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Woodenhead

Painting my Hull

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My hull has never been bottom painted and has some osmosis blisters and a bunch of areas where it's been damaged, chipped, scraped, crappy gel coat etc (it's really not as bad as I make it sound). My plan is to sand out all the blisters and damaged areas, fix the gel coat, sand it, then paint the bottom with 5 or so coats of an epoxy bottom sealer such as http://www.westmarine.com/buy/interlux--interprotect-2000e-barrier-coat-system--P004_121_007_504 to seal up the gel coat and hopefully prevent any future issues with osmosis. I'll also give it a top coat of anti fouling paint to help deal with the layer of scuzz and algae that builds up over the summer and slows me down (wasting my precious fuel).

 

Soooo, what this all means is I need to jack up my boat, block it and get the trailer out from under it. I've rigged and move plenty of heavy stuff but never done this with a boat before but I suspect there are some members here that likely do this on a frequent basis. Can anyone offer any advice on where to get some reasonably priced screw jack stands for this (or make some)? How do I figure out where the best spot is to place the stands? I'm just in the planning stage right now so I'm open for all the advice and criticism you're willing to offer here, I'd prefer to have a good plan and not dump this thing on the floor.

 

The boat is a 1987 Regal Commodore 277. It's 28' long and weights around 8500lbs, maybe more. I'll be doing this in my shop on a concrete floor (not out in the soft dirt).

 

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suggest a call / pm to Lance .... he works in the boat / ship rigging industry

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Many boat yards rent out stands. Heavy blocks under the keel of course.

 

For gel coat blisters I prefer to grind the blister out, fill the void with epoxy and glass and then prep for gelcoat. It will work over epoxy.

 

I would recommend not painting with epoxy. Most of the moisture comes through the inside best I can figure even though the gelcoat is porous. Epoxy paint makes future repairs about impossible. JMO.

 

Doing this work at a boatyard makes it easier as you have access to a lift and a prepared place to work, but doing at home is completely doable with some effort.

 

Ablative paints work great and give you a textured bottom that actually makes the boat slip easier than a polished hull. But most ablatives cannot be used over eopxy. A potential gotcha. And most epoxies have to come off and then use a barrier coat to make their reapplication permanent. Ablative is a quick wash, scuff and reapply. makes it far easier IMO for next time.

 

Dave

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Many boat yards rent out stands. Heavy blocks under the keel of course.

 

For gel coat blisters I prefer to grind the blister out, fill the void with epoxy and glass and then prep for gelcoat. It will work over epoxy.

 

I would recommend not painting with epoxy. Most of the moisture comes through the inside best I can figure even though the gelcoat is porous. Epoxy paint makes future repairs about impossible. JMO.

 

Doing this work at a boatyard makes it easier as you have access to a lift and a prepared place to work, but doing at home is completely doable with some effort.

 

Ablative paints work great and give you a textured bottom that actually makes the boat slip easier than a polished hull. But most ablatives cannot be used over eopxy. A potential gotcha. And most epoxies have to come off and then use a barrier coat to make their reapplication permanent. Ablative is a quick wash, scuff and reapply. makes it far easier IMO for next time.

 

Dave

 

Dave, thanks for the input! I fixed a few blisters in the spring just to see what I had and they seam to be between the gel coat and the glass without permeating into the fiberglass itself. These blisters are smaller than a quarter and many are smaller than a dime or clusters of "pimples". I'll find out more when I start removing them but if the glass is solid should I just leave it alone and just fix the gel coat? I used my die grinder with a sanding disc to grind/sand them out, I think a dremel will give me better control though.

 

Are you suggesting no "seal coat", maybe I mean barrier coat? I thought that would prevent future blisters by sealing the permeable gel coat. Or is there a different non epoxy sealer I should use? I didn't realize I could put the antifoul (ablative) paint over the epoxy, that's good to know. I'm hoping if I can coat it well and seal it up I will have minimal repairs to do in the future, just top up the antifoul paint once in a while. The boat spends 4 months/year in fresh water and the other 8 on the trailer.

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The blisters must be ground out back to good material. A sanding disc on a 4-1/2" grinder makes this quick. A small angle grinder with 2-3 discs works equally as well. I use a 6:1 ratio typically on small blisters. Meaning you grind out 6" for every 1" of defect. This sghould be deepest in the middle, tapering out to the edges. Think of a cone. Then layup 2oz mat followed by biaxial. then back to mat. I end with mat below the finished surface. The layup can be done 2 ways, but my preference is to lay up circles of mat, strating with the largest diamter. As you layup more layers, the diameter must shrink to stay in the repair area. This will be a structurally sound repair.

 

After is completely kicked, you can remove the rouge from the epoxy and prep for gelcoat. I sand for mechanical adhesion and actually sand into the good gelcoat. Again, you want to blend the depth and feather out.

 

Use laminating gelcoat only. Once you have built up to above the original height, allow it kick for about 20-30 minutes depending on temp. Then I use a Preval sprayer for small repirs or a cheap harbor freight gun for larger repairs. Mix up some PVA and spray it over the repair area extanding past all the new gel. Let it sit overnight.

 

The next day it will be set hard. Rinse with ordinary tap water to get the PVA off.

 

Now, use a block, paint stick as a block, ect and sand for final height and blend the edges.

 

Easy.

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Regarding sealing. It's a debated topic. But, there can be no blisters where there are no voids.

 

The way I have outlined allows for future repairs from moisture entering the inside of the boat and blistering the gel. So, no, I would use no sealer. Once allt eh blisters have been properly repaired, you won't see any more. It's caused from a faulty layup process, not osmosis.

 

Dave

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Thanks Dave. This weekend I'll try and get the remainder of the algae and scuzz off the bottom so I can have a better look at what I'm dealing with. Then get it up on blocks and stands so I can work on it, that will be the tricky part.

I'm not sure how would I get moisture entering the inside of the boat or what the path is for this to blister the gel. Is it from water in the bilge permeating back through the fiberglass (from inside to outside)? The bilge stays dry all summer, and we really don't get much humidity. It does look like a lot of what I have is caused by voids that existed during the initial built/layup process. There are even a few above the water line that look like a chip but are clearly from a void that finally flaked away the gel coat.

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It can come from the face if there are any voids, cracks, ect. Usually, it comes in through the layers between the gel and a surface defect. Or through a drilled and sealed hole. and perforation in the hull is a potential leak.

 

Any way you slice it, moisture gets into the voids and they create the blisters. So, removal of the void area is the only fix. Epoxy is the best of the fixes, but I have used standard Poly and had great results. When they build the boats, they just don't get that first layer of mat in tight to the gel. Or, they use a tricore and they do not get enough resin in contact with the gel.

 

About 10 years ago my buddy was working on a Bayliner Sunbridge. Same thing, first bottom paint and it was covered with blisters. Come to find out, they never removed the PVA and the gel literally could be peeled off. We had to remove and recoaty the entire bottom with gelcoat.

 

Small repairs are easy enough to do. By now, you should have as many blisters as you are going to have.

 

Dave

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Mike, you may want to check out the rolling and tipping method of painting your hull. I have seen 3 boats done using the Perfection two part paint. Was skeptical before, but am sold on the product and this popular method.

It takes some organization of tools and good timing,but the result is astoundingly nice.

 

I have attached one video to wet your interest. Redoing the gel-coating is slowly becoming something the average guy can't do for cost and equipment requirements.

I have done the gel coat on two boats and that would no longer be my choice of options .

 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=bK9Zcm543x0

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That's an above waterline paint. And IIRC, it's not suggested to be continously submerged.

 

I looked at one of those options myself on my last boat. I was going to seal and bottom paint. Gelcoat repair and antifouling was the easiest solution in my case.

 

Dave

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Glad my current boat is a welded aluminum model and I don't have to worry about the paint too much.

I used some John Deere Graphite paint on the below waterline to help slide off trailer and off the gravel bars I put the boat on. Tough enough for my application for the past 5 years.. Unfortunately it wouldn't work too well for Mike's pretty lake cruiser..

Is anti fouling paint really necessary in freshwater?

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Not really. Some guys prefer it to keep freshwater marine growth at bay. But standard antifouling will not work in freshwater and is even forbidden in some water systems. The Copper is getting phased out, but still has some nasties in it that should not be in fresh water.

 

And the paint will usually become ineffective anyway.

 

The industrial paints are very hard coatings. They are tough!!

 

And just another tidbit, they do make antifouling paints specific to Aluminum boats. Standard antifouling paints will cause accelerated corrosion on aluminum boats. So, tin based coatings are the norm. Again, they are restricted in some areas and many marinas do not allow them. It'll kill most anything! But sealing the aluminum is usually the best bet.

 

Dave

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I guess I have more research to do. After some initial research my plan was to fix up the hull then use the barrier coat to seal the hull and stop any further osmosis issues. Maybe what I should do is just fix it all up like Dave said and see how it looks at the end of next season. Will save me about $800-1k in paint. I don't think much has ever been fixed on the bottom.

 

I do need something to help with the growth though. At the start of the season 3000RPM=30mph, at the end of the season it was more like 27mph. My neighbors boat has bottom paint that seams to rub off as it gets growth on it, taking the growth with it. It was there when he bought the boat though.

 

Thanks for all your input fellas.

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My boat doesn't sit in the water. If I am not fishing it ,it's on the trailer. Three times a year it's in salt,the rest in freshwater.

No need for antifouling paint at all. I do have shark hide on above waterline bare aluminum.

That is working fine for me. It pays to do your research before venturing out on a path you think might be the right option.

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My preference is ablative bottom paint.

 

You use your boat like I do. A few months moored, then on the trailer. So, a multi season paint is required. Some paints lose the ability to protect once out of the water.

 

So, you have two real choices.

 

Hard paints such add the epoxies. And ablative or soft paints. The hard paints tend to favor really fast boats. Ablative wears as your boat moves through the water.

 

I do not like epoxy bottom paint. Once the antifouling material is depleted, you are left with a hard to remove epoxy. This may sound good, but you usually have to remove the bulk of leftover material to recoat.

 

The ablative on the other hand is always wearing. That's why most boats have one color for the base coat and another for the top coats. You can easily seed when is time to recoat when the first color shows through. And is a simple sand (scuff) and paint affair.

 

There are also hybrid paints. But a good quality bottom paint applied properly can really take the work out of owning a boat.

 

My top speed was 1mph better than when I put my boat in. Probably due to being 70 gallons of fuel lighter. But the lack of marine growth after four months was evident. Half an hour with a pressure washer when I got home and it was ready to put away for the winter.

 

There are lots of choices for paint. I ordinal like the Interlux Micron 66. It's a self polishing paint that trends to hold up well on planning hulls. But there's lots of choices. I just prefer Interlux products.

 

Do lots of research, make a plan and then stick to it. You'll be far happier in the end.

 

Dave

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My boat doesn't sit in the water. If I am not fishing it ,it's on the trailer. Three times a year it's in salt,the rest in freshwater.

No need for antifouling paint at all. I do have shark hide on above waterline bare aluminum.

That is working fine for me. It pays to do your research before venturing out on a path you think might be the right option.

Sorry about the highjack but Steve how do you like the Sharkhide? I am thinking about getting the cleaner polish and coating to do the duckworth this winter. I like the reviews and what I have seen from pictures but I don't have any first hand info.

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Well worth the effort..it has held up nicely..the salt water hasn't been able to get to the aluminum yet.

I do rinse it with a product called Salt Away and also flush the engines with it. Killer good..

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Well worth the effort..it has held up nicely..the salt water hasn't been able to get to the aluminum yet.

I do rinse it with a product called Salt Away and also flush the engines with it. Killer good..

 

Cool thanks for the info!

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The hardest thing I found was getting the hull clean. But acid etching followed by polishing seemed to have great results.

 

Dave

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Spent a good part of the day laying in the gravel under my boat with a scrub brush, sprayer and power washer. Wasn't much fun but it looks much better now. Tried many different "highly recommended" cleaners. Bleach in gel format worked the best by far. Will have to clean under the bunks when I figure out how I'm gonna get it up off the trailer.

Drained the motors, and winterized the cabin too.

 

Glad I used 12x14 doors.

CC9C2B20-678B-42DF-9EA3-37DD3612E90C.jpg

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There are some pretty effective spray on cleaners. Mostly it's the ocalic acid that does the trick. The same stuff used to remove rust stains from decks and such. This will often remove the color. And it's usually available at hardware stores in quarts and gallons. I apply with a garden sprayer.

 

The bleach/water solution is really good for killing the little buggers that hang out on the hull.

 

And I have had to use scrapers and the like to get everything off. I have even used a piece of pine 1x2 before as a soft scraper.

 

Sometimes you have to get creative.

 

Dave

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Here is a Pic of my boat getting painted

 

The guy picked it up by the cleats with four chain falls

Cool, that'd be a good way for me to rip 4 cleats off the boat.

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Here is a Pic of my boat getting painted

 

The guy picked it up by the cleats with four chain falls

That is one beautiful boat Dave!!!!

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