Painting topsides

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Woodsong

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Bayliner 4550 Pilothouse
I am almost crazy enough to start thinking of doing this myself on our Monk. *I have NEVER painted a boat. *I am pretty darn handy though and do a pretty good job painting the walls at the house for my wife. *
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I've been planning on taking the boat down to a yard to get it done but I've already got the paint in hand. *The worse part of the boat is really just the flybridge fiberglass. *Previous owner had sanded, primed, and then sanded again. *The primer turned yellow so the exterior of the flybridge fiberglass is all splotchy and it really drives me nuts to see her looking like the ugly duckling. *
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So how hard is it to get the paint just right? *I've got the interlux perfection 2 part paint. *I most likely am just going to stick to my plan of having the yard do it but as I sit and look at the mountain of Christmas gifts my wife has sitting under the tree right now and I contemplate their cumulative financial cost, the idea of saving an additional few thousand dollars sounds mildly appealing plus I like learning new skills and doing things myself when able. *
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Heck- I even framed and built my 2,800 sq. ft. (cape cod) house with my own 2 hands (along with some friends helping as laborers!).
As I understand it though you have to thin the paint down...how does one actually determine "how much" to thin? *If I am crazy enough to try this, it would be under a covered slip with minimal sun exposure. *What temps do you usually have to be above for it to work right? *May force me to wait until spring?? *I figure if I try it and mess it up I can just stick to my plan and have the yard do the work. *
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I did the prep and priming and hired the final top coat done as 90% of the work is in the prep and priming. **The gloss top cot is not that hard once you get the texture and rolling/tipping down.* Took 4 hours to roll and tip the entire hull as the final gloss coat is just thick enough to cover the dull primer.* Its the primer that protects and the top gloss is to make pretty.**

Do a trial area, if it does not turn out just sand id and do over.*It should be about the*same texture as nail polish,*it goes on, flows and flattens out so the brush strokes do not show.***If white its important to have a dull primer so the areas missed or to light can be seen by looking down the hull.* Better to have a little thin*than to thick.***About the same thickness/texture of nail polish.*******

-- Edited by Phil Fill on Friday 24th of December 2010 09:02:38 PM

-- Edited by Phil Fill on Friday 24th of December 2010 09:03:34 PM

-- Edited by Phil Fill on Friday 24th of December 2010 09:05:05 PM
 
Tony,We painted the sides of our cabin w Brightside. We sanded the area, washed the area and coated it w Interlux Pre-Kote. Pre-Kote comes in dark grey or white. Pre-Kote is a joy to use. Goes on real smooth. The directions are on the can and they have a good web site for all the fine details. Here I am brushing on the Pre-Kote.
 

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Woodsong wrote:I figure if I try it and mess it up I can just stick to my plan and have the yard do the work.*

That approach might really be the most expensive paint job you will ever have. There are almost always paint pros around any good boatyard, talk to one and see if you can hire him (or her - one of the best I ever worked with is a Jamaican lady) to help you at least get started.

The pro will teach you the techniques and how to use the tools. You will see first hand how to correct the mistakes that both of you willl make. You will learn how to judge conditions and how to follow the manufacturer's instructions and who to talk to - all reputable paint system manufacturer's have qualified reps in every region where boats are painted. You pay for their expertice when you buy the paint, use them.


You really don't have to reinvent the wheel and learn from scratch how to paint and you don't have to risk paying for the paint job twice. Start by asking who the local paint gurus are and go talk to a couple of them. A couple hundred bucks for a few hours of instruction and assistance is the difference between buying fish and* learning how to fish.
 
Ricks is right!

The prep work will be 90-95% of the job , perhaps even more.

Slobbering the paint on is lots of skill and practice .

You could try a dink and see hoe you do, but hiring two good locals "Roll and Tip" for an afternoons work would not add that much to the job.

Toplac is the easiest paint we have found to get great results from R&T, so spend the extra.

Its still cheaper than the aviation spray stuff , and 1/1000 as deadly.
 
Problem is that there is, to my knowledge, no capable painters in the marina/area my boat is in. They yard I am/was planning on taking the boat to get painted at is a 3 day cruise down the river and the only service yard in the "area" that does any real painting at all. Local service yard has super friendly and helpful folks and they are good at what they do I think, but painting is not one of those areas of speciality.
Moonstruck, do you know anyone in the Chatt area that does topside painting?
 
Woodsong wrote:

Problem is that there is, to my knowledge, no capable painters in the marina/area my boat is in. They yard I am/was planning on taking the boat to get painted at is a 3 day cruise down the river and the only service yard in the "area" that does any real painting at all. Local service yard has super friendly and helpful folks and they are good at what they do I think, but painting is not one of those areas of speciality.
Moonstruck, do you know anyone in the Chatt area that does topside painting?
Tony, sorry I didn't pick up this thread sooner.* There is one place you could check.* Thief Neck Marina up on Watts Bar Lake has done it in the past.* I haven't been that way in a long time.** I used their travel lift when I had my trawler.*You could get there in one long day.* Of course Alred's I think you know about.* It is about a 2 day cruise.

Chickamauga Marina did some great paint work until Erwin bought them out.* Yacht services are pretty thin in this section of he river.

*
 
Pre Kote is the primer.* If you prep and sand you could apply a clear polyurethane over the primer to make it shine.* The top coat is very light and thin just enough to cover the primer and make it glossy.* Midwax has a clear Polyurethane I use on the floors, back deck and even the bright work in a pinch.*

By the time you take it down the river you could have rolled and tip the boat.* As mentioned before 90+% is the prep and primer.* The painter I hire made me go back over the boat/spots several time before we rolled and tipped it.* I have help several friend roll and tip their boats.** If it does not come out to you liking sand it down and start over.* The real protection is the primer not the gloss coat.* The gloss coats is to make pretty

Regular one part Brightsider will last as long as the two part, buts is easier to apply, and match.* Hull has lasted 7+ year, but each year I*tough up where the fenders have rubbed the gloss off, and a few marks/scratches.* The real reason I* re paint is to brighten it up as the gooss*paint gets dull/dirt over time.


-- Edited by Phil Fill on Monday 27th of December 2010 10:32:56 PM
 
Phill,
That's interesting as I liked the dark grey Pre Kote (see pic) so well I was thinking of clear coating it.
Tony,
If you could hire somebody to do the sanding the rest of the work would be fun.
 
"If you could hire somebody to do the sanding the rest of the work would be fun."

Sure but paying for the 90-95% of the work that is prep might not be.
 
Well before I had the boat hauled to TN I had the topsides sanded down and all voids/dings/cracks filled and sanded. I did this b/c at the time I did not have moving to TN on the radar. There were no paint booths on Lake Lanier so we were going to have to paint under her covered slip next to other boats. So...we had it sanded down, etc. in the yard to get the dirty work out of the way. In "theory" 99% of the prep should be near done, at least the hard/dusty part. I say in "theory" b/c well, I've never painted a boat before so I am not Mr. Expert on it.
 
You could probable roll tip right in your slip.* Just make sure you tarp/cover your neighbors boat, dock and water, and do it in sections at a time.* Each summer I varnish and paint from the dink.* I use those window suction cup to hold the dink close to the hull.* You can buy them for a couple of bucks at most hardware stores.*


*
Looking into the white primer is like looking into a blizzard as it all sort of blends.* What the painter had me do was apply a thin coat of gloss which showed the areas as I could not see them but he could.* **After applying the gloss coat I could still see areas that where not sanded smooth.* Oh, well maybe this time I will catch/see them.* This time the prep and primer should not take as long. If there is an area you can sand and repaint it, so important to use a paint that matches easy.
*
Most people are to close and overly critical of their work as our eyes tend to be drawn to the non perfect areas.* Where as people probable will not notice or look that closely.* You might want to consider semi gloss as it does not show up the blemishes that well.* I did the hull in semi gloss as its commercial and not faired very well. **However, its one of the cleanest/whitest boats in the marina.


*
Each year in September, I apply Turtle Wax 2100 Protection, just wipe on, to the exterior which shines and protects, and wash with Turtle Wax auto wax wash, mixed 50/50.* To get the dark dirt streaks off, the boot strap scum and exhaust soot, I use Wright auto tire cleaner.**The water beads off and the dirt does not stick.* Easy to apply**

Give it a try!* ***
 
Woodsong, if the prep is basically done, and done well, why not just go with the Perfection 2 pack you have and brush it on. I just did all my topsides like that, (well actually I used Snow White TopLac, which appears to have been re-formulated and released again Downunder anyway - but that's another story), having had professionals spray the hull with the same paint you have in the same colour as above, and all the folk on the marina finger thought I had had the whole boat sprayed professionally it all came up so well. If I look really close, I can tell it the difference, but realistically, it is so small as to not be an issue. The fact it is a boat is irrelevant. If you have painted in your house and are ok with that, why not your boat? Some on here seem to thrive on making mountains out of molehills, or scare themselves and others off stuff by making out things are harder to do than they really are, just don't fall into that trap. Using one of these modern (high quality) nylon bristled brushes, and rolling first just to get coverage if it is a large area, the brush can do a wonderful job. Personally, I am so much more concerned about tripping and spilling a whole roller tray of paint over the deck, I would rather just brush for anything but large uncluttered areas. I did the whole cabin and flybridge and inner gunwhales just with a brush. Just go for it, thinning with appropriate thinner a wee bit if brushing becomes a bit stiff.
 

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Using one of these modern (high quality) nylon bristled brushes,

I have used a high quality NEW pig hair varnish brush with great results.
 
Phil Fill wrote:I did the hull in semi gloss as its commercial and not faired very well.

Phil, why do you insist on calling your Taiwanese built recreational boat "commercial?" It is becoming just an excuse for the poor cosmetic quality of hull layup, lousy fairing and lack of paint maintenance.

It was designed as a low cost yacht to compete with American built boats of the same size and style. It was built as a low cost yacht, and sold as a low cost yacht. It was never a workboat. Just because you check off the box on the document application and renewal doesn't make it a workboat hull converted to a yacht. And calling yourself commercial to jump the line at the locks is not something you should be proud of either.

Trying to justify a bad paint job on a dock queen as good enough for a commercial boat is perverse. It's not a tugboat or a coastal freighter or even a tour boat. Find another excuse, they are becoming an insult to working boats and their crews.

OK, flame over but geez P/F, get real.
 
Twenty four years ago, in a St Louis area marina, *I applied Awlgrip on my forward cabin sides and the top part of the transom. The PO had the boat spray painted so I wanted my "touch up" to be as near perfect to that professional job a possible. It all went well, prep, paint mixing, masking, the right brush etc. The job was completed and the results were very good.

Then came a blowing rain. For those of you who know Awlgrip cure time, the aftermath was less than perfect.
 
Biggest thing I need to learn is the full prep process to make sure it is done right. I think I can do this task and it would be fun learning how to do it (I always enjoy learning new skills).... I need to start doing some internet research to try and learn more about what needs to be done....no one local that is an expert painter unfortunately.
 
Woodsong wrote:

Biggest thing I need to learn is the full prep process to make sure it is done right. I think I can do this task and it would be fun learning how to do it
I have been observing and having conversations with the owner of the sailboat across from ours who is a retired marine engineer and who not only resuscitated his 40' sloop after it* (as a brand new, yet-undelivered boat) had been severely damaged by a fire at the company where he worked and written off by the insurance company, but has recently been engaged in prepping and painting some of the topsides fiberglass surfaces.* The prep and paint process is not rocket science, and in fact is very simple.* The techniques are easy to learn and easy to master (according to him).

He prefers painting with a one-part paint using a small airbrush.* This avoids a lot of overspray and minimizes the amount of masking that needs to be done.* HIs results look like the factory did it.

We may attempt this at some point in the future on a small part of our boat to learn the techniques.* But if you have the time and the weather cooperates (or you move the boat inside) it is an easy thing to do (he said without the benefit of actually doing it to back him up
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)

*
 
RickB wrote:

*
Phil Fill wrote:I did the hull in semi gloss as its commercial and not faired very well.

Phil, why do you insist on calling your Taiwanese built recreational boat "commercial?" It is becoming just an excuse for the poor cosmetic quality of hull layup, lousy fairing and lack of paint maintenance.

It was designed as a low cost yacht to compete with American built boats of the same size and style. It was built as a low cost yacht, and sold as a low cost yacht. It was never a workboat. Just because you check off the box on the document application and renewal doesn't make it a workboat hull converted to a yacht. And calling yourself commercial to jump the line at the locks is not something you should be proud of either.

Trying to justify a bad paint job on a dock queen as good enough for a commercial boat is perverse. It's not a tugboat or a coastal freighter or even a tour boat. Find another excuse, they are becoming an insult to working boats and their crews.

OK, flame over but geez P/F, get real.

Gees Rick** the existing mold used was used to lay up commercial fishing trawlers and Ed Monk Sr. re designed to pleasure.*
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Since the mold was used for commercial trawler hulls it was not faired very well.* The semi gloss does not show the rough areas as much as gloss.* The paint job is better than most 30+ year old boats at least it is*clean and white with no dings/scratches/marks.* **
*

I did not say we are a commercial but a 6 pack charter which does give us privilege through the locks, which anybody can file for.* What does being a commercial or charter have to due with painting the hull?*
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At least you are acknowledging you are flaming, as that is the first step.**
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Oh, Have a great 2011 year.
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*


-- Edited by Phil Fill on Saturday 1st of January 2011 09:56:09 AM
 
I did not say we are a commercial but a 6 pack charter which does give us privilege through the locks, which anybody can file for

This " privilege" is a courtisy for working boats that are hauling passengers for HIRE .

Not just granted to someone that wants to blow the other marine motorists out of his (or her) way.

This sillyness is how the true work boats LOOSE their ability to function on a Sked.

To CLOWNS!
 
Phil Fill wrote:I did not say we are a commercial but a 6 pack charter which does give us privilege through the locks, which anybody can file for. What does being a commercial or charter have to due with painting the hull?
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Last time I looked, operating a "6-pack" charter boat was a commercial operation that required a licensed master with a MMD, TWIC and drug testing program in place. All your posts claim that you have a dock queen and rarely leave the dock with anyone other than the grandchildren onboard.

Are you charging them for the trip?

If you can't legally charter and are under charter, or on the way to pick up a charter, then it seems like you are just scamming the lock operators and screwing other people who play by the rules. Judging by your own statements, it seems highly unlikely that you meet the definition of the Corps of Engineers for a commercial vessel: "Commercial vessels include cargo ships; fishing vessels; and licensed commercial passenger vessels operating on a published schedule or regularly operating in the for hire trade."

Wouldn't it be interesting to see the CG board you just after you claimed commercial status to jump the waiting line for the locks? What? No license, no TWIC, no drug test, but aren't you advertising by stating on the radio that your boat is regularly operating in the "for hire" trade?

What does commercial have to do with painting the hull? You tell me, you are the one who used that term in a thread about yacht painting.

Sorry to hijack the thread but sometimes you just have to poke a sharp stick at the poseurs.
 
Since none of it has to do with painting my boat, I'd suggest a new thread debating commercial vs. recreational uses if necessary. Unless you all will come help me paint my boat, then we can discuss it over some cold beers as I offer you moral support as you paint my topsides and I take notes and provide quality control.
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:)
 
nomadwilly wrote:

Tony,
We painted the sides of our cabin w Brightside. We sanded the area, washed the area and coated it w Interlux Pre-Kote. Pre-Kote comes in dark grey or white. Pre-Kote is a joy to use. Goes on real smooth. The directions are on the can and they have a good web site for all the fine details. Here I am brushing on the Pre-Kote.
Eric, you have shown there are*sufficient pauses between precipitation events in SE Alaska*to apply paint and have it dry.* I had always wondered about that.

*
 
If you have the time, you should definitely do it yourself. Do the prep right, make sure you have good quality brushes and pick a nice morning when the forcast is good and you have the receipe for success. I painted my transom last spring and it looks like it was sprayed by a pro. As others have said, it's not rocket science. And you'll be proud when you receive compliments on how good your boat looks.
 
Fotoman,
How did you learn how to do it? Just reading on the internet or did you have someone locally that could advise you?
 
<pre>I had posted this a couple years ago on T & T:







Greetings List

This past June I re-painted the topsides (hull-waterline to gunnels), using a
2-part Sterling/Detco system.

My boat is a 37' cold moulded pilothouse, outer hull finished with a layer of
fiberglass cloth and epoxy.

The original coating was Awlgrip. It was exactly 10 years old and was in need
of refinishing in a few areas - dull spots, small nicks etc.

I had been looking around to have the paint job done by different yards.
Quotes ranged from $12k - $22k for spray jobs. I did find one guy who has
some sort of AGREEMENT with a yard that lets him spray boats in a non approved
scenario, i.e. non-negative pressure paint booth. His quote was around $4k if
I did all the prep.

I have done alot of painting in the commercial construction trade - alot of
spraying with 1 part paints, and alot of rolling with 1 and 2 part paints.
The spraying of these 2-part polyurethanes is tricky, as the atomized
particulates and solvents are extremely toxic, hence the requirement for
constant neg. pressure in the booth as well as the applicator's hood, so you
end up paying extra for the overhead of an approved paint shop.

I was a bit skeptical of some of the claims concerning Roll and Tip
applications. You read/hear testimonies of how a well done roll and tip job
has a deeper luster than a sprayed job. During last years cruise we docked
next to a 32' Sundowner tug that had recently been roll and tipped in the
water no less - and it really looked great. So the reality is that many of
these products are very user friendly, so long as you follow all the
directions to the letter - this includes temp and humidity requirements.
Also, if the wind is blowing you will have dust bumps sticking to your new
paint, so it might make sense to drape the boat with tarps in that case.

I had never used the 'roll and tip' method until this time. I am now a fan.
We had a nice window of good weather and low wind and I painted the boat right
in the open yard. I think it came out great. Had so many walk by's and
compliments, that I could have sold a years worth of product right there in
the yard if I were a distributor.

The prep went much faster than I anticipated it would. Also, I thought I would
need to use the 'high build' primer, but found I was able to sand/fair the old
coating fair quite easily, then used the regular primer - 2 coats.

I used Sterling/Detco 2-part. Rolled and tipped with one helper(the admiral).
It took about 2 hours to do a coat once around.

The topcoat goes on like a dream, I used 3 coats as I had enough paint in the
'kit' to easily make 3 passes. After the first coat the finish was
spectacular, after the 3rd it is unbelievable.

Having used lots of different coatings over the years I can say 2 things about
this product:
1. It is the most expensive paint system I have bought.
2. It is the smoothest, nicest finished product I have applied.

So it is worth it & if I get another 10 years out of this coating, I will be
more than satisfied.

by the way, total price to do approx. 400 square feet of surface including
rollers, brushes and tape was around $600.00. - With the savings I now can
afford to fill up the fuel tanks.




here is a great primer on roll and tipping with the product:

http://www.boatbuildercentral.com/help/sterling_roll_tip.htm

here is a link to the mfg:

http://www.detcomarine.com/sltopcoat.htm


no affiliation with Sterling - just a very pleased customer


The paint job is now 3 years old.
The gloss is as pretty today as it was on day one, with the exception of one spot where the boat rubs against a large fender in the slip.
And even that spot is hardly noticable if you know where to look.
Of course I managed to nick the paint within 2 weeks of painting while loading the dinghy motor.
At least the touch up was easy - mix tiny amounts of paint and dab it on.

Good luck



Brian Shanafelt
Isobel K.
Seattle, WA
37' Custom Pilothouse
</pre>

-- Edited by bshanafelt on Tuesday 4th of January 2011 09:52:30 AM

-- Edited by bshanafelt on Tuesday 4th of January 2011 09:56:57 AM

-- Edited by bshanafelt on Tuesday 4th of January 2011 10:12:29 AM
 

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Woodsong wrote:

Fotoman,
How did you learn how to do it? Just reading on the internet or did you have someone locally that could advise you?

Woodsong,* Trawlers workboat heritage is one thing we have going for us. Of course we all want the best looking and lasting results. If you have the boat professionally prepped and sprayed she will look prefect. If you DYI roll and tip she will look great. She will not be perfect but much easier to maintain, and touch up. Also you won't have to go nuts when the kids plow into your paintjob with the snark.

Are there any boatyards in your area you can visit in the Spring and observe people painting their boats?* I know most people don't do their own work anymore, but if you find a real old time boatyard you can learn alot.* The best boatyards I know of are the ones who cater to the wooden boats. They seem to have the most skilled workers.*

Have Fun!

*
 
Woodsong wrote:

Fotoman,
How did you learn how to do it? Just reading on the internet or did you have someone locally that could advise you?
I did the same thing as you: I asked on this forum! I also found a few videos on Youtube that show you how. And finally I practiced on a scap piece of fiberglass to get the hang of it. It's easier if you can have help to paint: you roll and the other one tips or vice versa. Trust me, it's a lot easier than you might think.



*
 

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All,
A sincere thanks for the thoughts, replies, suggestions, and encouragement! I really appreciate it and it has got me thinking. As an update, I talked with the marina I have been planning on taking the boat to in order to get painted. We had some good discussions. The price they quoted me for just the painting is pretty good I think and potentially worth it as it frees me up time wise, etc. However, it's a 2.5 day trip on the boat down there and they have not physically seen the boat beyond knowing the model from other boats they've worked on and pictures I have sent. After talking with them this week they have agreed they are going to make the drive up (1.5 hours by car- 2.5 days by boat lol!) earlier next week to inspect her and make sure their quote is solid and doable so that I will not have any increased costs, etc. if we make the trip down. My biggest concern has been me taking the time to cruise her down there (which honestly would be a really fun trip in and of itself) only to have them say sorry, it will be 2x's our bid due to actual conditions of the boat. So- they are going to come look at her. If they come back with the bid they gave me and will sign off that it is a not to exceed price then I may just say heck with it and let them do it as it frees me up and gets it done now instead of having to wait until spring for me to do it in good weather. If they don't come in darn close to the bid amount thus far then it appears that I may be getting a crash course on painting a boat! :)
 
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