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Bottom Painting Pontoon Boats (Cut Corrosion ASAP)

Pontoon boats are becoming increasingly popular among boat owners due to their safety, versatility, simplicity of driving, and spaciousness. However, proper maintenance is a must to ensure that the boat performs to its full potential. Thus, as a pontoon boat owner, you might wonder, “Do pontoon boats need bottom paint?”

Your pontoon boat would require bottom paint if you intend to leave it anchored in the water for a long time. This statement is especially true if the water is salty or brackish since the saltwater can easily damage the pontoon boat.

However, whether or not you should bottom paint your pontoon boats is dependent on a few factors. Besides, the type of paint is also an essential thing to consider while planning to paint the boat.

So, in this article, I will discuss if your pontoon boat needs bottom paint or not, along with some other information you might find helpful.

Do All Pontoon Boats Need Bottom Paint?

Bottom paint is a must for pontoon boats used in saltwater, irrespective of mooring hours. On the other hand, in the case of freshwater, I would recommend bottom painting the boats if you use them for an extended period.

Well, the impacts of both freshwater and saltwater on pontoon boats necessitate particular attention to the bottom painting.

Long-term exposure to freshwater can harm the paint. In the very same amount of time, saltwater, however, will do more harm.

To summarize, pontoon boats would require bottom paint in the following circumstances:

  • No matter the amount of time you leave the pontoon boat in the water, you should apply bottom paint if it’s the case of using it in the saltwater. Applying paint will maintain your boat in good shape by preventing algae accumulation on the hull.
  • Bottom paint is also required for your pontoon boat moored in freshwater for extended periods given the risk of algae growth.
  • If you only use your pontoon boat in the freshwater for a brief length of time, you can skip the bottom paint. However, you must pressure wash it after exiting the water and keep it in a dry position to avoid algae growth on the body.

Even though you don’t anchor your pontoon boat in fresh water for a longer duration, bottom paint can help protect the boat.

Algae, barnacles, salt, and organisms can all stick to the hole and cause major damage to your boat, so taking sensible precautions is always a good idea.

What Type of Bottom Paint Goes on Pontoon Boats?

Based on your pontoon boat’s material, an aluminum-safe antifouling chemical might be the type of paint you should choose for painting the boat. However, it is best to contact your pontoon boat’s manufacturer and inquire about the most suggested paint type.

There are a variety of bottom paints available. However, some of them may cause damage to the boat’s body. So, you should seek a biocide-containing bottom paint.

Now, let’s take a look at some of the bottom paint formulations to choose from:

Nano Antifouling Coating: A nano antifouling coating’s goal is to make your boat’s bottom so smooth that no organisms can successfully attach to it and establish a home. They are ideal for boats, which can go at least 10 knots.

Hydrophobic Foul-release Coating: Since these are low-energy and only allow a very fragile adhesion to foul substances, a gentle water circulation must be sufficient to clean the marine critters. A few of these coatings are biocide-free and so more environmentally friendly.

Copper-Free Antifouling Coating: These coatings resist organisms rather than killing them, making them excellent for eco-friendly applications. Copper-free paints are also excellent for aluminum boats since they protect the material from corroding.

Well, if your pontoon boat is composed of aluminum, paints containing copper oxide must be avoided. It is because corrosion occurs when aluminum and copper react with each other, causing serious damage to the pontoon boat’s body.

So, because of the characteristics of most pontoon boats, copper-free bottom paints are the ideal choice for protecting your investment.

How Much Does It Cost to Paint A Pontoon Boat?

The average cost of bottom painting is around $20. However, professionally applied bottom painting might cost you between $15 and $100 for each linear foot.

A multitude of factors influences the expenses of professional pontoon boat painting. The cost might be more or less depending on whether you will be repainting or starting from scratch.

The following are some of the factors that may affect the cost of painting a boat:

  • Boat Size

There are pontoon boats of different sizes. A small size pontoon boat is generally 20 feet long and 8 feet wide. On the other hand, the width of a large size pontoon boat is around 12 feet.

The size of the boat is one of the most essential factors that influence the overall expense of painting a pontoon boat. The larger the boat is, the more the painters will have to work to fill the total surface area.

Moreover, it also necessitates the application of extra paint to the surface of the boat. Thus, labor and paint costs will be more for a bigger pontoon boat than a smaller one.

  • Boat Type

The material of the boat is also a decisive element in whether the painting will be cheaper or more expensive. For example, painting an aluminum pontoon boat differs from painting a fiberglass pontoon boat.

The expenses will rise as a result of the numerous strategies used in between.

  • Condition of the Boat

Preparing to paint a pontoon boat might take longer than the painting process in reality. If the boat has been somewhat damaged, it may require additional repairs.

Filling, sanding, and other repairs might be required to be included in this preparation.

So, the more damaged the boat is, the more price you will have to pay to complete the job of painting.

  • Paint Type

There are different types and brands of bottom paints in the market. It is obvious that not every type and brand will cost you the same amount of money.

Premium-level paints will cost you more. So, the paint type is definitely a factor to consider while determining the overall expenses.

  • Professional or DIY

The cost might vary greatly depending on whether you decide to paint the boat yourself or hire a professional.

Besides the paint, you will need paintbrushes, sandpapers, paint rollers, drop cloths, paint trays, masking tape, gloves, goggles, and a respirator mask to complete your DIY boat painting project.

Some or all of these goods might already be in your home. So, you might be able to reduce the cost here. Generally, bottom painting a pontoon boat by yourself will cost you around $100 on average, ranging from $50-$500.

On the other hand, hiring a professional for bottom painting costs anything between $15 and $100 for each linear foot.

The charges might be higher indicating luxury bottom paint and boats that require extensive labor before the contractors can start the painting.

Well, a professional charges around $300 to $2,000 for bottom painting for a 20 ft boat, with the majority costing between $300 and $400.


A coating of bottom paint helps a lot in protecting the boat’s bottom from algae and bacteria, which can corrode the metal over time.

By now, you have got your answer to the question, “Do pontoon boats need bottom paint?” So, don’t forget to paint your pontoon boat and save a lot of time, money, and hassle in the long run.

Thanks for reading through. Good luck!