How to Paint a Kayak

How to Paint a KayakAll kayaks are subject to normal wear and tear from use, and depending on the waters you frequent, your kayak can take an extra beating. Running into rocks and even just dragging your kayak to and from launch sites can eventually wear away the outer surface. When this happens, you have several choices: purchase a new kayak, have someone paint yours for you or do the job yourself. Painting your kayak yourself is a cost-effective solution, and it's not as hard as you think.


Difficulty: Moderate

How to:

Things You’ll Need:
  • Polyurethane marine paint
  • Screwdriver
  • Small plastic bag
  • Bucket
  • Dishwashing detergent
  • Water
  • Several cloths
  • 50-grit sandpaper
  • 100-grit sandpaper
  • Acetone
  • Rubber gloves
  • Painter's tape
  • 2- to 3-inch feather-tip paintbrush
  • Marine wax
Step 1
Purchase a marine polyurethane paint at your local marine store. This type of paint will adhere to the surface of the kayak better than normal paint.
Step 2
Use soapy water to wash the section of the kayak that you will be painting. This will remove any contaminants or dirt on the outer surface and will help the paint stick. Allow the kayak to dry.
Step 3
Remove any hardware from the kayak, in the area you will be painting, including screws, fittings or other parts. Place them in a plastic bag so they do not get lost.
Step 4
Sand uneven surface areas of the kayak with 50-grit sandpaper, to smooth them out. Use 100-grit sandpaper and sand the entire surface to be painted. This will roughen up the area, allowing the paint to stick better. Dust the kayak off with a dry cloth.
Step 5
Dampen a cloth with acetone. Wipe the entire surface of the kayak off to remove any remaining oils or residues. Be sure to wear rubber gloves when you use the acetone, so not to irritate your skin.
Step 6
Tape off the area of the kayak this is not to be painted. Do this only if you will not be painting the entire boat. Use painter's tape and place it between the two areas to divide them.
Step 7
Shake the polyurethane paint well before using. Using a 2- to 3-inch paintbrush with a feather tip, apply the paint evenly to the surface of the kayak.
Step 8
Remove the painter's tape and wipe away paint that has seeped into unwanted areas. Allow the paint to dry for at least 24 hours.
Step 9
Repaint the entire surface with a second coat of paint and allow to dry completely.
Step 10
Reinstall all the hardware.
Step 11
Wash the kayak again with soapy water and allow it to dry. Apply a marine wax to the outer surface of the kayak and buff. This will help protect the new paint job. The kayak is now ready for use.

Tips & Warnings

Paint the kayak in an area that is ventilated well.

Article Written By Joyce Starr

Joyce Starr is a professional writer from Florida and owns a landscaping company and garden center. She has published articles about camping in Florida, lawn care and gardening and writes for a local gardening newsletter. She shares her love and knowledge of the outdoors and nature through her writing.

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