How To Paint A Kayak

How To Paint A Kayak: 9 Step-By-Step Complete DIY Guide [2023]

Have you done with the current color of the kayak? You want to hide its cracks and scratches and look to make it brand new rather than spend money to buy the new one. you want to hide its cracks and scratches. 

Painting your kayak is an inexpensive way to update your kayaks, it improves their aesthetics and hides aging. Are you painting the kayak by yourself? or need someone to help you? All guides will be provided to you. To learn DIY how to paint a kayak stay tuned with us and make your kayaks look beautiful and eye-catching.

Every kayaker wants to change their kayaks when they are tired to see the same color for a long time. How to paint a kayak or canoe depends on the material of the kayaks from which material kayak is made of?

First and Foremost: Why Paint a Kayak?

With the help of painting a kayak, you will give kayaks a new life, as the result, you have a brand new boat and the kayak. You can also customize your kayak. Purchasing a kayak is a long-time investment but good care of the kayaks gives them long life, after using so many years the kayaks lose their aesthetic value, their color becomes faded, and sometimes while paddling the kayaks are accidentally hit by a rock and got scratches, dent on the body of the kayak. In that case, the kayak needs to be replaced and painted. 

What Paint Will Be Used In The Kayak?

how to paint a kayak

The kayaks are made up of different types of materials, for instance, plastic, fiberglass, wood, roto-molded polyethylene, glass polymers, graphite/carbon composites, aramid composites, etc. all these different materials need different paints. Selecting the best paint that suits your kayaks is the task for you.

You should be sure that the paint you used has a waterproof tendency and also stays at the surface of the hull. This is the best quality paint that stays on the surface of the hull. There are also a huge variety of paints in the market. There are two categories of paint: Oil-based paint and Water-base paint.

Oil-Paint Vs Water-Paint

Oil-Base PaintWater-Base Paint
Oil paint dries harder.Water paints dry quite hard.
Oil paints have a better resistance against wear and tear.Water paint is more flexible and avoids wear and tear.
Oil paints have many chances to be brittle and the chance to develop cracks.Less chance to develop cracks.
Oil paints have no UV protection, not good for external use.Water paints have good for external use because It has ultra UV protection resistance.
Oil paint has a higher sheen level but it is not for a long time.Water paint has a lower sheen level but it maintains for a long time.

9 Steps: How to Paint a Kayak – [2023] Beginner’s Guide

Before starting to paint your kayak, list those things that will be required for painting. Here is the thing that is necessary while painting the kayak list below. 

Kayak Painting Supplies List

  • Paintbrushes 
  • Sprayers
  • Sandpaper
  • Foam paint rollers
  • Pair of gloves
  • Dishwashing liquid 
  • Water hose
  • Marine-grade paint
  • Marine wax
  • Paint mask
  • Acetone
  • Clean clothes

When you collect all the necessary tools for painting the kayak, you should follow the easy steps that can help you to paint the kayak more efficiently. 

Step 1:  Prepare The Area

You need a space clear of all dust and debris you need a fully ventilated area because you don’t want any dust particles that demolish your hard work. You should place your kayak on the trap or portable folding sawhorse before starting painting. if you are painting your kayak in an enclosed area then you must place a fan and open all the doors and windows of the room. 

Step 2: Strip It Down

This is the second step of painting a kayak. You should start this process with a clean canvas. You should remove all the accessories that you do not want to paint. For instance, the seats if they are removable, footrests, rod holders, and other things. 

Step 3:  Good Clean & Send Down

In this step, you need water and detergent that has no harsh chemicals, or you can use dishwasher soap for cleaning the kayak. This is the best time to repair the dent, cracks, and other damage is present. After this use the clean cloth to remove extra dirt. After cleaning and fixing the kayak then you should use grit sandpaper on the surface of the kayak to smooth the kayak surface so the paint will stick properly.

Step 4: Wipe It Clean

This is the fourth step. In this step, acetone will be used with the help of the cloth on the surface where you use sandpaper. At this point, you should remove all the access amount of oil from the hull surface because some oils don’t allow the paint to adhere to the surface of the kayaks. 

Step 5: Paint The Kayak

In this step, you will need to wear gloves and a mask before starting to paint the kayak, cover all the areas with the old newspaper and painter’s tape where you don’t want to paint. This is the time to makeover your kayak. You should apply the paint in a very thin layer and after applying one coat of the paint you should wait for some hours to let it dry completely then you are ready to apply the second coat for the actual color that you want. Don’t rush to the next step give 24 hours at least after this step. 

Step 6: Give It A Clear Coat

In this step, you make sure that the previous two layers of the coat should be dry completely then move forward to the third final coat that will protect the kayak against scratches. This step is giving your kayak final finishing and gives long life to the paint. 

Step 7: Giving Final Coat

In this step, make sure previously apply coats should b dry completely. This is the time to give the final coat of paint to the kayak. 

Step 8: Re-Rig Your Kayak

In this step, make sure that the final coating of the paint is also completely dried then you should have put all the accessories back into the kayak that was removed from the kayak before starting the painting.

Step 9: Wash And Wax The Kayak

This is the final last step, after following all of these steps properly placed all the hardware and accessories of the kayaks. This is the time to wipe down the kayak with dish wash and water to give it final cleaning and use marine wax to protect the paint from damage. 

Paint A Trap: Are you thinking that the trap can be painted? So yes it can be painted with spray paint. You can also use trap dips that are also available in the marketplace. Andy Stowe is the best trap dip.

Can You Paint A Plastic Kayak

If you are looking forward to painting your plastic kayak and you are unable to choose the perfect paint that can be applied to the plastic kayak, so don’t worry about it. You just have you choose the water-resistance paint that is perfect for plastic because conventional paints are not applied to the plastic body.

Rustoleum, Krylon 1311,  and Krylon Fusion are the best for plastic it sticks well. Also, we have Krylon Camo used for plastic applications. Plastic kayaks are paintable but they need proper precautions before being painted. They must be cleaned properly and sanded. After cleaning use a good quality primer and then apply actual paint. You can use urethane automotive paint they are flexible and durable and stay long.  

Marine-Grade Paint And Coating

If you are looking for quick and inexpensive DIY to paint the kayak then use spray paint, spray paint is easy to apply as compared to paint by brush. Spray paints give you a clear polish finish. Marine-grade coats provide protection. It is used mostly in water environment equipment such as vessels, boats, ships, tanks, and kayaks. Marine grade has amazing protection to the surface. 

Marine-grade paint and coating have superior protection, they are waterproof paint good for polyurethane kayaks. Marine-grade paints are used for watercraft immersed in freshwater and saltwater. These coats and paint act as protective layers to watercraft. It is also used for furniture, hardwood floors, etc. 


  • Durable.
  • Provide a glossy finish.
  • Easy to apply.


  • Marine-grade paints contain some toxic and irritating substances.

What Kind Of Paint Should We Use For The Fiberglass Kayak?

If you want to paint your fiberglass kayak you should use Latex Acrylic paint. These Latex Acrylic paints are best for fiberglass. Painting the fiberglass kayak is the biggest challenge because it is very difficult to stick paint on this material. The paint made up of Acrylic is a water-based paint that lasts long and is durable, with fewer chances to be cracked or blistering. You can also use a gel coat for the fiberglass boat, Zinsser’s bull eye 123 is ideal for the fiberglass. The gel can be faded as time pass, so it’s better to apply paint to the fiberglass.

How To Paint Fiberglass Kayak

Use a dishwasher or liquid soap with water and clean the kayak to make sure no dust particles are left. Clean properly with the cloth. make sure your kayak were not damaged or cracked. After that, you can use sandpaper to make the surface smooth then you can apply good primer after applying the primer coat you are ready to give the final paint use polyurethane paint to paint the fiberglass kayak. 

Types Of Paint Used For Fiberglass

A plastic resin used in watercraft, in many household items, painting a fiberglass material is challenging because it has a slippery texture. Choosing suitable paint is a task we have some paints that worked great on the fiberglass material.

1- Use Acrylic paints this is an actual water-based paint that is best for fiberglass.

2- Urethane paint is also used on the fiberglass objects like boats, kayaks, and other outdoor items. This paint contains some chemicals that will be complicated to apply. You should wear a mask before the application of this paint. As it is not water-based paint so it relies on chemicals that are also not good for your health. Urethane paint prevents wear and tear and provides resist chipping, with a shiny finish.

Using Spray Paint

You can use spray paint to paint your kayak. Spray paint is easy to apply rather than normal paint. On the other hand, spray paints use more than can paints. 

Rustoleum spray is the best spray paint that has a wide range of paint and protective gels. 

Spray paint can be messy, you should paint the kayak in an open area with ventilation to prevent airborne fumes.

PROS: Using spray paint saves your time.
CONS: Waste more paint.

UV Protection Paint

UV rays can damage the original color of the kayak to protect the kayak from UV damage you should keep the kayak in a shaded place and use spray paint that contains ultra UV protection layers that will keep the original color of the kayak for long time.

UV resistance clear coating by Krylon is the best spray paint, good to apply on the 

Wood, plastic, glass, metal, etc. 

Top 10 Best Spray Paint That Protects  UV Damage

1- Krylon Fusion in one Matte Black Spray Paint

2- Krylon Fusion in one Satin Black Spray Paint.

3- Krylon High-Gloss Matelic Gold Leaf Metallic Spray.

4-Krylon Colormaxx Gloss Banner Red Spray Paint.

5- Krylon Satin Black High Heat Spray Paint.

6- Rustoleum Professional Semi-gloss Black Spray Paint.

7-Rustoleum Universal Semi-Gloss Oil Rubbed Bronze Metallic Spray Paint and Primer.

8-Rustoleum Professional Flat Black Spray Paint.

9-Rustoleum Universal Satin Nickel Metallic Spray Paint and Primer.

10-Rustoleum Universal Satin White Spray and Primer.

Tip: 6- Steps for Kayaking Decal Installation [Beginner’s Guidelines]

A decal is a sticker that is applied to a surface like glass, metal, or plastic. A decal is more flexible than a typical sticker you can be simply removed and reused it. You should apply the decal very carefully because sometimes air will fill between the surface and the sticker so it causing bubbles. The decal will not last long due to these air bubbles, also your decal will not look good and it will soon fade from your kayak.

Step 1: Sand the Surface Area

You need a rough surface where you want to stick the decal so you should take sandpaper and rub gently to the specific area as you do the same while painting your kayak. so this can help your decal stick perfectly and also look cool.

Step 2: Wash Your kayak

Gently clean the area with alcohol and acetone so that will help to stick the decal perfectly.

Step 3: Heating It

In this step, you need a hair dryer to give maximum heat to the surface so the decal can properly stick to the surface of the kayak you need this, especially in the winter season.

Step 4: Moisten It

In this stage, Spray some water on your kayak. While this may delay the water evaporating, the kayak shouldn’t be completely submerged or have water falling down to the sides; it only needs to be moist. A moist towel will work if you don’t have a spray bottle.

Step 5: Paste The Decal

Place the decal where you want and rub gently with a soft hand or using a cloth and make sure the air bubble will not affect it.

Make sure that the entire decal is flat on the side of the kayak by flattening it with a squeegee or another flat-edged tool. Start from the middle and paste carefully.

Step 6: Take Out the Backing

You may slowly and carefully remove the decal’s backing and make sure all air bubbles have been cleared. and you are ready to go with your favorite decal on your kayak.


What kind of paint do you use to paint a kayak?

You can paint your wooden, plastic, or fiberglass kayak with the help of suitable paints. Both oil-based and water-based paints are available, but we will suggest you apply water-based paint with the help of a brush instead of using spray paint because spray paint wastes more. 

How do you restore the kayak? 

First of all clean, the kayak with the help of the dishwasher making sure that no dust particles remain left after that apply the protective gell or primer and apply the final paint to leave it to dry completely. You can use it after 2 or 3 days. 

How to prevent oily substances from the kayak?

Acetone will help you to clean the oily substance. Use acetone on the dry surface.

What type of sandpaper is recommended when painting plastic?

Because plastic is a glossy and soft material, you should sand the surface using 180- to 220-grit sandpaper. The surface won’t be damaged due to this fine sandpaper.

Is it necessary to prime plastic before painting it?

You can not paint the plastic surface directly you always need a good base layer or primer before painting a plastic surface. Using a good quality base layer can protect your paint last longer.

What happens when you forget to prime before painting plastic?

If you do not use a primer or base layer before painting while removing dust and fingerprint it may result in peeling off paint and fading, especially in humid weather.

Can acrylic paint be removed by rain?

Rain will undoubtedly damage it as the paint is not waterproof so, Rain may wipe acrylic paint if you’ve not applied the surface coating or primer.


The significant impact a new paint job could bring to an aging kayak will surprise you. It enhances the kayak’s visibility, covers wear and tear, and adds a touch of uniqueness. Also, it adds to the excitement of kayaking and boosts your confidence.

I m sure that this article will give you confidence in how to paint the kayak and How to apply decal follow all these steps carefully will lead you to paint your kayak very well. Remember all the things that will be required for the DIY job, don’t forget to use a mask and gloves before makeover your kayak.

You may now customize the kayak to fit both your aesthetic and your activity.

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