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Old 01-19-2008, 06:50 AM   #1
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Painting with Awlgrip

I recently finished painting my boat with Awlgrip and thought I would share some infromation with the forum.

I painted the house, all decks, gunnels, swim platform*and a stripe on the hull between the caprail and the rub rail. The project took 7 months. I went through 3 painters before I got one that really knew what he was doing. All work was done by myself and the painter with an ocassional friend or son helping to sand. (ran out of friends and kids quickly).

The paint, with the exception of the inside of the flybridge was rolled and tipped. Everyone that sees the boat thinks the whole thing was sprayed. The boat was painted in the slip at my marina, except for the stripe and the swim platform*that was painted when the boat was hauled to do the bottom. The inside of the flybridge was turned into a paintbooth and sprayed with Awlcraft 2000. The rest of the boat was painted with Awlgrip #1 (the origional Awlgrip). The decks were painted with the same material, but a different color.

My decks were paint over an origional sprayed gelcoat texture. Needless to say they were peeling. The decks had to be ground down and faired. This was the messiest and most time consuming part of the job.

The house was painted Matterhorn White. Awlgrip paints have a tremendous amount of clear in them, that is why they look so shiny. But*the white paints do not cover very well.* My boat had been painted sometime in the past and had been primed with grey primer. Even though everything was sanded and primed with white primer you would still end up sanding through to the grey. It will take 3 coats of the white to keep the grey from bleeding through.

A few observations from my project:
Rolling and tiping can be learned in a couple of hours.
Mix your paint or primer at least 1 hour before you will be painting
Final sanding before painting is with 400 grit, using a random orbital sander. Look closely at your work it must be perfectly smooth to look good.
The key to using Awlgrip is chemistry.
The Awlgrip system consists of 4 things. The paint, converter, reducer. (used brushing reducer) and acellerator.
Because I'm in central Florida and its winter we were constantly adjusting the paint. Because the days were getting short we had to use acellerator. Unacellerated Awlgrip will take about 16 hours to dry at 70 degrees. If dew hits the paint before it dries it will blush and have to be repainted. If it rains before it dries your screwed. (the paint craters and is a real PITA to sand because it is so hard.)* The basic mixture is 2 to 1 paint to converter. 33% brushing reducer (by volume) and 2 to 4 DROPS of acellerator for approx 1/2 gallon of mixed paint.* The amount of acellerator will change depending on temperature. Cooler temps. require more acellerator etc.

We would start painting, if the brush was dragging during the tip, 1 capfull of reducer*was added untill the brush would go smoothly.

Another point, my window frames were black. I painted them white due to the amount of heat the black absorbs here in Florida. I am looking forward to less window problems in the future.

Painting the decks was done as follows:
Mix the paint as usual but ad additional acellerator. Roll approximatly 10 sq ft. Using a cup spray gun spray Awlgrip non skid on the wet paint. Continue
doing one area at a time until* all the deck you are doing is done. When finished, keep checking paint untill it is pretty well set up. (won't take a finger print with pressure) Roll a second coat of paint on top of first coat. (Note: if you don't wait long enough the non skid will pick up). On the second coat because of the cool temps and late time of day (2pm) we added about 10 drops of acellerator to about a quart of paint.

Because of the dew here we would spend an hour to an hour and a half drying the boat every morning. Awlgrip cannot be painted on a surface with any moisture. Always wipe the surface you are painting with denatured alcohol.* Always tack rag before painting. Awlgrip stops drying if the temp drops below 60, so we had to keep track of what overnight temps would be and adjust the paint accordingly or not paint on that day.

I hope this helps anyone thinking of taking on this project. I think I have hit the main issues. One other point I'll make is that I had 2 estimates. One was $68,000 the other was $70,000. Both required the boat to be in dry dock, with no estimate of how long. I live on my boat and would have had to move to land. The yard would also have charged me for yard space. ( the closest yard would have been $25 per day.) The job cost me about 1/2 of that including paying the painters hourly rate and materials. Materials costs was about $2300.
Total cost including New stainless for the rub rail and Aluminum around house top was $33,000.
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Old 01-19-2008, 07:24 AM   #2
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RE: Painting with Awlgrip

Great post! I'm wondering though about the difference between the $2300 materials cost (paint only) and the final cost of $33,000. I know the new metal was expensive, but without that, what would have been the cost of the paint job, and what* major costs were involved with just that part, other than the raw materials?
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Old 01-19-2008, 09:25 AM   #3
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Painting with Awlgrip

Keith,

The major cost of the project was the painter that I hired. He had 30 years of experience and I paid him $40.00 per hour. He actually prefers that the owner work with him because as he says then there is no question on how many hours he actually spent working on the project. The metal was about $550. The paint materials included 3 different colors, white and grey primer, converter, reducer, primer converter, acellerator for primer and for paint. Plus sand paper, rubber gloves, dust masks, non skid, filtering funnels, dozens of mixing pots, denatured alcohol, lacqer thinner, roller covers, paint brushes, paint rags, tack rags etc.

The hourly rate for experienced painters ranged from $30 to $65 per hour. Some also charged travel time. My painter spent about 1 1/2 hrs per day in travel but did not charge travel time. At the end of each week I was presented with a bill that had each day that he worked and a summary of what was done on that day and the number of hours spent. Most weeks we worked a 7 day week. We generally started at 7:00am and were done for the day by 3:00pm.

I highly recommend on a major project like this that you have an experienced painter work with you. If you are just doing a small area or just decks etc. you could do it by yourself.
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Old 01-19-2008, 11:57 AM   #4
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RE: Painting with Awlgrip

The last time we pulled I and a painter roll/tipped the entire hull of the Eagle for 2 grand.* I used BrightSide single part as its easy to apply, match and feather in.* I found a painter that was willing to work with me.*** I tried the two part paints and they are too hard to work with and are hard to repair/match.***Besides its the prep and primer that is the real protection NOT the gloss top coat.

*
I did all the grunt work of taping, sanding and priming, sanding and priming, sanding and priming until he was satisfied. It took about 4 days with *an orbital sander first with 80/100 grit to get the dirt/gunk off and sand out the paint marks of the previous paint job, epoxy the owies, then sand down the epoxy and some areas with again, than sanded the whole boat with 150 grit.* The 2 coats of primer covered and went back over with 240 grit lightly. Until the entire hull was blinding flat white and I looked like a Geisha girl.**

*
The painter, his assistant and I painted the entire hull in about 4 hours with one coat*gloss/finish which was applied just enough to cover the dull primer.* Primwe*is the real protection, not the final coat.* The painter and assistant did the rolling tipping and I move the scuffles and handed things to them, so they could continue to work.* I paid the painter 500 bucks to inspect and 1 grand to roll and tip the hull **

*
The SECRET/TRICK is the float/texture of the paint and use plenty a brush liquid to thin and slow the drying time.** I have found you can not use the paint straight out of the can but must thin down.* Most top paints flatten and flow well, like finger nail polish.* To get the idea of the get a new bottle of finger nail polish as it flows and flattens to leave that gloss shine.* How do I know well that is another story, and why we own the Eagle?****

*
In the three years I have repaired and/or repainted sever area, the biggest was the bow when the run about came loose and banged/gouged the hull for sever hours,** where the fenders rub all winter, and in the stern where the dink/run about left scuffed marks. Last year a friend and I roll and tipped his 35 ft hull, in about 2 hours, after he and his wife did the grunt work until it met MY satisfaction.* Cost about 200 bucks.* So it does not cost much if you do it your self.

Well, got to go out in the gloom rain and get my laundry, grocery shopping before my wife wakes up. I try to avoid her for at least the first Ĺ hour after she wakes up.*
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Old 01-19-2008, 04:31 PM   #5
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Painting with Awlgrip

We used interlux brightside paint and it chaulked very badly after only two years. It was a waste of effort to do all the sanding and then put crap paint on. We will NEVER use interlux brightside again! J Spence has the right idea, use good paint in spite of the cost. Thanks Jim, good tutorial.
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Old 01-19-2008, 08:28 PM   #6
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Painting with Awlgrip

A member of our yacht club who has a 40' fiberglass sailboat in the slip across from ours is starting to repaint the boat after many years of use. He used to be one of the engineers at Uniflite and realliy knows what he's doing when it comes to working on boats. He and his wife are spraying his boat in the slip. He's using a small spray gun and the end result is terrific and the work (once the surface prep is done) goes very fast. WAY faster than rolling and tipping and the end result is virtually flawless. Someday we hope to have the time to paint our boat, and when that time comes, I would tend at this point to use the spraying technique our friend is using.
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Old 01-20-2008, 04:27 AM   #7
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Painting with Awlgrip

Marin,
Do you know what kind of paint and what kind of spray equipment he is using.
When we sprayed the flybridge interior We used what a body shop would call a jam gun (used for painting door jams). We had the flybridge enclosed with plastic except at the back and I could not believe the amount of overspray that was coming out the back.

But even at that the stainless hand rails that were about 4 ft back did not get any paint on them. The paint was basically dust by the time it got to them. I'm curious because if I ever have to do a major blend I'd spray it.
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Old 01-20-2008, 08:36 AM   #8
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RE: Painting with Awlgrip

Geeze, I wish I knew where you guys were doing your painting. Here in LA Harbor, just start masking off like you're going to prep/paint while still in the water, and you'll have representatives from every law enforcement and environmental agency in the area crawling up your sphincter with a microscope.
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Old 01-20-2008, 07:56 PM   #9
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Jim---

I don't know but I'll ask him. It's a small gun, powered by a small compressor he brings down from home. The paint container is maybe 1-1/2 times the size of a pop can. I believe he is using Brightside but I could be mistaken. His wife mixes up the next batch while he is spraying the previous batch. Brightside is a one-part paint, but maybe "mixing up" just means thinning it out to the proper ratio for spraying. I know Brightside is tougher than Toplac. We've used both Brightside and Toplac on the window frames of our boat and while the Toplac has a little more gloss and goes on a tiny bit smoother, we're finding that the Brightside outlasts it on the exterior of the boat. Interlux's usage chart recommends Brightside over Toplac for higher wear areas.

Chuck---

So far there do not seem to be any enforced regulations as to what you can do on your boat in its slip. Sanding, redoing brightwork, and painting are all okay. During the better weather months (we have no GOOD weather months up here) a huge percentage of the 2000-plus boats in our marina are having something done to them in their slips.

In fact a fellow several slips away from us who has an Island Gypsy removed his teak deck, sanded down the fiberglass subdeck, and installed a new fiberglass deck this last summer. There have been occasions when people with steel boats have done some grinding and welding in their slips. However, the grinding is very noisy so they keep this work to a minimum.

Like most marinas and harbors in the PNW. BC and SE Alaska, our marina used to have a gridiron aka tidal grid. The grid is still in place but it was permanently closed in 1993 according to the sign. This was done for environmental reasons, and I believe none of the harbors in Puget Sound have operating tidal grids anymore. They still use them in BC and, I believe, in SE Alaska.

Our marina outlawed the cleaning of boat bottoms by divers a couple of years ago. Divers can change zincs, change props, work on underwater hardware, clear water intakes, and knock off barnacles but they cannot scrub down a bottom underwater anymore. A lot of people in this area, including us, use ablative bottom paint, and wiping down the bottom puts clouds of "stuff" into the water.

The environmental regulations affecting local boatyards have also toughened up to the point where all power-wash water from cleaning boat bottoms when they're in the slings must be captured and filtered. All scrapings, sandings, grindings, etc. from boat hulls on the stands must be cleaned up and disposed of as hazardous waste. Basically this means putting a big tarp under the boat when it's on stands.

But so far we can sand and paint and varnish and wash and polish to our heart's content.

-- Edited by Marin at 20:59, 2008-01-20
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Old 01-20-2008, 09:59 PM   #10
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RE: Painting with Awlgrip

Jim,
Thanks for a great post! I have read a couple of articles recently about roll and tip and this sounds like my way of handling the paintjob I need.. Our vessel was built in a Chung Hwa yard and has been painted at least once since 1983. White..... Any idea of what shade of white to start with in trying to match the color?
Also- for minor body work- did you have to use any Bondo type fillers? Which did you choose?

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Old 01-20-2008, 10:05 PM   #11
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Painting with Awlgrip

Mr. Lift,
Awlgrip has a give away paint chart with all their colors. They have about 6 whites. Each square of color has a hole in the middle to help you match but what ever white I picked to match our boat, the Admiral said I was wrong....
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Old 01-20-2008, 10:19 PM   #12
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RE: Painting with Awlgrip

When I was a photographer, I learnt there were 156 official shades of white, so you had no chance of picking the right one.
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Old 01-21-2008, 05:03 AM   #13
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Painting with Awlgrip

Hi Steve,

I do not like bondo for boat repairs. I don't think that it sticks as well as other products and its dark color is hard to cover with either white paint or primer. It also seems to always get a lot of pin holes. I used West Systems epoxy. I had 2 major cracks on each side on the decks at coring seams. I dish ground those out and used WS and glass mat to repair. All cracks I used a Dremel tool with a round carbide burr to trace the crack down into the fiberglass (through the gelcoat). This gave me a channel in the gelcoat about 1/8" wide. I then used WS with a fairing filler mixed like peanut butter to fill. I used WS with a slow hardner and fairing filler mixed like mayonaise to fair the decks after grinding. The slow hardner gave me plenty of time to work but due to cool temps you couldn't sand until the next day. I also used 3M painters Putty on pin holes and very small shallow areas. (dings of less that 3/8")

On another subject, Non Skid. I had heard of using every thing from sand to ground walnut shells for non skid. I used the Awlgrip nonskid because it actually is designed to absorb paint. The Idea is that it doesn't change color as it eventually wears down.

By the way I learned my fibergalssing from owning, racing and showing Corvettes. That was an expensive hobby that I actually got some good skills out of.
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Old 01-21-2008, 06:04 AM   #14
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RE: Painting with Awlgrip

One of the problems with matching colors is metamorism... different lighting conditions reflect different wavelengths. Direct sunlight will produce one color, cloudy conditions will produce another. Artificial light like fluorescent, sodium vapor, mercury vapor, incandescent, etc. will all produce different reflections. Color matching is dammed hard!!!
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Old 01-21-2008, 11:24 AM   #15
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There are several two-part fillers for dings in gelcoat, etc. The fellow I mentioned who is repainting his topsides with a spray gun used one of these putty-like fillers to fill and fair all the various dings and chips the boat had acquired over the years. I do not know which particular brand he used, but it wasn't Bondo. Bondo does not hold up in a marine environment and should never be used for a quality, permanent repair.

As I said, this guy was a Uniflite engineer so I suspect he used the same sort of filler they used in the new-boat manufacturing business.
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Old 01-30-2008, 09:01 PM   #16
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Painting with Awlgrip

Yes, a great post.

I have been through a few hull paintings and a lot of cabin and inner bulwark repaintings since I bought the boat in 1986. Being all wood, a certain amount of flexing is always going on, and the hull seams work enough that I need at least some touch-up in the bevel joints after a few years.

I like the paint to be as glossy as possible; so that means an exacting prep.

I first repainted with Z-Spar single-part enamel. Oh my God, what a chalky mistake! Didn't last a year in the San Diego sun before chalking.

Next up was Z-Spar two-part which lasted much better, but was difficult to get right when rolling and tipping. I had the hull sprayed with this stuff twice, once in about 1992-3 and again in about 1999 (too many Power Squadron raft-ups). The paint was holding up well in both cases, but there was enought wear in places and craking around some seams that it was cosmetically better to do the whole hull.

Finally, about 7 years ago I discovered Awlgrip linear polyeurathane and have been quite satisfied since. Except for the hull and outsides of the bulwarks, I tend to repaint smallish areas using no more than a pint in any single session.

When I decided to repaint the hull in 2004, I built a paint float out of 55-gallon drums and did the job at my pier. Prep took two weeks. With the admiral helping to guide the float, it took 45 minutes to do a side, from boot top to cap rail.

I must admit that I do not adhere to Jim's exacting (and quite correct) procedures re: rolling and tipping, but no stranger we meet ever guesses correctly that this boat is not a fiberglass vessel or that the paint work is not sprayed.

I mix the paint about 15-30 minutes before use, never use accelerator (mild winter days in the FL panhandle is when I paint) big jobs), and more or less guess at the reducer used (usually very little).

Most of all, I do not tip, just roll. I get away with this on the hull because painting individual strakes means I have a lot of individual areas instead of a broad creaseless fiberglass expanse to cover. You need competent help to roll and tip well, and since I almost always work alone or short-handed with just the admiral to help at a few critical points. Besides, I am a lousy tipper too - I cannot avoid brush strokes for some reason.

I use the Red Tree foam roller covers found in West Marine (yellow ones) and roll and roll and roll over the initial area until the bubbles disappear. Once the roller is "tuned up," it's AWAY we go down the hull.

Including the barrels and other materials for my paint float, my two to four coats of Awlgrip (the broad bulwark areas were hard to get perfect) over primer cost me $500.
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Old 01-31-2008, 05:18 AM   #17
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Bondo is not even water resistant , never mind water proof.

To fair or fill epoxy and microbaloons is a far longer lasting method.

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Old 10-02-2012, 12:54 PM   #18
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Awl grip is a nightmare. Hard to touch up, and need lot of drying time brush or spray.
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Old 10-02-2012, 02:02 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boatman harry View Post
Awl grip is a nightmare. Hard to touch up, and need lot of drying time brush or spray.
We'll finish today or tomorrow painting the hull with Awlgrip Awlcraft 2000. For the reasons you mentioned, it is probably why most painters I talked to are using it vs regular Awlgrip. Drying time is very fast. Two plus coats were sprayed on in less than 3 hours. Because of the fast drying time rolling and tipping is not recommended. It's not as hard regular Awlgrip but it is relatively easy to touch up and can be buffed. It is an acrylic urethane vs Alwgrip Topcoat which is a linear aliphatic polyester polyurethane. As with any painting project, it all seems to be in the prep.
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Old 10-02-2012, 03:15 PM   #20
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I use 3m Marine Glazing Putty. It is about the consistency of tooth paste one part and easy to work with. It is white so it wont show through. A 1 lb tube was $17
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