How Much Does It Cost To Bottom Paint A Boat? (2020 Estimates)

Are you wondering how much it costs to bottom paint a boat?

You’ve come to the right place!

In this ProPaintCorner.com guide, you’ll learn:

  • The typical cost of DIY painting a bottom
  • How to save money when bottom painting a boat
  • How much it usually costs to hire a professional vs do it yourself for bottom painting a boat
  • The estimated cost of labor and supplies to bottom paint a boat

And much more!

How Much Does It Cost To Bottom Paint A Boat? (2020 Estimates)

So, if you want to learn how much you should plan on spending to get your boat painted, then keep reading for all our tips and insights below!

How Much Does It Cost To Bottom Paint A Boat?

Hey boaters! Planning to haul out your sailboat of the boatyard? 

That's the perfect time to paint the bottom. Before you start washing off the slime and sanding off blistering, read some paint application tips from our professionals.

Average Cost To Bottom Paint A Boat If You Do It Yourself?

Let's say we decide to use a single-stage poly-urethane paint on your project, and after it dries a gel coat or 'hot coat' to give it a nice layer of shine and protection. 

The average cost of paint a boat yourself ranges anywhere from $300-$2000 depending on the quality of the paint and the size of the boat.

The paint quality for the bottom might cost a bit more than the topside because of the quality that is necessary to withstand saltwater and the other elements.

Average Cost To Bottom Paint A Boat If You Hire a Professional Company? 

Professional boat painters charge by the linear foot, so if you have a 17-foot boat, you will be priced accordingly. 

You'll be paying anywhere from $1000-$3000+ for a professional paint job on a boat.

Read More >> How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Boat?

Want To Just Skip All This Research And Hire A Decent Professional For Your Paint Job?

Click here to check out our pro painter search tool where we instantly send you free quotes from trusted (and thoroughly vetted) painters in your local area.

Process Takes About 30 Seconds

How To Estimate The Cost To Bottom Paint A Boat?

Estimating DIY Cost

You'll have to pull out a tape measure and get a rough estimate of the total square footage of your boat.

Three measurements will help you get a decent idea: the length, width, and height(measure along the curves to get a more accurate measurement for height)

You'll need prep materials

Aside from purchasing the paint, you'll need some prep materials like:

  • masking tape
  • paint trays/paintbrush 
  • sandpaper
  • spray gun
  • respirator

Estimating Professional Cost

Professionals will give you an estimate on your boat based on what type of boat, and the linear square footage. 

For example, if your boat is 18-feet long, the painters will know how much it will cost to paint the boat.

Boat owners can expect to pay anywhere from $1000-$3000+ for a professional paint job on the bottom side of their boat.

Quality over quantity when painting your boat is a wise choice, so we recommend going with a quality option that has a good reputation in the past. 

Did you know: Anti-fouling paint prevents the growth of algae and other sea life, but it only works as intended when it's touched up every year!

Cost To Paint Per Square Foot?

DIY Cost Per Square Foot

We measured our boat, and it had ~200 square feet of the painting surface.

For repainting, we'll apply ~1 coat of primer, 2 coats of antifouling paint, and an additional Gelcoat for a thorough bottom job. 

This two-part(1/2 gallon total) primer covers 200 square feet, so it's the perfect primer for our project at a price of ~$100.

We'll apply an epoxy primer first to ensure our new paint adheres well.

If we used this paint that costs $190 per gallon, and each gallon covers ~500 square feet, that means we will be able to get a solid two coats of antifouling paint.

Then, we apply a gel coat over the top like this that provides a shiny protective coating. 

Gel coat coverage depends on the thickness, and with this specific product, we're going to go for a 1/16" coating, which means we'll need 8 gallons for the job. That's ~$250 for the gel coat on our 200 square foot boat.

$100/primer + $190/antifouling paint + $250/gelcoat

That puts us at a cost of $540/paint for a complete paint job on a ~17-foot boat.

Body Shop Cost Per Square Foot

Get ready for the boat painting shop to charge you by the linear foot. 

You can easily get price estimates from multiple painters simply by telling them the type of the boat and the length it feet(or meters).

Read More >> How Long Should You Let Primer Dry Before Painting?

Want To Just Skip All This Research And Hire A Decent Professional For Your Paint Job?

Click here to check out our pro painter search tool where we instantly send you free quotes from trusted (and thoroughly vetted) painters in your local area.

Process Takes About 30 Seconds

Estimated Cost of Paint For Bottom Painting A Boat?

If you have any doubts about what paint to use on your boat, ask our page or another pro.

Technically there are a few different types of paint you can use when painting the bottom of your boat, and you should use the recommended product for your specific model.

Note: When painting a re-coat, you will want to paint with a primer in between the old and new coats to ensure paint adhesion.

What type of paint do you need?

  • Ablative Paint

Ablative bottom paints or 'sloughing bottom paints' are designed to wear off slowly to prevent harmful arthropods like barnacles from destroying the hull.

  • Polyurethane

1-part polyurethane paints are another hard bottom paint that is commonly used to paint boats.

  • Epoxy Primer

2-part epoxies sealers work great for making repairs to the fiberglass because they dry hard as a rock. 

  • Barrier Coat

The barrier coat is generally epoxy-based and is what seals the fiberglass off from water. You'll want something like a gel coat after you apply the barrier coat to complete the paint job to perfection, but be sure the two paints are compatible with each other beforehand.

Applying a barrier coat first is a must if your boat is made of fiberglass, however,1 you'll only have to worry about that if you are building a brand new boat or repairing fiberglass.

  • Ablative Paint

Ablative bottom paints or 'sloughing bottom paints' are designed to wear off slowly to prevent harmful arthropods like barnacles from destroying the hull.

  • Antifouling Paint

Antifouling paints are typical marine-grade paints that are designed to go on the outer-most layer of the boat. Interlux is a recommendable antifouling paint.

  • Gel Coat

Gelcoats are thermosetting polymers that are used to cover the outermost layer of a fiberglass boat. You can think of the gel coat as the

Estimated Cost of Labor For Painting A Boat?

Bottom painting a boat is relatively cheap if you do it yourself. 

You might spend anywhere from 10-40 hours painting your boat, and you'll be paying a professional anywhere from $50-$200 per labor hour when hiring out the work.

Let's break down the anatomy of a typical boat paint job to understand. After the fiberglass has dried, you'll want to apply these paint layers:

 epoxy primer/barrier coat + basecoat + gel coat/clear coat

You'll want at least two coats of each stage for a successful paint job, and after the paint is on, it will help to further protect the paint by applying either wax or a ceramic coating.

Again, this is specific to the construction of your boat--you should be 100% sure about what you are doing before applying a coat of paint to your boat bottom. 

Read More >> How Do You Get Paint/Primer Off Your Hands?

Want To Just Skip All This Research And Hire A Decent Professional For Your Paint Job?

Click here to check out our pro painter search tool where we instantly send you free quotes from trusted (and thoroughly vetted) painters in your local area.

Process Takes About 30 Seconds

How To Save Money When Bottom Painting A Boat?

Do It Yourself

Doing it yourself in today's world is easier than ever. 

We encourage painters to perform the work themselves and don't forget to check out our recommended equipment for the job.

Extract Info From The Internet

Is it your first time painting a boat? Don't worry, the internet will help keep you from making mistakes.

We bet you will end up doing a pretty good DIY job if you watch a few Youtube videos to study the correct process, and don't forget to purchase supplies cheap on Amazon.

Read The Paint Label

All paints are different, and you can avoid costly mistakes by reading the label completely for advice on application.

Meet Your Pro Paint Corner Author

Ryan Nichols

Ryan Nichols

I first painted professionally in my late teens. I have painted everything from long military base walls to spraying cedar wood siding on cabins in the mountains of Utah. I am also an automotive technician with plenty of auto body and paint experience. In my spare time, I even enjoy artistic oil painting.

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Got Paint Questions? Search For In-Depth Answers Below!

Ryan Nichols

Ryan Nichols

I first painted professionally in my late teens. I have painted everything from long military base walls to spraying cedar wood siding on cabins in the mountains of Utah. I am also an automotive technician with plenty of auto body and paint experience. In my spare time, I even enjoy artistic oil painting.

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