Boats are made out of metal and wood, which can easily corrode and rot. Boat owners need marine paints for wood and metal that prevent water damage. In this article, we’ll explain the most popular marine paints available on the market today.
P.S. We’ve also written an article about marine paints for metal and fiberglass here.
We’ll look specifically at the following types of paints:
- Marine topside paint: Paint for the exterior of a ship
- Marine primers for wood: Primers that prevents corrosion and rot due to moisture and UV exposure
- Marine paint for decks: Paints for wooden decks on a ship or boat
Table of Contents
Marine Topside Paint for Wood
Editor’s note: IPP Magazine may be paid a commission for affiliate links in this article.
Rust-Oleum’s marine topside paint is a popular option among boat owners because it’s one of the most economical options available. Note that this coating only works above the waterline and shouldn’t be used on the hull or any area of the ship below water.
Pros of using Rust-Oleum topside paint
- $16.28/quart – one of the cheapest marine paints for wood
- Works on fiberglass, wood, and metal surfaces
- Excellent UV protection
- 1 to 2 hours to apply and covers 100+ square feet
Cons of using Rust-Oleum topside paint
- Cheap comes at a cost – customers noted the paint is rubbery and peels easy
- Customers frequently commented on the colors being mismatched
TotalBoat Wet Edge Marine Topside Paint
There’s no question about it: TotalBoat Wet Edge is a step up from Rust-Oleum paint in terms of quality – but it’s also more than twice as expensive. Much like the topside marine coating above, this paint can be used for a variety of surfaces, meaning it’s versatile.
Pros of using TotalBoat Wet Edge
- One-part formula makes easy application with brush, roller, and even sprayer
- Durable, high-gloss formula
- 670 5-star ratings on Amazon, makes it one of the highest review products
- Huge selection of 21 colors
Cons of using TotalBoat Wet Edge
- Price – twice as expensive as cheaper options
- 16 hour wait time between coats – make sure you have time!
US Marine Products Topside Paint
US Marine Products Topside Paint is an off-brand product for the boat owners looking to save as much money as possible. At $56/gallon, it’s the cheapest marine boat coating for wood we could find.
It’s hard to say whether this product is cheaper because it’s off-brand, or because of lower quality – it only has 3 reviews on Amazon.
Still, we can’t ignore the low price for the budget sensitive boat lover.
Pros of US Marine Products topside paint
- Used in commercial applications
- UV resistant to prevent fading
- Abrasion resistant
Cons of US Marine Products topside paint
- Little known brand
- Reviews are sparse (but positive)
Marine Primers for Wood
Rust-Oleum Marine Wood and Fiberglass Primer
Rust-Oleum has a primer that’s worth checking out for it’s middle-of-the-road cost and easy application. This marine coating works on both wood and fiberglass (above the waterline).
Pros of Rust-Oleum marine wood and fiberglass primer
- $23.00/quart makes it a relatively affordable paint
- One-hour dry time
- Durable and rot resistant
- Can be applied as a maintenance coating to previously painted surfaces
Cons of Rust-Oleum marine wood and fiberglass primer
- Some customers noted shipping issues (e.g. primer was separated when it arrived, product was hard when it arrived, etc.)
- Short pot life
You’ll notice a trend – TotalBoat is the premium brand, while Rust-Oleum is the budget option.
TotalBoat Marine Topside Paint Primer costs $32.99/quart, another $11/quart compared to Rust-Oleum’s marine wood primer, which can add up quickly if you have a large project.
Still, it’s hard to ignore the glowing reviews of TotalBoat products.
Pros of TotalBoat Marine Primers
- One-part solution means easy application by brush, roller, or even sprayer
- Fast dry times
- High solids means more paint than solvent
- Move coverage – 250 – 300 square feet per gallon
Cons of TotalBoat Marine Primers
- Premium cost
- Customers complained the instructions were not clear
Marine Paint for Wooden Decks
One of the most important features of a boat deck coating is including an anti-slip, non-skid binder into the mixture. Slipping and sliding on your boat is a recipe for disaster.
We’ll look at the most popular deck coatings that already have anti-slip traction built into their formulations.
TotalBoat TotalTread (what a mouthful!) is an anti-slip paint boat paint for wood, fiberglass, aluminum, and metal applications. It’s a mid-tier option worth considering.
It costs $89.99 per galleon.
TotalBoat TotalTread Pros
- Durable, rubberized texture is great for decks
- UV resistant – won’t fade
- Lots of applications: decks, docks, cabin, hatch, steps, etc
- One-part, easy application
- Multiple uses besides wood makes it quite versatile
TotalBoat TotalTread Cons
- Long cure / dry times
- Color match can be off with certain colors
TUFF Coat is a value brand that specializes in coatings for boat decks and docks. It’s well-reviewed and known for its water-based, non-hazardous paints. This paint costs $79.99 and averages a 4.6-stars on Amazon.
TUFF Coating UT-100 pros
- One-part component means no mixing
- UV and chemical resistant
- Made in the U.S.
TUFF Coating UT-100 cons
- Shipping concerns – cans arrived dented and leaking
- Colors don’t always match specs