Painting your canal barge yourself is an effective way to save money, and the results can be very satisfying. Patience is critical in this process, as attention to detail will ensure an excellent end product.This is a multi-day project.
Clean the boat thoroughly, removing all dirt, old registration and name stickers and other items that may have adhered to the hull. Scrape off any marine organisms and power wash the hull with fresh water.
Apply a fiberglass surface preparation product to remove old wax, mold and residue. Apply using a damp sponge. Remove using a damp cloth.
Sand the boat by hand or with an orbital sander. Use medium grit sandpaper, removing all bumps and imperfections. Rinse the surface and let it dry. Sand again, using a fine grit sandpaper to achieve a more perfect surface. Rinse and let dry again.
Fill dents and chips with epoxy putty. Allow to dry. Sand with fine sandpaper.
Prime using a marine primer. Allow to dry. Sand with very fine sandpaper. Wipe entire hull clean.
Apply two-part polyurethane paint in thin coats. Two-part polyurethane is the most durable product available and will last longer than a one-part polyurethane. Use a foam roller to achieve an ultra-smooth coat. Use a foam brush for tight spots. Change the roller or brush often as it becomes tacky. Tape the waterline before you start. Paint the boot stripe last.