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Old 12-01-2012, 09:03 PM   #1
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Painting diamond crosshatched non-skid

Our boat uses raised, molded areas of crosshatching on portions of the deck to achieve a non-skid surface. It appears that the gelcoat is wearing thin in the grooves between the little pyramid shaped bumps, as a light blue color is showing in some places. I'm trying to decide if it's best to use thinned gelcoat, or a two part urethane, or maybe Awlgrip. Gloss is not a concern as the crosshatching breaks up the reflected light anyway. In fact I'd probably add a bit of flattener if I used paint. By the way, the flat surfaces adjacent to the non-skid are fine...good gloss, no apparent wear, so I'd mask it off.

I'm thinking a roller, or even a brush might pool the paint/gelcoat in the crevaces between the crosshatching and ruin the crisp appearance. So maybe spraying might be the way to go? Has anyone dealt with this? Thanks.
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Old 12-01-2012, 09:31 PM   #2
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Best paint I've found non skid "Pads" is H&C Concrete Stain, tape the area and roll away. We did it 7 years ago and it still looks good. Will probably apply fresh coat this year. Paint is very thin and does not pool or fill in the cross hatching. Paint comes in 2 flavors, water based or solvent based. We used the solvent base, (Xylene) it dries in an hour and nothing bothers it, bleach, diesel, red wine, etc. It comes premixed in several colors, we used Bombay which is a darker tan. I thought about this product after having it on a swimming pool deck fro 5 years with twice a year pressure washing and spilled chemicals and it still looks like new. Go figure. The only problem I'm aware of is that Xylene doesn't like other paints applied over it, so I'm committed to that type of paint on my non skid.
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:02 PM   #3
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Best paint I've found non skid "Pads" is H&C Concrete Stain, tape the area and roll away. We did it 7 years ago and it still looks good. Will probably apply fresh coat this year. Paint is very thin and does not pool or fill in the cross hatching. Paint comes in 2 flavors, water based or solvent based. We used the solvent base, (Xylene) it dries in an hour and nothing bothers it, bleach, diesel, red wine, etc. It comes premixed in several colors, we used Bombay which is a darker tan. I thought about this product after having it on a swimming pool deck fro 5 years with twice a year pressure washing and spilled chemicals and it still looks like new. Go figure. The only problem I'm aware of is that Xylene doesn't like other paints applied over it, so I'm committed to that type of paint on my non skid.
They make a lot of products, what are you using?
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Old 12-04-2012, 06:42 AM   #4
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I used thethe H&C Xylene base product in premixed color "Bombay" from Lowes. It runs about $26.00 per gallon, you will also need Xylene thinner for cleanup, thinning and spills or drips.
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Old 12-04-2012, 07:24 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by skidgear View Post
Our boat uses raised, molded areas of crosshatching on portions of the deck to achieve a non-skid surface. It appears that the gelcoat is wearing thin in the grooves between the little pyramid shaped bumps, as a light blue color is showing in some places. I'm trying to decide if it's best to use thinned gelcoat, or a two part urethane, or maybe Awlgrip. Gloss is not a concern as the crosshatching breaks up the reflected light anyway. In fact I'd probably add a bit of flattener if I used paint. By the way, the flat surfaces adjacent to the non-skid are fine...good gloss, no apparent wear, so I'd mask it off.

I'm thinking a roller, or even a brush might pool the paint/gelcoat in the crevaces between the crosshatching and ruin the crisp appearance. So maybe spraying might be the way to go? Has anyone dealt with this? Thanks.
Skidgear, how about repairing the non skid? I have some crazing and one area that is very worn on my nonskid and think I will attempt Gibco flexmold for the repair when it is time.
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Old 12-04-2012, 08:52 AM   #6
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I used thethe H&C Xylene base product in premixed color "Bombay" from Lowes. It runs about $26.00 per gallon, you will also need Xylene thinner for cleanup, thinning and spills or drips.
There products are for concrete, are you sure about their compatability with gel-coat or paint on the existing non-skid? How did you prep the area before painting?
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Old 12-04-2012, 09:05 AM   #7
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Our boat uses raised, molded areas of crosshatching on portions of the deck to achieve a non-skid surface. It appears that the gelcoat is wearing thin in the grooves between the little pyramid shaped bumps, as a light blue color is showing in some places..
It's hard to imagine the surface wearing in the groves, because contact from shoes, etc. would be on the high spots, not in between them. Are you certain it's not a stain of some sort?
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:35 AM   #8
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At first I thought it was a stain and made the problem worse by scrubbing with some fairly harsh cleaner. Definitely not a wear issue from foot traffic as it's mostly in the grooves. It's only happening on the bow deck areas where the sun really hammers it. I've seen the same thing on some other older Ocean Alexanders.

I sent a message to the Ocean Alexander yard in Seattle and they forwarded it to Taiwan. Johnny Chu...the son of Alexander Chu responded! (Try that with another Taiwan brand). Anyway, he said their records on older boats are not very complete, but that it was his recollection that these non-skid pads were applied on some boats after the initial deckhouse molding process. He wasn't clear as to whether the surface was painted or gel-coated, but he did give me the manufacturer and color of the gelcoat they used during construction. It looks like gelcoat to me and it appears to have been very thin in the depressions between the bumps in some of the "pad" sections. No issues on the flat sections of the deck.

By the way, for OA owners out there...the yard in Seattle are the go-to people for this brand. They've helped me out with tech questions on numerous occasions.
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:53 AM   #9
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At first I thought it was a stain and made the problem worse by scrubbing with some fairly harsh cleaner. Definitely not a wear issue from foot traffic as it's mostly in the grooves. It's only happening on the bow deck areas where the sun really hammers it.
If you haven't already, try Starbrite Non-Skid Deck cleaner. If that doesn't help, try one of the acid based "hull cleaners". Starbrite makes one of these as well. If neither of these works, you have a problem and need to recoat somehow.

I watch people sprinkling Ajax or Comet cleanser on their boats and have to just shake my head (I hope you didn't do that). These abrasives will make the boat look good for a while, but in the long term, they are ruining their gelcoat. Even that well known and liked "Bar Keepers Friend" is abrasive.
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Old 12-04-2012, 11:23 AM   #10
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If you haven't already, try Starbrite Non-Skid Deck cleaner. If that doesn't help, try one of the acid based "hull cleaners". Starbrite makes one of these as well. If neither of these works, you have a problem and need to recoat somehow.

I watch people sprinkling Ajax or Comet cleanser on their boats and have to just shake my head (I hope you didn't do that). These abrasives will make the boat look good for a while, but in the long term, they are ruining their gelcoat. Even that well known and liked "Bar Keepers Friend" is abrasive.

I used Roll Off...no abrasives...ever. There's no doubt the surface coating is eroding.
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Old 12-04-2012, 05:28 PM   #11
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Anyone familiar with boats knows gel coat oxidizes and washes off...in areas such as molded tread areas the gel coat thickness varies widely...could be wearing thin from just washing/scrubbing/oxidizing.

Makes me giggle to think that various cleaners do more harm than the sun unless you are scrubbing hard every week or so...

If you think it's wearing thin then another thin coat of gel coat is the ticket...if you don't feel like gel coating, any decent paint will do the trick especially if do a slightly different shade to offset the non-skid area.
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Old 12-04-2012, 06:18 PM   #12
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I had previously used H&C on an acrylic pool deck and had great results. I figured anything that stands up to pool traffic and chemicals in addition to sun, rain, etc. had to be tuff. So I tried on the non skid. Scrub a small area, wiped with acetone and did a test area. Worked great no chemical reaction, then did the fly bridge area. It dries within an hour, taped off the rest of the boat and did all non skid areas. After six years it still looked great. We just finished re gel coating the fly bridge and have decided to repaint the non skid again with H&C.
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Old 12-04-2012, 07:06 PM   #13
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Great thread and great info from all. It's really great timing since I'm approaching that decision myself. I love the bit of contrast and reduction in glare that the tan colors add to the deck, even if it brings a bit more temp rise in Florida sun. Thanks for the share.
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Old 12-04-2012, 07:24 PM   #14
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Anyone familiar with boats knows gel coat oxidizes and washes off...in areas such as molded tread areas the gel coat thickness varies widely...could be wearing thin from just washing/scrubbing/oxidizing.

Makes me giggle to think that various cleaners do more harm than the sun unless you are scrubbing hard every week or so...

If you think it's wearing thin then another thin coat of gel coat is the ticket...if you don't feel like gel coating, any decent paint will do the trick especially if do a slightly different shade to offset the non-skid area.
No I don't scrub it all that much, nor do I normally use strong cleaners...plain old boat wash. It's mostly oxidation in thin areas as you say. I think you're right about gelcoat....especially since I want to keep everything white. By the way, I also sent a question to the Awlgrip tech line and they just responded that gelcoat would be better...at least compared to their product as it requires two coats of primer before application....would create a fair amount of build up. Next trick is to match the white...but at least I got the original brand/shade from my new good buddy, Mr. "Ocean Alexander" Chu. Is that cool or what....wonder if he'd cut me a special deal on the new 120 footer....

Thanks everyone for the comments.
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Old 12-05-2012, 09:27 AM   #15
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............. Makes me giggle to think that various cleaners do more harm than the sun unless you are scrubbing hard every week or so....
Doesn't take much, does it.

I've seen bathroom fixtures where the porcelain has been worn off by using abrasive cleaners such as Ajax and Comet. Porcelain is far harder than gelcoat.

Anyone familiar with boats would know not to use an abrasive cleaner on gelcoat.
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Old 12-05-2012, 11:44 AM   #16
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Doesn't take much, does it.

I've seen bathroom fixtures where the porcelain has been worn off by using abrasive cleaners such as Ajax and Comet. Porcelain is far harder than gelcoat.

Anyone familiar with boats would know not to use an abrasive cleaner on gelcoat.
people around boats a lot know that once gel coat oxidizes...not much is going to slow the process unless you catch it early with buffing/wet sanding and keep it waxed and out of the sun..at that point abrasives are like buffing any how and painting/regelling is in the cards anyway....
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Old 12-05-2012, 12:55 PM   #17
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people around boats a lot know that once gel coat oxidizes...not much is going to slow the process unless you catch it early with buffing/wet sanding and keep it waxed and out of the sun..at that point abrasives are like buffing any how and painting/regelling is in the cards anyway....
Yup, that's what we're doing on a 25 year old boat. The gel-coat was so far gone that nothing lasted more than a few weeks. The non skid on the fore-deck, Awlgrip non-skid. Everything else, new gel-coat. The boat decks, surprisingly, the non-skid is in good shape, we're gel-coating everything else. Worse case, we'll sand the non-skid smooth and use Awlgrip non-skid later. We looked at our options on the non-skid and it was either keep what we had or sand and paint.

The first picture is after the gel coat has been sprayed on the fore-deck. When the sanding is complete, the non-skid areas will be sanded smooth then Awlgrip non-skid applied. On the boat deck we laid down paper and card board to protect the non-skid. The other pictures are work in progress on the new gel-coat.
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