Painting Topsides

By Don Casey

Revised by BoatUS editors in April 2012

Two-part polyurethane paint begins to set almost immediately, so painting your hull with it is a sprint. Assuming no more than 3' of freeboard, painting the topsides with the roll and tip method should take no more than 45 seconds per foot of length, i.e., less than 20 minutes to paint one side of a 26' boat. Once you have tipped a roller application of paint, don't even think about going back. Correct all flaws with the second coat. 

Don Casey has been one of the most consulted experts on boat care and upgrades for 30 years, and is one of the BoatUS Magazine's panel of experts. He and his wife cruise aboard their 30-footer part of the year in the eastern Caribbean. His books include Don Casey's Complete Illustrated Sailboat Maintenance Manual, and the recently updated This Old Boat, the bible for do-it-yourself boaters.


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