How To Burnish Boat Bottom Paint’s Problem – Most Effective Ways To Overcome

Burnishing paintwork has been a prominent practice amongst paint aesthetes. Even boat owners have been giving their transport some sheeny looking makeovers to make it stand out. How about bottom paints on boats? Will burnishing help? Yes, burnishing once in a while can be fruitful for the boat. 

You might ask why burnish a surface that is not even visible? Well, there are many good reasons to have it polished. In this article, I will tell you how to burnish boat bottom paint and what positives it brings to the table. To know more about boat paint and burnishing keep on reading. 

What Is Burnishing and Why Do You Need It?

Burnishing is a surface treatment that makes the paint finish look glossy and polished. It is done by using cutting compounds that act as effectively abrasive to remove the deformities and bring out the shine by continuous rubbing. 

Applying burnish technique on boats has been acknowledged by many people because of its lustrous outcome. It helps to make the boat more striking. Why do you need to burnish the bottom paint? Well, bottom paint will wear off and take a lot of residues underwater. Burnish can help to counter the unnecessary stress and cracking of the bottom surface.

For boats, I would say burnishing does even more. It helps to reduce friction and boosts the overall speed of a boat. Needless to say, it makes it look better than a monotonous finish.

How To Burnish Boat Bottom Paint – Step By Step

How To Burnish Boat Bottom Paint

Now that you know the good side of burnishing bottom paint, shall delve straight into the process of how it’s done. Well then, follow the process below to burnish the bottom of your boat effectively. 

Step 1: What You Will Need

For burnishing you will need cutting compounds (variants of sandpapers). As we are not talking about painting, let it be just the sandpaper. In the FAQ section below you can see how to do a paint job. 

Step 2: Mount The Boat On A Stand

Keep in mind that you are not gonna burnish a boat while it’s on water. Just like you paint the carrier by placing it in a stand. You should do it for burnishing as well. Get boat stands to support the weight of the boat and for easy access to the bottom surface. To know more about boat stands you can follow this link. 

Step 3: Work On A Smooth Hull

It is wise to burnish a clean surface. If the plane has excessive debris and residues you can cause damage while working the sandpaper. When the boat is done with paintwork, or you just want to burnish an existing paint, just get it out of the water and let it dry first. Wipe the surface with cleaners and wait for it to dry. 

Step 4: Wet Sand The Bottom And You Are Done

Remember that working with sandpaper on soft paint won’t work. If the paint you applied is known as hard paint, then you can burnish the surface with sandpapers. I request you to have different grits of paper with you. 

You will have to perform wet sanding, which means soaking the sandpaper with water or other cleaning agents and then giving it a swirl on the bottom surface. The best way to do it is to use a 400 grit sandpaper and gradually move up to 600, to attain a finer finish. 

If you find sandpapers are not giving you the desired shine. You can opt for bronze wool for a more lustrous outcome. Remember that if your boat has antifouling paint, you must be careful not to rub the surface too hard. Try to be gentle, as antifouling colors are on the soft side and might wear out with excessive rubbings. Keep the work going for as long as you don’t see a sheeny surface. 

If you successfully follow the four steps, you can now get your boat back on the water and see the difference yourself. 


How Long Does Bottom Paint Take To Dry?

Recoating paints can be done within 3-4 hours. You can put up the boat to use after 16-20 hours, but I say it’s wise to let it sit overnight. To be on the safe side and assure proper finish, give it 72 hours of dry time.

How To Apply Boat Bottom Paint?

Start with priming the surface to efface any loose ends and remove residues. Using 80 grit paper will do good on paints that are already in good condition. Then wipe the area clean with a clean lint-free cloth damped with brushing thinner. 
To take off the old paint completely, you can use a paint remover like Total Strip from Total Boat. 
You now need the paint of your preference. I like the Rustoleum bottom paint and it serves very well. Then you need the spray equipment or nap rollers to do the job. Follow the instructions on the paint brand. Apply the paint as instructed and give it a proper dry time before you apply coatings. 
I suggest you give it a 3-4 hours span before applying a second coat. Then give it an overnight rest before putting it to the real test.

How To Repaint Boat Bottom Paint?

For repainting the boat bottom, it is wise that you take care of the surface preparation. If the old paint is in good condition, you can easily go for a re-do without having to strip it completely. If the old color is flaking and weary, then strip it off before applying the new color. You can follow the previous answer to repaint the boat successfully.

How Often Should You Redo The Bottom Paint?

Applying bottom paint once a year will give you good results. If you constantly use the boat, you must nitpick the bottom surface once or twice every year to see if there are imperfections in the shine.


I would suggest burnishing for all the good reasons. It kinda works as a protective barrier to the paint surface and keeps away residue buildup. Moreover, you will get a sleek and glossy finish at the bottom which will aid in the speed buildup as well. If you have carefully studied how to burnish boat bottom paint, you will likely keep the vessel in a healthy state for a longer period.

About Emon Hawlader

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