Course How To

Painting my Houseboat.

by Ann
(Kansas City, Missouri)

This is Bob.

This is Bob.

How to go about painting my houseboat? I have a 1967 houseboat at the Lake of the Ozarks. I want to paint it, but not sure what type of paint to buy. Do I have to buy marine paint or will house paint work? I don't have a motor in my boat, so it stays permanently docked. Basically, it's a cabin on the lake.

I'm wanting to paint it red and white like a bobber, since that's all it does! I've decided to name it "Aqua-holic Bob." I wasn't too crazy about the previous name, "Old Farts".

Thanks, Ann.

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Reply - Answer
Well Ann, that's a great question because houseboat painting is a great way to improve and increase the value. I'm also sure this it will generate many comments from our reader's.

We can look at this from two sides of the coin, if I was a Marine Paint manufacturer, you would mostly likely get a technical sales pitch type answer.

Houseboats are exposed to the elements (rain, sun, cold, heat, salt, acid rain etc...) and therefore are subjected to a humid harsh

Houseboats are also made from different materials like fiberglass, steel, aluminum, wood, etc... and each one may require different surface preparation, and a different paint.

If you're just looking to inexpensively protect and improve the appearance of an older houseboat, than you're local Home Building center can probably recommend a great exterior paint.

If you're painting a newer expensive houseboat, than I maybe more inclined to use marine paint that matches and bonds well to the existing paint.

Now before I get blasted from Marine Paint manufacturers, I have painted many houseboats with products like Alwgrip, Interlux, International, Pettit, and 3M Marine paints, and I have had excellent results from all of them.

Now whether a marine paint, or a exterior home paint, which lasts longer, or shines more, that could become a huge technical discussion.

If you're interested in marine paints, I have personally had great results from this marine paint, and it's simple to apply.

Lastly, hopefully some of our readers will share and post comments about their houseboat painting experiences.

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Comments for Painting my Houseboat.

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1980 Kayot Paint Update
by: Dennis

Well, the Kayot has been through 3 summers in the harsh Arizona sun and still looks brand new. Very satisfied with longevity of automotive urethane single stage paint.

Wish I could figure out how to include pictures. See previous post above for details on prep, primer and paint used. Good luck with your projects, lots of work but well worth the effort!

Paint Houseboat
by: Sky

So nice to see so many other houseboatin' ladies. I have my 40 ft Kayot on Mill Bay Okanagan Lake BC Canada. Thanks for all the tips on painting - I'm hoping to do the exterior of my boat this spring so these ideas are super helpful.

Gibson houseboat
by: Jason

I have a 1987 50 ft Gibson houseboat that has blue stripe around the top of it and rub rail down about 8 inches. It is faded and ugly.

What paint do I use? Do I have to prime it first? Do I roll on, spray on, or brush on?

Thank you. Jason

Women Houseboat owners New Trend
by: Anonymous

Hello, I am a 76 yr lady and I bought an old 1969 houseboat and I am a widow of 11yrs.

I am so happy on the boat and basically live on it all summer spring and fall. Our winters are pretty rough, plus Oct 15th the water in the lake is lowered, but really wish I could live on it year round.

I seriously enjoyed Andree's article and of course yours.

Happy boating Ladies

1980 Kayot Paint Job
by: Dennis

I just painted my '80 Kayot 36x12 houseboat this spring (2014). The boat was out of the water on cribbing. It had been painted with latex house paint by a previous owner (big mistake) and the paint had become severely cracked and peeled.

Initially I tried removing the paint with a grinder and sander but quickly realized this process would be impossible by myself. So I hired a local sandblasting company to come out and blast off all the steel railing.

While he was here I also had him blast the steel pontoons. The cabin is made of aluminum siding so the blaster was not able to touch it without damaging the soft metal. So I had to hand-sand/grind the entire cabin.

Once the old paint was removed, I primed and painted using automotive primer and paint. The auto paint was chosen because marine paints such as Interlux are intended for wood or fiberglass only, not metals like steel and aluminum.

Primer used was 5 Star Xtreme 2K DTM Primer/Filler Sealer. Paint used was ADVANTAGE #700 Series 2.8 VOC Acrylic Urethane. To apply the primer and paint, I used a HVLP automotive paint sprayer and compressor purchased from Harbor Freight and it worked surprisingly well.

This project was a LOT of work. Doing it by myself, it took over a month working 5-6 days a week. Another factor/challenge was the weather...often paint sessions were interrupted by wind so I found early mornings worked best.

Fortunately in Arizona, our springtime is dry and chance of rain is almost non-existent. The boat looks 100% better and I get a lot of was HARD work but all the labor/prep was worth it and the new paint job should last for years to come :-)

Tips on painting a houseboat
by: Susie Brown

Hi Ann, thanks for the painting tips. I own a 76 Kayot houseboat that is docked at Lake Mohave, Arizona and plan to paint the exterior later this year.

I painted a Boston Whaler tender a few years using Interlux paint and primer and have had very good results. I plan on using Interlux on my houseboat.

My comment to anyone painting a boat; make sure the surface you are painting is clean, repaired, sanded and primed. It will make your finished product look better and last longer.

Thanks for all of the information on this site.
Sue Brown, Prescott, Arizona

Houseboat cabin by the lake
by: jypseygal

Hi Ann, glad to hear from another lady houseboating on the river. I have a 68 Nautaline houseboat, and it's docked at a state park marina in Chatanooga, Tn.

My boat runs but I have not had it out, and use my houseboat as a cabin in the mountains. I love being at the state park with all the amenities and the security of the park rangers.

I hope you are enjoying your get away as much as I am. Looking forward to talking with you again. syl

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