I know, I was supposed to all my boat repairs in the WINTER.
I have a small (15 ft) aluminum boat that I am considering painting. I know that getting paint to stick to bare aluminum is quite a challenge, so I'm here looking for the experience of those who have gone before me. I've actually painted quite a bit, but almost all fiberglass work, so this is a different animal. I've used either self etching or epoxy (I think it was self etching) primer on aluminum before, when I worked for an airline as an A&P. As I recall, we just brushed it on, not caring about the appearance (it was hidden from view), and we were using it primarily as a corrosion inhibitor. What I used a lot more than that was Alumaprep and Alodine as a corrosion inhibitor, but this did not lend itself well to paint adherence, as I recall.
The boat is currently painted with a good coat of blue paint that is adhering well, surprisingly very well, in fact. I believe there is already a layer of primer, either etching or epoxy, under the blue paint. I know this because, where the boat rides on the trailer bunks, the paint is wore through to bare metal-a problem that will continue to exist in any event. In those areas, I can see a trace of yellow at the edge of the blue paint, and it looks to be the same color as the stuff we used to paint on the planes.
My overall goal is to cover the boat, at least from the waterline up to the gunwales in that 3M adhesive wrap, probably in Advantage Max4 pattern. I need to paint the interior of the boat (currently a primer gray color) in some sort of tan.
As I see it, I have a couple of routes here. Which do you guys think is best, or does anyone have a better suggestion?
1.) Strip the entire boat with paint stripper down to bare metal. Sand with 220 grit. Apply some version of primer (etching or epoxy). Sand again with 400 grit (or not). Apply adhesive camo wrap over primer. Paint hull and interior with some sort of acrylic or polyurethane paint. Lots of work and lots of cost.
2.) Sand the entire boat with 220 grit. Apply the camo wrap over the blue paint. Use plain old primer on the hull and interior. Then paint hull and interior. Less work, more painting and priming.
3.) Wash and clean the boat real good, stick the camp wrap right on the current blue paint. Leave the interior gray. (I'm sure ducks flying overhead won't mind.) Leave the hull blue. (I'm sure the fish swimming underneath won't mind.) Done. Less work. Less cost. If the camo wrap sticks to the paint (the dealers I've spoke with all say it will) then the desired effect is achieved...sort of...mostly.
I'd prefer option 1, but I don't think I can afford all of the materials. Option 2 isn't much cheaper. Option 3, to me, feels like a half-you know what job, but if it will work, it will work.