I have an old Grumman 14-foot aluminum canoe, probably from the mid-60s, definitely an ex-rental. It lives outdoors on a rack, turned upside down. I’m interested in painting the exterior hull, and also in painting on some non-slip material on the inside. Can anyone offer advice or recommendations?
The no-paint alternative
I won't tell you not to paint the boat, but I'll tell you why some people wouldn't. That aluminum oxide coating that dulls the finish of an old aluminum boat is actually about as tough and weather-resistant a coating as you could ever hope for. So if you want to paint it just to protect the boat, I'd suggest that you don't. If you want to paint it in some sort of camo pattern for duck hunting, or to make it look nice, that's another matter. You will need to prep the metal and put down a good coat of metal primer first (there's a recent thread about doing that somewhere on these message boards). If you want good looks, spray-painting is needed (goes for the primer coat too). Paint it with a brush and it'll look like it, even if you are good at that.
As to using non-slip paint on the inside, the same comment about prepping and priming apply. I've seen non-slip paint used for shop floors, especially around floor-standing power tools. I'm sure a paint shop could help you find such a product. But here I go again: I've spent a lot of time in alumuinum canoes and jon boats, and have never had a problem with the inside of the hull being too slippery. When it IS slippery, it is due to slimy muck tracked in on my boots, and I don't think a little grit in non-skid paint would help much in that case.
Finally, a full coating of primer and paint, inside and out, will add a noticible amount of weight to the boat.
Here's that thread I was thinking about that's mentioned above:
If you want to paint it camo for duck hunting the INSIDE should also be camo as that is what the ducks see coming in.
In order to get good adhesion on
Aluminium you need to use an etch primer as a first coat.