Our boat trailers bear the brunt of most of the lugging and towing we do when we’re out boating. It’s about time we start showing them some love. What better way to do it than with the best paint for boat trailers?
These kinds of paint can handle both saltwater and freshwater and perform spectacularly in either one. They don’t compromise your health and, as much as possible, your painting skills. There’s no denying their eye-candy factor as well.
More importantly, they help to keep your trailer free from rust and sun damage that would otherwise wear its durability. I can say as much because I’ve enjoyed these perks from most products I’ve used. Below are the ones that stand out to me the most in terms of essential factors like longevity, protection, and overall adhesion.
Table of Contents
- Best Paint For Boat Trailer Reviews
- 1. Rust-Oleum 207006 Marine Topside Paint
- 2. TotalBoat Wet Edge
- 3. Interlux 4359G Polyurethane Paint
- 4. Rust-Oleum 207012 Boat Bottom Paint
- 5. POR-15 45008 Rust Preventive Paint
- 6. Majic Paints 8-0852-2 Camouflage Paint
- 7. Durabak 18 Textured Deck Paint
- 8. POR-15 46604 Top Coat Paint
- 9. Diamond Brite 31150 Oil-Based Enamel Paint
- 10. SlipDoctors DuraGrip Non-Slip Paint
- 11. RTG 512598 Anti-Slip Paint
- 12. FIXALL Skid Grip Anti-Slip Paint
- Factors To Consider When Choosing Paint For Boat Trailer
- What Is The Best Paint For A Boat Trailer
- How Do You Prep Your Boat Trailer For Painting
- How To Paint Aluminum Boat Trailers
- How Do You Care For And Maintain Your Newly Painted Boat Trailer
Best Paint For Boat Trailer Reviews
1. Rust-Oleum 207006 Marine Topside Paint
This is an all-purpose marine paint that I love for its longevity, versatility, and close to complete protection.
I use this for my boats to take care of rust. Once I found out the sweet spot on how to apply it with consistently great results, this easily became my go-to boat paint. The secret to making it last for more than 6 years is to combine it with a good primer as well as doing a good sanding beforehand.
I received first-hand advice from Rust-Oleum that I should wait for an entire day after sanding between coats. I’ve been doing this continually for all my trailers every time I use this product and have enjoyed the long-term rust, UV, and weather protection in all the years I’ve relied on it for my marine painting jobs. It doesn’t hurt that it’s self-leveling, too, as I noticed the even coats it’s able to achieve consistently before long.
It may not be as good as most gel coat products out there, particularly when I’m judging the general thickness of its coats. However, it’s solid overall as a glossy marine trailer paint, especially when applied to boat hulls and trailers. I struggle to name another brand that can stand on par with what this product readily offers relative to its price tag.
2. TotalBoat Wet Edge
This may be a bit tricky to get the hang of if you’re not used to painting. But once you learn how to use it to the fullest, you’ll find it hard to settle for other options.
I use this more often in my trailers than my boats, but it’s just as excellent for the latter. While I did say that it’s tricky, overall, I agree with the brand’s claim that it’s easy to use or to apply to be exact. That being said, it’s not exactly easy to manage because of the relative thickness of the entire thing even with a good thinner, plus the fact that it can’t handle hot temperatures well.
I once made the mistake of painting during the summer. The result was that it didn’t flow out properly. Even so, this was more of a mistake on my part so I won’t bother listing it as a con. With the right weather, though, it sticks superbly.
Speaking of application, I often use 180 grit paper and a tack cloth to prepare the surface prior to application. I then opt to spray it after I’ve mixed it with xylene, making sure that I keep the coat thin. I often get a smooth, even finish this way, and I’m assuming the product is just as much responsible for that since it makes that claim.
3. Interlux 4359G Polyurethane Paint
Brightside brings out the best in polyurethane paints. This shrugs off dirt and mud all while turning heads with its attractive gloss and durable coatings.
This may not work as well as most coats that can be applied on parts below the waterline, but its polyurethane benefits stand out better when applied on trailers. No amount of dirt, moisture, or mud can remain stuck to it for a long time. Even if there are, they can usually be wiped away with relative ease.
I’ve used this on a handful of pontoon trailers. One of them still maintains most of its finish and coating thickness after 5 years of irregular boat towing and storage. It’s holding up well in most parts with a few scratches and bubbling here and there, which is why I’m not repainting the boat trailer for now.
I obviously like high-gloss paints for their almost natural durability, but this is one of the few that stood out to me with its attractive finish and overall texture. Think glosses you normally see on high-end, heavy-duty appliances. At least, that’s what I normally get when I apply it with an Interlux 333 thinner.
I’m always a sucker for self-leveling paint as it saves me time and effort. This one performs extraordinarily in that regard as I can’t recall any instance when I had to do extra tipping after every roll I do.
4. Rust-Oleum 207012 Boat Bottom Paint
Another reliable option from a tried-and-tested brand, this one guarantees amazing rust protection with Rust-Oleum’s trademark longevity.
I apply the reasoning that whatever paint keeps underwater hulls from rusting is bound to do the same wonders for boat trailers every time I use this. I often store boats on trailers, and there are times when I can’t afford to dry the area of the hull that falls below the waterline before storage. This antifouling paint takes care of any rust worries I may harbor with regards to that.
Given the quality protection, this rests my doubts when I have to submerge a good portion of the bunks when launching my vessels. Moreover, it doesn’t come off easily even if the hull or anything that could cause physical damage makes contact with it. In my case, that has happened multiple times but it still held on, making this a recommended galvanized paint for boat trailers.
It also does well against sun damage as I sometimes leave my float-on trailers unshaded when I’m boating solo. The most I’ve left it under direct sunlight is 6 hours, and so far, the trailer that had this paint is still as sturdy and beautiful as the first time I applied it.
To me, the 4 hours it takes to dry is optimal – not too quick and not too slow. Still, you’ll have to pay attention to the weather in your area to get the best results. Overall, it’s not hard to manage and apply, as I used mineral oil, which thinned it well. I tend to use a standard 3” brush to apply 3 coats and get generally satisfactory results.
5. POR-15 45008 Rust Preventive Paint
This product delivers exactly what it promises. I’ve used this on and off over the years for a handful of my trailers. Compared to others, this showcases a favorable consistency in rust protection.
The first time I used this was on a 5-year-old pontoon trailer that’s seen better days. It was virtually rusted all over, and I reckoned if this product didn’t fix it, I’d replace it altogether. It still felt sturdy so I was convinced that the rust had only begun to set in.
Long story short, I applied this along with an automotive can of paint that I used as a top coat. It felt and looked as good as new. After more than two years of application, the trailer’s still managing its usual weight limit despite a minor squeaky bolt problem.
I trusted the brand’s claim that I no longer needed to remove the rust. Well, it worked so it’s safe to say that this product is simply that effective. Mind you, I’ve tried out products that played to the gallery only to leave me disappointed.
That’s why I’ll never have second thoughts in applying this to trailers that I often submerge. I admit that I seldom use it compared to other paints since it’s often not available locally, but I’m glad I always have a solid alternative to lean on should rust start making its ugly appearance on my trailers.
6. Majic Paints 8-0852-2 Camouflage Paint
Relatively affordable, this mid-range paint satisfies my preferences for protection, ease of use, and aesthetics.
This paint practically glides when I apply it. It flows out nicely and settles just as well, a combo I can’t get enough of in my paint jobs, especially when I’m using a brush. This rings truer if I have to repaint boat trailers regularly.
I had expected it to be a bit durable because it’s oil-based. However, it took less than 8 months for me to start seeing some peeling on one of my bunk trailers. Others I’ve painted are doing fine after a year so it’s probably not set in stone. Besides, it’s relatively easy to apply so I won’t mind doing repaints with this.
It sticks well, probably because of the flat sheen. It wicks away moisture fairly reliably, so I’m confident of this product’s corrosion protection as well.
I love the high-quality khaki color and finish that’s not too glaringly glossy. This may be a thoroughly subjective opinion but I felt I had to share it since I value paint aesthetics as well as practical functionality. It may have taken a toll on overall durability but I think that it being oil-based balances things out to a high degree.
7. Durabak 18 Textured Deck Paint
True enough, this textured paint has few rivals when it comes to durability. It’s non-skid, and adheres well to aluminum and non-treated wood too.
Two coats are enough to get the durability that I want. I’ve been using this for a long time now on my favorite pontoon boat and almost all of my trailers. Anything that sports its coat tends to last longer than 3 years with weather and other moisture exposure factored in, and that’s just the minimum. I think that alone makes it well worth the money.
One of the main reasons why I chose this paint was its non-slip feature. I daresay even the Navy would be jealous of this paint’s non-skid capabilities and would have used it as a boat trailer paint for saltwater and freshwater. The former is a good perk to have during the times when you’re solo-launching your boat, like when you have to release the winch while stepping on the trailer.
It’s relatively easy to apply using a roller. I do so when I’m applying it to boats, but, to me, it works better when sprayed on trailers. You’ll need a special roller to apply it properly since it’s textured. It’s ideally applied on rough surfaces and I use it along with a xylene prep if I have one on hand before applying the first coat. It lays down well enough to my liking.
8. POR-15 46604 Top Coat Paint
This paint exemplifies the best UV protection among these choices. Combined with POR-15 Rust Prevention, I think this duo can wrap up the debate about the best type of paint for boat trailers.
For boat trailers that I usually leave out in the sun for an extended amount of time or when I have to do a long daytime drive, I almost always favor this paint. I’ve tried out this product’s UV protection quite extensively, and it does manage to keep sun damage away for a long time.
One of the bunk trailers that I don’t always keep an eye on when out boating still doesn’t exhibit any of the cracks I usually get from other paints. For how long now? Close to 5 years.
This is why I almost always use this as a top coat to make other paint layers more UV stable, usually with some light sanding before application. A caveat when applying, though: while it’s not hard to paint and settles well enough on its own like its rust-protective cousin, it does tend to take a long time to stop flowing. I’ve had one experience when it took almost 6 hours to dry.
Once it does settle, expect it to stick for good. In fact, I advise you to be extra careful that you don’t splatter some onto surfaces you don’t want to have paint. Chances are you’d have to scrape or chisel this off once it dries.
9. Diamond Brite 31150 Oil-Based Enamel Paint
A must-have for anyone looking for versatile paint, this Diamond Brite oil-based enamel paint offers noteworthy protection and a consistently great finish.
This paint is not at all a pain to apply once you take the time to prepare it properly. More importantly, it rewards your faith in it with long-lasting protection against cracking, scratches, and moisture. I simply follow the steps in preparing the surface and mixing, and I get what I expect from it every time.
You have to make sure you apply it on days when the temperature doesn’t exceed 90 degrees. One thing I immediately noticed the first time I used it was its almost perfect consistency, to me at least. It’s just the right kind of consistency that removes the need for a thinner.
It offers great coverage on the first coat alone. I make sure I thin it down as much as possible since it doesn’t self-level that well. By the time I do the second one, it already flows and settles the way I want it. You’d have to be a little patient when waiting for it to cure, though, especially if the weather is less than optimal.
10. SlipDoctors DuraGrip Non-Slip Paint
SlipDoctors’s DuraGrip is specifically designed for boat decks to make them slip-resistant. That, to me, makes it a ready option for most trailers, aluminum or otherwise. It’s epoxy and semi-gloss, which is a good combination protection-wise.
I always like paint that saves me from buying an additive just to get an anti-slip benefit from the finish. Naturally, it has to be able to mitigate the potential damage from the elements as much as possible at the same time. This product gracefully meets both criteria and imparts a handful of bonuses along the way.
Sometimes, I don’t apply a primer, and I still get optimal results from this. I do make it a point to do some preparatory sanding, especially when doing repaints. It adheres well to aluminum, raising its suitability to trailers in my book.
While it’s not hard to roll, I prefer to spray this because the brand calls for keeping a thin coat as much as possible. It’s very easy to apply either way. So far, after two months of being applied to one of my trailers, it’s not showing any signs of peeling. I can’t comment much about the durability because I’ve only used it for a short time.
11. RTG 512598 Anti-Slip Paint
This one keeps me from slipping, isn’t a pain to apply, is environmentally friendly, and provides decent protection.
Overall, I like the value for money I get out of this. It’s cheaper than most products I regularly use, but I still get some of the perks I can’t get enough of, such as decent UV protection, slippage resistance, and ease of application.
I’m not too sure about the durability, especially to moisture. I frankly wouldn’t want to use this as outdoor paint that would be exposed for long hours to rain or snow. A friend of mine had warned me about this when he used it to paint on his patio, but based on my trailer experience, it’s a different story.
I can’t say for sure that it lasts for a long time. Honestly, I won’t mind if I get a year out of each application since it’s easy as pie to apply. One coat on most of my trailers is enough to get full coverage, then I always add an extra coat or two to make up for the dubious durability.
Did I mention that it dries very quickly in cool, fair weather? Even better if the temperature hovers at the 70-degree range. The fastest it took to dry was less than 30 minutes. As long as I carefully apply it, I wouldn’t mind getting those time-saving perks.
12. FIXALL Skid Grip Anti-Slip Paint
This paint shines the most in terms of durability. It’s naturally UV-resistant, has decent moisture-wicking properties, excellent traction against slips, and a gallon of it doesn’t cost a fortune.
I think this benefits people who want to get the most anti-slip advantage out of the paint they use on boat trailers. Understandably, it’s not really much of a priority for some boaters, but considering this product’s top-notch durability and decent moisture protection, it’s well worth being considered as a go-to boat trailer paint. I would limit its use to freshwater, assuming you’ll be submerging the trailer when launching, since it’s not marine-grade.
This paint can take a beating from the sun and even cold, wintry temperatures. The longest I’ve had it go without repainting is 3 years. Even then, it only thinned out to a very minor degree and bubbling was limited to tiny areas that constantly got exposed to the sun. I do have to stress that the damage was very marginal and there were no signs of rust progression as well.
Factors To Consider When Choosing Paint For Boat Trailer
“What kind of paint to use on a boat trailer?” This is a common question among novice boaters. Understandably, this is only made trickier by the fact that there are no products specifically designed for trailers. For boats, yes, but trailers? It’s a long shot.
That doesn’t mean that what works for boats won’t work for trailers. Most paints designed for boats actually adhere well to trailers. All I can say is that you only need to pay attention to the factors and elements that your trailer is subjected to when you’re out boating or towing.
With that in mind, pay attention to these general questions when making your decision.
Can it last long and offer enough protection against varying changes in weather conditions and the elements?
It’s a given that you should prioritize paint that can handle saltwater and freshwater well since you’ll be submerging portions of your trailer when launching and retrieving. At best, any paint with great moisture resistant and waterproof qualities will do well for this purpose, and most boat deck paints readily fulfill this requirement.
It won’t hurt for it to be resistant to UV light and physical damage like scratches and blunt force as well. Adhesion plays a vital role in this factor too. Any paint that bubbles and cracks before long is a no-no, regardless of the number of coatings you applied.
Also, take note of different types of gloss and paint consistency. High-gloss is often the gold standard for durability, but I can say the same for oil-based, semi-gloss, and epoxy coatings. Each one has areas where it shines the most.
How long does the paint take to apply and dry?
Quick-drying paint always has its benefits, namely the time-saving it readily entails. However, this quality could be a double-edged sword. When it dries too fast to your liking, you might end up with a thicker or thinner coat that you’ll find hard to correct, especially in low-humidity areas. Ultimately, it’s best if the paint dries in a time you’re comfortable with.
Be mindful of paints that are a little harder to mix or manage than others. Some boat trailer painting requires a special thinner or primer that isn’t always available. The same can be said for exclusive rollers that some paint products require, like a few textured paints. Choosing beginner-friendly paints doesn’t only save you time and effort but money as well.
Don’t forget about aesthetics and eco-friendliness
I didn’t mention color and style that much because it’s highly subjective. Nonetheless, it won’t do you well if you end up with a style that you don’t like. Some prefer a semi-gloss finish while others won’t settle for anything less than eye-catching high-gloss sheens. Lastly, need I explain why I prefer eco-friendly options?
What Is The Best Paint For A Boat Trailer
Rust-Oleum, to me, ticks the most checkboxes and is therefore the most versatile. Painting a trailer with Rust-Oleum is like salt and pepper, it’s a safe combination. I’d recommend it to anyone who isn’t too sure yet of what paint to use for any kind of trailer or for anyone looking for a type of paint for galvanized boat trailers.
Almost all the other products that work well for boats belong in this category too. As for the others, I can vouch for them based on the experiences that I’ve relayed above.
How Do You Prep Your Boat Trailer For Painting
Inspect the trailer! If there are any damaged parts, I recommend that you take the time to repair them. Afterward, check for signs of rust. If they’re present, sanding is a must to ensure correct adhesion. This should effectively remove any remaining old paint on the surface too.
Sometimes, sanding may be insufficient, and you’ll need to rely on power tools like an angle grinder to get all the rust off. Be sure you remove any signs of dust and other debris on the surface. You can use a blower and a clean, damp cloth to ensure this.
How To Paint Aluminum Boat Trailers
Learning how to paint a boat trailer made of aluminum only requires paying attention to what adheres best to the said metal. In my experience, sanding and a good primer are necessary to achieve optimal results. Use primers that specialize in metal or offer rust protection.
Once you have done all these preparations and have the materials you need, make it a point to apply it as properly as possible when doing your first coat. It could be easy to overspray or over-roll in this case so I highly suggest you concentrate on applying an even coat from the get-go.
How Do You Care For And Maintain Your Newly Painted Boat Trailer
Your boat trailer should be regarded as good as new after you paint it, so it won’t hurt to take the time to inspect all its parts. Check the lights, bearings, wires, connectors, and other essential parts to make sure that each one still works properly.
As for making the paint last for as long as possible, I suggest you limit its exposure to harsh elements. Not leaving your trailer out in the sun too long, regardless of its UV protective capabilities, would go a long way in making it last. The same can be said when keeping it submerged or exposed to moisture.
To me, proper technique and application from the start would already do wonders for durability. You’ll only make the most of the paint’s durability this way. Regularly cleaning the surface should delay the harmful effects of long-term exposure to dirt, debris, and moisture as well.
As you can see from the facts I’ve laid out above, the best paint for boat trailers depend on the product’s ability to effectively fulfill the specific requirement you have when painting a boat trailer. Very few paints provide all-around benefits, after all. Taking the time to do this would only reward you with protection, attractiveness, and other conveniences that will last for a long time.