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Drawbacks to Houseboat Hull Materials - aluminum, fiberglass, and steel boats

by Larry
(Chattanooga, TN.)

Houseboat Hulls- sample of aluminum boat construction

Houseboat Hulls- sample of aluminum boat construction

I'm looking to buy a used houseboat and am looking for some in-depth information on the various hull materials.

What are the "drawbacks or downsides" to buying a steel hulled used houseboat verses aluminum or fiberglass? I see that there are big price variations depending on the hull construction material.

Any help would be greatly appreciated, Larry.

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Reply - Answer

Well Larry, congratulations on your decision to buy a used houseboat. As you probably have seen, prices of used houseboats can vary greatly depending on the construction material.

If you were to look at the current market, you will see that aluminum construction is becoming the norm for houseboat materials. Second place has to go to fiberglass hulls. In third place is steel houseboats, follow by wood which is basically extinct.

As to the drawbacks or disadvantages of each houseboat hull material, this article on our site will really give you all the information to make an educated buying decision.

If I was going to purchase a used houseboat, I would be looking at buying an aluminum or fiberglass boat.

A steel houseboat would not really be on my radar unless I had the time, money, an acceptable marine survey, an insurance policy, and lastly a marina willing to accept the boat.

Lastly, hopefully some of our readers and visitors will share and post comments about the various houseboat material experiences and tips.

Feel free to use the "Click here to post comments." link found near the bottom of this page.

Thanks again for sharing, IAN from all-about-houseboats

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Comments for Drawbacks to Houseboat Hull Materials - aluminum, fiberglass, and steel boats

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Steel Hull
by: Dan and Vickie S

For my steel hull I have been lifting up the floor boards in the bilge, and wire brushing any rust I see then painting the interior with corroseal. It stops oxidation and really slows down or stops rust.

Dan & Vickie

Protecting houseboats from use in saltwater
by: Anonymous

I am thinking about buying an aluminum houseboat to be used in salt water. What do I have to do to protect it from the saltwater? I get different stories about how to treat the hull.

Any thoughts?
Thanks, Roger

Helpful information on buying a houseboat
by: Old Houseboater

It was submitted a couple of years ago

Newbie Houseboat Warning - money saving tips on buying houseboats for sale

Boat Hulls. Which one?
by: Ray

I have had two houseboats, one steel and one aluminum. I liked them both. I still have the aluminum. The only comment I can make about fiberglass is it has wood support members and they will rot.

The key to the metal hulls is firstly make sure the hull is sound and without deep electrolysis pitting. Secondly, with this passing the test, have the hull bead or corncob blasted to bright metal and only top shelf bottom paints applied.

The best primer you can get is a must. Do not skimp on these materials. You can save a lot of money by DIY. I painted the hull of a 40' River Queen over 20 years ago and it still looks decent.

Thirdly, if you chose a metal hull, (my preference) after you have cleaned and painted the bottom, make sure to use ample zinc blocks to ward off the evil spirits of stray electrical currents in the water.

Good Luck, Ray

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