Boat Trailer Paint Choices

Your boat’s trailer should look as good as the boat it’s trailering. But painting a boat trailer is not just about aesthetics. The right paint solution also helps protect the trailer from exposure to the elements.

Boat trailer painting what to use

When your boat trailer needs a fresh coat of paint, what should you use? There are several paints and paint-like solutions to keep your boat's trailer looking good and lasting longer. Here’s a quick guide to boat trailer painting options.

Powder Coating

While not a liquid paint, powder coating is arguably the best solution for protecting a boat trailer. It has a polymer powder that electrostatically attaches to the surface, then melts and bonds to the surface to form a skin. Powder coating is thicker than liquid paint, so it provides the most durable and long lasting coating for a trailer. However, powder coating must be applied by professionals, which can be expensive to get done.

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Epoxy Primer with Polyurethane Topcoat Paint

An epoxy primer coat finished with a polyurethane topcoat is a formula used on hulls and topsides. The epoxy primer adheres well to the trailer, and the polyurethane topcoat provides durability and an attractive finish. It’s inexpensive and easy to do at home, although some people forego the epoxy primer to save time and money. However, skipping the primer reduces the paint’s bond with the trailer and results in the need for more frequent repainting.

Painted boat trailer

Alkyd Enamel Paint

Alkyd enamels adhere well to prepared surfaces, and provide a solid protective layer once cured. However, the chemistry and technology behind alkyd enamels has been surpassed by epoxies and polyurethanes in recent years. Alkyd paint is cheap and readily available in stores, and is a popular option for painting a boat trailer.

Spray-On Truck Bed Liner

Several types of spray-on truck bed liners perform relatively well for painting boat trailers. There are also roll/brush-on liners, but the spray-ons are generally accepted as the better product. Spray-on bed liner should also only be applied by professionals. 

Boat trailer painting truck bed liner spray

Ultimately, powder coating is the best option for painting a boat trailer. It’s tough, it covers every square inch of the trailer and lasts for years. It’s the most expensive option, but the cost can be offset by not having to have the trailer repainted as often. If you’re on a budget, epoxy primer and polyurethane topcoat is your best choice. It’s inexpensive, and you can apply it yourself, saving you money by not having to pay a professional.