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I recommend reading the whole section applicable to painting your type of boat. You can quickly access specific information by clicking on the links below.

Painting fiberglass boats

Painting wood boats

Painting steel or aluminum boats

Non skid

Antifouling paint

If you need to ask the crew a specific question please email the CREW.

If you are happy with our answers or you found the information in this site helpful and would like to help me cover costs and expand this site faster please make a donation through pay pal below . Believe me it would be very much appreciated and besides the crew are complaining I haven't fed them . Thats not true I fed them yesterday . Cheers Boatcando guy . 

 

 

Foreword

Painting a boat for most people feels like a bit of a gamble as they lack confidence in their skills . I have found it to be one of the most rewarding jobs because when you are done, the improvement is hugh and other people will say ( wow , you did that yourself ?) . What causes the problems is rushing the prep work and not applying the coating correctly . Always use good quality marine coatings to be safe unless you know paints well .

For the purpose of this advice I will use a compatable line of interlux products . You may choose to go with another quality brand . I will also stick to the use of a single part polyurethane paint and application by roll and tip method as I feel it is the most practical way to paint so the average boat owner can do a quality job . If you are not familiar with the Roll and Tip method you can read how to below the links . If you already are familiar with this method you can skip directly to specific info at above links .

ROLL and TIP

This method to apply paint is best done by two people . If it is a small job one person should be fine . One person rolls the paint onto the surface using a solvent resistant high density closed cell foam roller . This will cut down on air bubbles . The second person follows with a quality brush or as I preferr a dispoable foam brush . The second person gets any spots the roller missed then finishes with one long vertical stroke, called tipping . If you have a lapstrake boat vertical tipping wont be practical so I'd go with a foam brush but keep the coats thin to prevent sagging . The foam brush is nice as it also helps you soak up excess paint that can be wiped on the side of the paint pan . The person rolling should get no more than 1 1/2' ahead of the person tipping because in warmer weather if you get too far ahead the paint will semi dry before you can tip it . NOT GOOD . Best results are achieved with thin coats .

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Painting fiberglass boats

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Wipe entire area to be painted with a good solvent wash , either interlux 202 of special thinner 216 . Use plenty of fresh rags as we need to remove all wax from the surface . If you don't and start sanding you will push wax into the bottom of the sanding scratches which will affect how well your first coat holds .

Mask the job off using good quality masking tape . The cheaper stuff doesn't leave a crisp line and sometimes falls apart when trying to remove . I highly recommend that you remove masking tape as soon as you have finished applying a coat and remask before next coat . This will eliminate any possibility of lifting the paint up in to the job .

Sanding

I have found that if you are sanding anything much bigger than a dingy a 5" or 6" dual action (DA) sander is worth it's weight in gold . If you don't want to buy one you can usually rent one at a tool  rental place . The best ones take velcro backed discs called hook and loop . They also have holes in the discs so the machine can suck away the dust to a catch bag . When sanding you are trying to throughly scratch every square inch of the surface . Hand sand any area's you can't reach with the sander . To help you find area's you have missed try to position yourself so you head is beside the hull looking along it . The area's that need more sanding will still have a fair amount of shine on the surface . It helps to have some light shining on the surface so if it's not sunny get another source of light . It is good practice to thoughly sweep or vacuum area before applying any paint so that dust stirred up doesn't end up in the paint . If you are working on dirt or gravel lightly mist the area with with water . You are now ready to prime, repair or topcoat . If your paint is still in pretty good condition and doesn't need any repairs sand with 320 grit then skip directly down to Topcoat .

Prime and repair

If you need a certain amount of repairs or there are certain area's that show through to bare fiberglass you should plan on priming the job . Sand with 180-220 grit and solvent wipe again . For small scratches or dings I like to use interlux surfacing putty #257 or equivalent . For larger damage you may want to look into epoxy fairing combinations . Mas epoxies and West Systems have good fairing setups . By setup I mean you have to buy the resin and hardener plus an easy sanding fairing additive . Mix as per their instructions . For damage greater than simple fairing will cure I will cover in my fiberglass section which I should have done by November 2005 . Once you are happy with all the repairs solvent wipe , clean or mist area and get primer ready to apply . Roll and Tip 1 or 2 coats of interlux pre-cote sanding lightly with 320 grit between coats . I recommend removing masking straight after every coat and remask before next . I recommend 2 coats of primer making the last coat a 50/50 mix of primer/topcoat .This will give a satin finish to help see any small imperfections , plus will give extra depth to your topcoat . Once the primer coats are done sand again with 320 grit . Now you are ready to topcoat .

Topcoat

Make sure job has been masked , sanded with 320 grit and solvent wiped . Clean or lightly mist work area with water to stop dust getting onto job . Roll and Tip a minimum of 2 coats , ideally 3 coats of topcoat sanding with 320 between coats . Remove masking tape directly after painting every coat to avoid it pulling paint once dry . Remask before next coat sand and solvent wipe and roll and tip again . Follow directions on paint can for dry times and if necessary thinning . Go easy on paint for a few days as it will still be slightly soft . I bet things  look a lot better than before and you have probably had some compliments (other than yourself) . Pat yourself on the back see that wasn't so hard .

Cheers Boatcando guy .

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Painting Wood Boats

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 If your paint is already in reasonably good condition and doesn't require repair or priming , solvent wipe , mask and sand with 320 grit sandpaper then skip down to Topcoat .

Prime and Repair

Wipe job down well with interlux 202 or special thinner 216 . Mask off the job using good quality masking tape as the cheap stuff doesn't leave a crisp line and sometimes falls apart when trying to remove . I recommend pulling the tape off directly after each coat to prevent it lifting some of the new paint off once dry. Remask next day before sanding . Sand with 80-180 grit depending how rough the job looks . Wipe down with solvent clean up work area then apply a coat of interlux yacht primer thinned about 10-15%. Apply all coatings using Roll and Tip method . Next we work on filling all the imperfections with interlux surfacing putty #257 or equivalent sanding smooth when dry . Once happy with that we apply another 1-2 coats of yacht primer full strength sanding with 220-320 grit between coats . Apply 2 coats of interlux pre-kote sanding with 220-320 grit between coats . The last primer coat should be mixed pre-kote and topcoat mixed 50/50 . This will give you a satin finish which will help you see areas that require more repair and also give greater depth to the topcoat . Sand with 320 grit and solvent wipe . we are now ready for the topcoat .

Topcoat

Make sure job has been masked , sanded with 320 grit and solvent wiped . Clean or lightly mist work area with water to stop dust getting onto job . Roll and Tip a minimum of 2 coats , ideally 3 coats of topcoat sanding with 320 between coats . Remove masking tape directly after painting every coat to avoid it pulling paint once dry . Remask before next coat sand and solvent wipe and roll and tip again . Follow directions on paint can for dry times and if necessary thinning . Go easy on paint for a few days as it will still be slightly soft . I bet things  look a lot better than before and you have probably had some compliments (other than yourself) . Pat yourself on the back see that wasn't so hard .

Cheers Boatcando guy .

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Painting steel and aluminum boats

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Wipe entire area to be painted with a good solvent wash , either interlux 202 of special thinner 216 . Use plenty of fresh rags as we need to remove all wax from the surface . If you don't and start sanding you will push wax into the bottom of the sanding scratches which will affect how well your first coat holds .

Mask the job off using good quality masking tape . The cheaper stuff doesn't leave a crisp line and sometimes falls apart when trying to remove . I highly recommend that you remove masking tape as soon as you have finished applying a coat and remask before next coat . This will eliminate any possibility of lifting the paint up in to the job . If your existing paint is in reasonably good condition and doesn't require repairs or priming , sand with 320 grit then skip down to Topcoat . If you can get your hands on a 5''or 6" dual action (DA) sander with the velcro discs it will make life a lot easier and do a great job . The best ones have holes in the disc where the dust gets sucked away to a removable bag . You can also rent them at a tool rental place if you don't want to buy one .

Prime and Repair

If the condition of the hull is a bit rough we need to either sandblast or sand with a disc grinder and coarse emery cloth discs . Dust the hull off with a broom or rags . Use interlux prime wash 353/354 for first coat . Apply one full strenght coat of interlux yacht primer or equivalent . Use Roll and Tip method for applying all coats . Use interlux surfacing putty #257 for fixing small scratches and dings . Sand putty smooth with 220 grit when dry and repeat process untill happy with hull condition . Apply 1 or 2 coats of yacht primer sanding with 220 grit between coats . Then apply 1 or 2 coats of interlux pre-kote sanding with 220 grit between coats . The last of those coats should be a 50/50 mix of topcoat/pre-kote mix . This satin finish will help you see any small imperfections left to fix on the hull , also it will add a little extra depth to the topcoat . Now you are finally ready for the topcoat .

Topcoat

Make sure job has been masked , sanded with 320 grit and solvent wiped . Clean or lightly mist work area with water to stop dust getting onto job . Roll and Tip a minimum of 2 coats , ideally 3 coats of topcoat sanding with 320 between coats . Remove masking tape directly after painting every coat to avoid it pulling paint once dry . Remask before next coat sand and solvent wipe and roll and tip again . Follow directions on paint can for dry times and if necessary thinning . Go easy on paint for a few days as it will still be slightly soft . I bet things  look a lot better than before and you have probably had some compliments (other than yourself) . Pat yourself on the back see that wasn't so hard .

Cheers Boatcando guy .

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ANTIFOULING PAINT

 

Types of antifouling paint

Antifouling Fiberglass boats

 

Types of antifouling paint

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There are quite a few different types of antifouling on the market.  I will cover 4 common types.

 

Controlled soulubility copolymers (CSC)

These are excellent paints and would be my recommended first choice if your budget allows. These paints are partially soluable and will wear away very slowly with water action. As they slowly dissolve and wear the keep exposing fresh biocide. They can be repeatedly hauled and relaunched without loss of effectiveness until the the paint has completely worn off. This usually gives you muti-season protection plus easy preparation when time to repaint when using same type paint.

Ablative antifouling

Ablative antifoulings would be my second choice. They are still great paints and are a lot less expensive than (CSC) . Ablative antifoulings wear away with the water action passing over the hull which is great when time to repaint as it cuts down prep time. They are not quite as strong as (CSC)'s and wont last as long, but they are a lot less money and many of them can be hauled and relaunched without loss of effectiveness. They are also the most likely paint to be compatable with an old antifouling.

Modified epoxies

These paints dry to a hard porous film which leaches out biocide over time. The amount of biocide will steadily decrease over time until the biocide is exhausted. This style of paint although inexpensive has limited use. The film doesn't wear away so you usually have to do a reasonable amount of sanding before repainting other wise you will just be layering fresh paint onto the exhausted paint. Also most all of these paints if hauled for more than 60 days will cease to be effective anymore. There advantages are cost, resistance to abrasion and water action which is good for fast powerboats or racing sailboats or boats that have the hull scrubbed regularly. They are definitely more suitable for boats that stay in the water year round.

Special purpose antifoulings

These are designed for antifouling aluminum boats and outdrives. They do not contain any coprous-oxide which would eat away any aluminum.

Antifouling Fiberglass boats

The easiest way to paint the boat is to take it to a boat yard and they will take care of lifting the boat off the trailer. Then you will have easy access to the entire bottom of your boat. This of course costs more money. If you go this route make sure you get how much all this will cost up front on paper. Paying for a pressure wash can be well worth the expense and will save you a lot of prep time. If in a boat yard skip down to preparation .

If your boat is not in a yard you will need to be able to jack it up 4''-5'' off your bunks/rollers to be able to prep and paint.

(BE VERY CAREFULL) This has the potential to be dangerous.

Even though the trailer will make prep and painting quite difficult I strongly recommend you keep the trailer underneath the boat at all times for obvious reasons.

 If you have rollers you may be able to get to all parts of the bottom by carefully moving the boat back and forward on the rollers. I have found it is a lot safer doing this while the trailer is still attached to the vehicle with wheels blocked. As you move the boat back the trailer will lift up on the towing ball. I recommend you tie it securely together to make sure it does not pop off. Also be carefull moving the boat back on the trailer that you don't go too far and the back. There will be a point of balance where if you go past that point the boat will tip back and hit the ground. I like to arrange several safety tethers at the bow as well as the winch. One of the safety tethers will controll the boats backward movement and a couple of tethers to prevent the bow lifting upwards. If you have bunks you will want to jack it off the trailer. I recommend jacking the boat up one side at a time as it is a lot safer and easier once you get a good system going. If you have side guides you make have to adjust or remove them. Once you have jacked one side up securely block it in place. Try to place the blocks in such a way that when the boat is lowered back down you will be able to paint the area's where the blocks contacted. Do your prep then 2-3 coats antifouling paint then allow to harden as per the instructions on the can. It is also a good idea to mask the trailer below where you are working to keep paint off. If during this procedure you never feel that comfortable that the boat is safe and stable, don't take risks. It might be worth the boat yard costs. Have fun be SAFE .  

Preparation

The largest part of painting a boat bottom is all the prep work. Before we started get yourself a tyvek suit, eye protection, gloves and at least a particle mask.

1) If you know what your old antifouling was you can check a compatibilty chart for compatable coatings and also they level of prep work needed in order to apply fresh antifouling. Follow those guidelines.

2) If you don't know what your old antifouling was but it is in reasonably good condition you can lightly sand with 80 grit and apply interlux primocon of a similar quality product. This will act as a tie primer between coats. You can now put on new antifouling.

3) If you don't know what your old antifouling was and it is in bad shape you should probably remove it. You could heavy sand with 60-80 grit taking care not to sand the gelcoat away or use a paint stripper like interlux 299E or similar quality product. After stripping or sanding, prime with primocon or similar, then apply antifouling.  

Applying Antifouling Paint

1) If you haven't already done so mask off along the waterline and any aluminum and zinc hardware that is close to where you are painting. We don't want any paint containing cuprous oxide in contact with aluminum or zinc. ( Never paint zincs/anodes as it renders them useless ). We can use cuprous oxide paints on stainless steel and bronze hardware .

2) Use a 5/16''-3/8'' nap roller and a 3''-4'' disposable brush to apply the paint.

3) There are many additives in antifouling paints so mix thoughly before painting and occasionally during.

4) Apply a coat and allow to dry for the correct amount of time before applying a second coat and so on if applying a third. Any extra paint left over can be applyed to the waterline area and or rudders and keels . We do this because there will be extra turbulance on these surfaces which will wear the paint quicker epecially with ablatives and copolymers.

5) I like to pull off the masking tape immediatly after each coat and remask before the next. Soft paint always leaves a cleaner line where as once the paint has hardened sometimes leave a jagged line when removing the masking tape.

6) Remember to allow the whole job to harden for the correct amount of time. If the paint you go with needs to be back in the water within 30-60 days , see that it does.

Afterword

Well now that your bottom is well protected and looking good you should feel happy, I would. Smile with the knowledge that you just save yourself or a friend a bunch of money or you just made some. Cheers Boatcando Guy.  

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Non Skid

There are 2 main ways of putting a non-skid surface on your boat with paint.

1) Putting your non-skid compound on top of your wet paint. This is my prefered method as I always get great results.

2) Buying a special non-skid paint that already has a compound mixed in with it. I don't recommend trying to mix in your own compond as it always seems to come out patchy looking.

Before we get started we need to prepare our surface as if we were about to apply topcoat which is essentially what this is. Use the links below to get you to appropriate section to prepare for topcoat then come back to HERE!!!

Painting fiberglass

Painting wood

Painting Steel or Aluminum

Method 1

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The surface you intend to non-skid should be masked around the outer boundry and properly prepared. What I like to do at this point is with 1'' or 2'' masking tape mask a symetrical pattern where you don't want the masking tape to go. This will give your job a professional factory look. If you need ideas for patterns have a look at some other boats. (It's not necessary to do this , it just looks nicer ). The area with the masking tape will end up being lines that do not have non-skid on them. To help you get a nice curve on the corners, put extra masking tape on the corner then use a small jar or can to help you trim the corner with a stanley knife.

Example

 Next step is to make yourself a large shaker to apply the compound. Use something at least pint to quart size. Put lots of decent size holes in the top so the compound will come out easily when shaken. I like to go a little heavy on the compound to get perfect coverage. We will be vacuuming all excess compound off once paint dries. We are now ready to paint. I prefer to use a single part polyeurathane paint as it is easy to work with and is a durable enough paint without getting into epoxy paints. Epoxy paints are more durable but more expensive and more difficult to apply but if durability is an issue they can't be beat. Roll down a thin layer of paint onto our work area. Get your trusty shaker and apply a generous layer of compound that completely covers. Allow to dry then vacuum all compound off that didn't stick in the paint. Remove masking tape that was used for any patterns at this point. Apply another 2-3 thin coats over the job following appropriate drying times. We use thin coats because they dry faster and are tougher. Remove remaining masking tape at this point and admire your work. Bet that looks a lot better. Hope you had fun.

Method 2

(Using special Non-skid paint)

This method is pretty self explainitory. With the area masked and properly prepared for topcoat we pretty much just follow the directions on the can for application, dry times, and number of coats. I again mention that I don't recommend mixing in your own compound as it has never come out looking good for me. But maybe you're a lot smarter than me. Hope all goes well, nothing ventured nothing gained right? Cheers Boatcando Guy.

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