The Best Paints for Boat Trailer for 2021

Nicholas Swartz
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Before stepping on your trailer and rowing away, you want your boat to look its best. From identifying the best boat trailer paint to choosing the perfect brand, you need to have the right information.

Painting your rV is one of my favorite weekend chores. It sounds basic, but it can be a lot of fun. It’s great to kick up one leg and just dive in, slopping on paint just for the sake of how fun it is, even though I could be doing the dishes….

I bought a new RV in April of 2017. I wanted to paint my new trailer before I attached my boat, but I had concerns; namely with the paint on my trailer being cruddy and not adhering well. So, I did what I always do when I’m not sure about something…I searched online.

NameCategoryProduct
Rust-Oleum, BlackBest OverallRust-Oleum, Black
Rust-Oleum 7792504 Protective Enamel Paint Stops RustBudget PickRust-Oleum 7792504 Protective Enamel Paint Stops Rust
POR-15 45404 Rust Preventive Coating Semi-Gloss BlackUpgrade PickPOR-15 45404 Rust Preventive Coating Semi-Gloss Black

1. Rust-Oleum, Black

Our rating: 9 / 10

Rust-Oleum, Black

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Pros:

  • Works great on fiberglass
  • Excellent coverage rate
  • Doesn’t need a primer

The Rust-Oleum® Marine Topside® provides great protection for fiberglass hulls, as well as steel and aluminum. It comes in a 1-quart paint can and is a water-based paint of the non-revolving variety.

Its formulation includes two corrosion inhibitors, a wetting agent, and a drying agent. This product also boasts a UV protectant that resists fading caused by the sun’s intense UV rays.

We’ve found that the Rust-Oleum® Marine Topside® paint goes on incredibly smooth. This is thanks to its advanced low-VOC formula and quick-dri technology. A single coat gives off a glossy shine, which makes boat owners happy.

2. Rust-Oleum 7792504 Protective Enamel Paint Stops Rust

Our rating: 9 / 10

Rust-Oleum 7792504 Protective Enamel Paint Stops Rust

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Pros:

  • Great water resistant paint
  • High quality and long-lasting
  • Competitive price
  • Anti-rust protection power
  • Easy application
  • Good durability
  • Provides superior protection against rust
  • Coverage: 1 gallon
  • Product dimensions: 13.5 x 13.5 x 27 inches ; 10.6 pounds
  • Manufacturer recommended age: 6 years and over

The Rust-Oleum 7792504 Marine Enamel Spray Paint is a classic hobby paint from Rust-Oleum, a manufacturer that specializes in DIY house and garden paint products.

The spray paint provides superior protection of your metal surface against rust. Its formula is thick and strong. It does a fantastic job coating any surface with hard enamel that resists scratches, scuff marks and chips. The paint is also easy to apply, which is why we included it on our list of top picks for boat trailer paint.

3. POR-15 45404 Rust Preventive Coating Semi-Gloss Black

Our rating: 9 / 10

POR-15 45404 Rust Preventive Coating Semi-Gloss Black

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Pros:

  • Great for cars, trucks, and RVs
  • Adds more value to your vehicle
  • Easy to use
  • Covers up to 8-10 square feet per quart

Cons:

  • Coating can be difficult to apply
  • Application takes multiple coats

The POR-15 Semi-Gloss Black prevents rust in all types of metals. It prevents rust in many different metals such as the commonly rusting steel. This is a water-based epoxy paint that is extremely durable.

This product goes on easily and smoothly. Once it’s on it seals the surface to keep all moisture out. The surface will also be ultra-smooth with an attractive gloss finish.

This coating is also both water and chemical resistant making it great for a huge variety of applications. This product doesn’t emit any harmful chemicals, so it’s great for a huge variety of applications.

4. Corroseal Water-Based Rust Converter Metal Primer

Our rating: 8 / 10

Corroseal Water-Based Rust Converter Metal Primer

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Set up a free account at the same time which is rather easy nevertheless, a little overwhelming to have to find the right color out of hundreds.

Prepare the surface first using a primer like this one which will be seen through takes months not weeks and certainly will protect metal better than paint alone.

Two coats of the primer together with sanding in between will make for sure and cover up blemishes.

5. POR-15 45904 Top Coat Chassis Black Paint

Our rating: 8 / 10

POR-15 45904 Top Coat Chassis Black Paint

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Pros:

  • Dries fast
  • Apply well and spray smoothly
  • Easy to apply using a brush or spray
  • Rust inhibiting

Cons:

  • Poor coverage
  • Poor sheen
  • Breaks down easily
  • The rust inhibitor is not much of an inhibitor

Finishing products designed for car chassis, engines, rubber, fiberglass and other automobiles surfaces and parts are often highly effective, but it’s definitely the POR-15 Professional Rust Preventive Coating (PPRC) that shines above the rest as one of the best rust proofing and under-coating products. Anybody can use it without any special training.

It’s a two-part product that’s UV resistant, protects against rust, and doesn’t belong to dangerous VOCs.

POR-15 provides an excellent finish and a long lasting system for regular cars.

6. TotalBoat Aluminum Boat Paint

Our rating: 8 / 10

TotalBoat Aluminum Boat Paint

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Pros:

  • Provides excellent coverage in a single coat
  • Easy to use
  • The paint is extremely durable
  • Has a broad range of applications

TotalBoat Aluminum Boat Paint has excellent coverage abilities and is very resilient to environmental conditions like UV rays, salt water, and even marine growth. It requires only a single coat for application, and is easy to work with.

While this boat paint is waterproof and will not chip off when applied to anodized aluminum surfaces, it is possible for it to chip off with rough use. This is easily avoidable, however, by applying another thin coat of TotalBoat boat paint on the rough areas for added durability. As well as to fill in any gaps the surface might have experienced through age or misuse. All said and done, the end result of using TotalBoat Aluminum Boat Paint on an aluminum boat is a tough, glossy boat surface that will last you years.

TotalBoat works well for protecting other types of aluminum surfaces too. It will provide a good amount of protection to maintenance-free aluminum coatings. For corrosive environments and moderate weather conditions, this boat paint will as well. It can last for years without chipping or peeling when applied to aluminum boat bellies, centers, and transoms.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best paint to use on a boat trailer?

For your new boat trailer, you’re going to want to stick with a heavy grade of paint like a marine wet paint.

The good news is that there are a ton of great brands out there. I’ve listed a few of my favorites below.

Finding a marine grade paint that will be well suited to your new trailer can be tricky as the variety of brands and their differences are numerous. The main difference lies in the type of paint used, their brand of enamel, and a very slight variation in their blend of pigments.

The effect all of these small differences has on the finished product can be immense and will have a large impact on how well your boat trailer will hold up over time.

How do you paint a rusty boat trailer?

Any decent trailer will have a layer of spray polyurethane coat to protect it. You generally don’t need to go more than a few inches below this layer of paint unless something has been completely corroded through.

The majority of rust should be removed with a wire brush.

If you’re using an epoxy primer with a higher solids content such as the aforementioned Sikkens, you will need to sand the surface more than the lower solids content one. You should sand both with 100 to 120 grit sandpaper.

What kind of paint do you use on a metal trailer?

It's best to use an epoxy primer or epoxy polyester filament primer for your metal trailer. Don't forget to sand lightly first to get a good surface on the metal. If you use a brush, make sure you use a high-quality one. Paint by brush is not really that great but for small areas and touch-ups it can work.

Should I paint galvanized boat trailer?

If you don’t want to use galvanized trailer, either because you don’t like the look or, more likely, because you don’t like the price, you can always paint your trailer. There are two ways to go on that decision: paint your trailer now or wait for years until it rusts, then paint it then.

I’ve done both, and they are equally tricky.

If you decide to paint or repaint your trail now, you will have a lot better idea of the color you want, and you won’t have to worry about matching the original paint. One thing you have to watch out for here is overspraying while painting.

Conclusion

What makes a great paint for boat trailers? You want something that offers excellent durability, guards against UV damage, is a breeze to apply and remove, can be customized for your preference, and does not cost a lot.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Rust-Oleum, BlackBest OverallRust-Oleum, Black
Rust-Oleum 7792504 Protective Enamel Paint Stops RustBudget PickRust-Oleum 7792504 Protective Enamel Paint Stops Rust
POR-15 45404 Rust Preventive Coating Semi-Gloss BlackUpgrade PickPOR-15 45404 Rust Preventive Coating Semi-Gloss Black