What grit sandpaper to use on an aluminum boat?

Release Date:2023-04-19 13:51

When it comes to refinishing an aluminum boat, sanding is often a necessary step to ensure a smooth and even surface for painting or coating. However, choosing the right grit sandpaper can make a significant difference in the outcome of your project. 

The ideal grit sandpaper for aluminum boats depends on the condition of the surface and the extent of the damage or roughness. In general, a range of grits may be required to achieve the desired results. 

For removing heavy oxidation, scratches, or paint, start with a coarse grit sandpaper such as 80 or 100. This will help to quickly remove the damaged layer and create a smoother surface. Be sure to wear protective equipment such as gloves, eye protection, and a respirator mask to prevent inhaling any dust or particles. 

After using the coarse grit sandpaper, move on to a finer grit such as 220 or 320 to smooth out the surface and prepare it for paint or coating. This will help to create a uniform surface that is free from any scratches or imperfections.


It is important to note that sanding alone may not be enough to remove all the oxidation and restore the original shine to your aluminum boat. In some cases, a specialized aluminum cleaner or polish may be needed to achieve the desired results. 


When sanding an aluminum boat, the appropriate grit sandpaper will depend on the specific task you are trying to accomplish. Here are some general guidelines for selecting the right grit sandpaper for various purposes:

Removing Corrosion or Paint: If you need to remove heavy corrosion, old paint, or other tough materials from the aluminum surface, start with a lower grit sandpaper like 40 or 60 grit. This will allow you to quickly remove the surface imperfections.

Smoothing Rough Surfaces: Once the heavy material is removed, you may want to switch to medium-grit sandpaper like 80 or 100 grit to smooth the surface further and prepare it for painting or other treatments.

Preparing for Painting: If you are preparing the aluminum surface for painting, it's best to use fine-grit sandpaper-like 120 or 150 grit. This will create a smoother and more receptive surface for the paint to adhere to.

Final Finishing: For achieving a very smooth and polished surface, you can use even higher grit sandpaper like 220 or 320 grit. This is usually done for special finishes or when you want the aluminum to have a mirror-like appearance.

Remember to be careful when sanding an aluminum boat, especially if it has thin sections, as aggressive sanding can cause damage. Always sand in a consistent direction, and be sure to clean the surface thoroughly after each grit to remove any debris and avoid scratching the aluminum.

In conclusion, the ideal grit sandpaper to use on an aluminum boat depends on the extent of the damage or roughness of the surface. Starting with a coarse grit such as 80 or 100 and moving on to finer grits such as 220 or 320 can help to achieve a smooth and even surface that is ready for paint or coating. Be sure to use protective equipment and sandpaper that is specifically designed for metal surfaces to ensure the best possible results.

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