Protect your investment with high-quality antifouling paint. A fouled bottom reduces speed, fuel efficiency, and costs at the fuel dock.
Painting a boat is easy if the surface is properly prepped and the application is done carefully. This article will cover how to paint your boat and the steps required to get it right.
As any boat owner knows, repainting a boat is important to maintaining your investment. Even the most careful owners will end up with scratches, dings and fading over time. Sun, bird droppings and pollution can also do a number on your fiberglass. A fresh coat of paint not only looks better, but it will protect your hull from the elements and increase the value of your boat. But before you can even start painting, you need to prepare the work area properly. As any painter will tell you, preparation takes more time than the actual painting.
The first step is to clean the entire area that will be painted. This is easiest to do soon after the boat is removed from the water, when it is still wet. This step is crucial as it will remove any slime, dirt, sand or hard growth that has accumulated on the surface. You should also be sure to clean out any zincs and other metal hardware. After a thorough cleaning, the hull will need to be sanded down to provide a smooth surface for the new paint. This will make it easier for the paint to adhere to the hull and will ensure that the new finish lasts as long as possible.
Finally, the hull will need to be de-waxed before you can apply your new antifouling paint. This can be done with acetone or a dedicated wax stripper. The most important thing is to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific paint. Each type of paint has its own specific requirements for a good bond. This is especially true with ablative paints which need to be very thickly applied.
The bottom paint can be either a vinyl-based paint, a high-quality modified epoxy or an ablative paint. Each type will require a different level of sanding before it can be applied. It is also a good idea to use special transducer antifouling paint to protect the underwater transducers. You should also consider the bilge and engine areas, which will need to be thoroughly sanded and wiped down with a wet cloth before they can be painted.
Getting a fresh coat of paint on your boat will make it look new again, and may also help prevent the damage caused by weather, sun exposure and other environmental factors. But before you can apply the top coat, it is necessary to prepare the surface, including inspection, scraping, sanding and priming. The right primer will provide a foundation for a durable, long-lasting paint job.
There are several types of marine primer paints that are available for fiberglass and aluminum boats. These include sanding, enamel and epoxy formulations. Each type of marine primer has its own unique application methods, drying times and color options. Before buying any marine primer, consult the manufacturer’s literature for specific instructions.
Epoxy primers are especially popular because they offer superior adhesion and filling properties. They can be used both above and below the waterline, and they provide a bond that allows a compatible topside finish coating to mechanically adhere to the primer. However, epoxy primers can be toxic if not properly handled and used in a well-ventilated area.
An epoxy barrier coat is an excellent choice for fiberglass boats because it creates a moisture-resistant surface that greatly decreases the chances of gelcoat blistering. This is a critical step in the repair process of any vessel that has experienced gelcoat blisters because it will prevent moisture from permeating into the fiberglass, which can cause severe structural problems and even delamination.
While the barrier coat is drying, you should tape off any areas that you do not want to get paint on, such as the bow and stern, the bottom and the antifouling area. A good quality masking tape, such as 3M’s 2090 Scotch Blue Painter’s Tape, should be used for this purpose, as it is designed to withstand UV rays and can stay on the surface for days.
Once the barrier coat has dried, you can apply a couple of coats of an acrylic sealer or wax. This will keep the paint looking shiny and new for a while, but remember that the best way to protect your new paint job is to wash it regularly with a high-pressure hose and to dry it thoroughly between each use.
A fresh coat of paint does wonders for a boat. It can make it look new again, and it can also help it keep its value or even increase its value. Of course, this is true only if the painting job is done right. The best way to ensure that the bottom paint job is of the highest quality is to hire a professional marine painting company. These professionals are trained to know what paints to use, how to prepare the surface, and what steps to take during application. They can also help you choose the best color for your boat and match it to its contour lines.
When it comes to bottom paint, you want to be sure that you are using a product that is designed to prevent marine growth. There are countless versions of this paint, but it is important that you do your research and choose the one that is best for your particular vessel. For example, if you plan on doing a lot of fishing, you might want to choose a hard-film antifouling paint that releases biocides to eliminate fouling. This type of paint will last longer than a softer paint and will also minimize the number of times you need to repaint.
On the other hand, if you use your boat primarily for pleasure sailing, you might want to choose a softer antifouling paint that will erode faster and allow a more consistent layer of biocide to remain on the surface. This will require less maintenance, but it may not provide as much protection.
If you’re painting a vinyl-based paint, be sure to use a high-quality vinyl-based primer for the basecoat. This will help the paint adhere to the vinyl and avoid peeling and chipping. Also, make sure to thoroughly sand the area before you apply any of these paints.
It’s also a good idea to paint the boat in a place where you can keep it covered and protected. Paints and primers emit dangerous chemical fumes, and sanding can create airborne particles that could be harmful to you or your family. Additionally, many of these products are flammable or explosive, so you should be careful when working around them.
When you have a topside and bottom paint job done right, it will last for years. It will also look great and make your boat easier to clean. Marine painting companies are highly trained and know exactly what paint to use and how to apply it properly.
When selecting the best boat paint for your project, you must consider the texture of the fiberglass surface. A textured surface like diamond nonskid can be tricky and require additional prep steps such as filling deep gouges with resin or fiberglass patch. This is especially true if your boat spends most of its time in salt water.
For this reason, a good primer is essential before the final coats of paint. It will help the surface adhere to the gelcoat and allow the new finish to last longer. We recommend using a solvent-based primer such as Awlgrip. This will provide the best adhesion and prevent corrosion.
Once the primer is dry, it is time for the bottom paint. Bottom paint is designed to discourage weeds, barnacles and other marine growth from attaching to the underwater portion of your boat’s hull. If your boat stays in freshwater most or all of the year, a thin film paint such as VC 17m Extra or VC 17m Plus is a good choice. These paints have a super-slick PTFE finish and contain one or more biocides.
If you have an aluminum hull, you should avoid any antifouling paint that contains cuprous oxide. This can cause galvanic corrosion that will damage and possibly destroy your aluminum hull. Instead, select an aluminum-safe bottom paint such as Vivid (cuprous thiocyanate), Alumaspray Plus (zinc pyrithione) or Hydrocoat ECO (ECONEA).
Besides the topside, deck and bottom of your boat, it is important to protect other areas as well including the propellers and running gear. Marine growth can latch onto these surfaces and inhibit performance. Fortunately, applying a foul release coating can help prevent this from happening by creating a super-smooth hydrophobic surface marine life can’t latch onto. It can also improve acceleration and maintenance of speed by reducing drag and resistance.