in the surface that can happen iwth mohair or large cell foam rollers. These paints typically do better with thinner application and more coats may be needed. Using this method is commonly referred to as the roll and tip method and works well when two painters work side by side.

When applying by brush use the largest brush that is practical for your job. Long flexible bristles are best for gloss paints and holding the brush at a 45 degree angle minimizes brush marks with an even spread. A disposible foam brush is favored for small touch-up jobs.

Paint application tips:

  • Clean or change brushes every 20 minutes
  • Stir the can during work
  • Paint on warm, dry mornings as cold weather retards drying and dampness will spoil the gloss.
  • Use a worn brush for the final coat for fewer brush marks.