For those that own an inflatable pontoon boat the question often arises about suitable protection for the bottom of the boat. Just how much maintenance does an inflatable need, and should you be applying paint to the bottom for increased longevity?
The fact is, bottom or anti-fouling paint application is an important part of the annual maintenance routine. It helps prevent harmful bacteria and aquatic bound organisms from eating away at the hull, or impeding performance just by unwanted build up.
Does the same apply for inflatable pontoons? The answer is maybe!
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How to apply bottom paint to inflatable pontoons
Now we have determined whether you need to protect the bottom of your boat, we can go ahead and look at how it is applied.
There are two options for application:
- spray paint
- paint roller and brush
The benefits of spraying the paint on is that it is easier to create an even layer throughout the base of the boat.
Rollers and brush application has a tendency to create an irregular thickness of application due to the amount of paint on the roller or brush.
However, before you even get to the application stage there is some important prep work to be done.
1. Sanding the vessel
The bottom of the boat has to be sanded down in order for you to paint it.
Sand until you reach the primer or surface of the inflatable material. You job is to remove the factory paint job from the vessel.
2. Thoroughly clean the bottom
You do not want any access paint particles or sandpaper residue (or any other dirt) from being on the bottom before you paint
First wipe down the surface with a damp cloth, (a pressure washer will also do the trick if you have one).
Then apply a layer of dewaxing solvent over the base of the bottom. This will help ensure that the surface of the boat is now free of dirt, grease, paint and grit.
3. Apply 5 layers of Primer
Using a roller apply five coats. Make sure you pay close attention the application instructions for the specific product you are using. Consistency has to be correct, and you also need to wait the specified time between layers.
4. Applying the Bottom Paint
Finally, we are ready to apply the protective bottom paint. This should be done while the primer is still slightly sticky to touch, (although the product instructions will you inform you of how long you need to wait before applying the paint).
Using your roller or sprayer, apply the paint as consistently as you can. The video below will help demonstrate the best method of applying the paint by hand.
And if in doubt, you could always ask at the local boatyard and see if a professional can do it for you instead. However, we have confidence that after this short guide you will have everything you need to complete the job yourself.