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.