One particular of the good growing mysteries of today's contemporary boatbuilding is the quantity of hi-tech gobble-de-gook that the typical house boat builder is anticipated to wade by way of when the time comes to paint the boat following the horrendous quantity of sanding, fairing and really hard operate is (mainly) more than and the fruits of your labour now need a shiny deep lustre that the painting now promises to bring. This aspect, to my thoughts at least, is one particular of the most effective components of boatbuilding, the finish! (Properly, at least the start out of the finish!)

Painting a boat employed to be a reasonably basic activity. All one particular required was a fine dry day, one particular of Dad's paintbrushes, some turps, a roll of masking tape, a bit of pink primer left more than from the decorating and a half gallon of shiny blue enamel paint from the neighborhood hardware retailer…they had been the days!

Not so right now, my close friends! The unsuspecting boat builder who toddles off to the neighborhood chandlery or superstore most effective be ready for the quite worst- not only will he (or she) face a massive economic onslaught on their wallet but a thoughts boggling array of hi-tech whiz wow balderdash that the (frequently) uninformed shop assistant will proceed to throw in their common path in the faint hope that you will give in below the pressure and purchase a number of litres of the newest polurethanicalslitheryaminomolecular goop that is just come in. For instance, you are going to be faced with trade names like 'Interlux Interthane coating'. I imply, come on, it sounds like a new space invaders game! This is bloody paint! There are lots of other individuals but I am certain you get the gist of what I am saying.

Yet another instance of the sort of issue that drives me nuts is that you can count on to purchase a number of litres of a iso-cyanate two pack marine polyurethane paint only to be cheerfully told its illegal to spray it unless you have a right licenced premises to do so, drone drone!! I suppose they have to make up new names to go with the new paint organization policies of charging up to $150 a litre for some of these new fangled paints! What the hell have they found that is so costly to place in this stuff? I was below the impression that paint was a handful of litres of linseed oil, turps, some drying agents and a handful of ounces of pigments for colour…can I genuinely be so out of touch?

BACK TO Fundamentals

So, why do we paint wooden boats? Or any other boat for that matter? The initial aspect of that query is uncomplicated. Boats appear a lot smarter and far better if they shine and gleam a bit… it is only human nature following all. The second aspect to that query is: We want to shield it. Ok, from what? Properly, wood rots if you do not paint it, suitable? – incorrect! Wood left to its personal devices does not rot. Wood only rots as a outcome of its atmosphere. There are several situations of how, plain untreated wood can final for centuries as lengthy as it is in the appropriate atmosphere. There are fundamentally only a handful of components that start out wood rotting. Biological attack from spores, fungi, temperature, higher humidity or total absorption, physical attack from marine borers and crustaceans that let ingress to all the other components aforementioned.

Do not let's neglect that polluted waters can degrade timber to the point exactly where it will rot….we'll add chemical attack to that list as well. So, in view of all these quite compelling motives we shield our boat by painting it to coat it completely against these assaults.


The actual preparation of timber can cover a variety of differing specifications. If your boat is a new develop you will not have to go by way of lots of of the preparatory stages that an older boat could have to go by way of. With some types of boatbuilding exactly where a boat has been constructed by a distinctive process such as strip planking or cold moulding, we paint the boat as if it had been a fibreglass boat, due to the truth that either layers of fibreglass cover the timber or that the timber has been coated with epoxy that does not let traditional paints to adhere to it adequately. Having said that, if we want to shield bare timber then we use a distinctive tack. Timber in its bare organic state has millions of thin hollow tubes operating by way of it, constructed of cellulose in its organic kind. We have to seal these tubes to avoid the ingress of water into them. Hence we seal and coat the timber initial of all.

The initial issue we do is to clean and take away any loose and flaking or broken paint plus any dirt that remains on the hull – sounds uncomplicated if you say it speedy but it ought to be completed! If required (and most occasions it is) degrease the hull utilizing a proprietary paint degreaser following removing all dust preferably with a vacuum cleaner. Do not neglect it will not be completely required to get all the hull back to bare wood just dry, clean, grease and dust absolutely free.


Of course, not lots of timber craft are fantastic on the outdoors. There are lots of blemishes, cracks, imperfections and splits each substantial and smaller to deal with by filling them and sanding them flush just before priming the boat. It is a bit of a chore but time spent right here will reward you with a boat that will undoubtedly appear far better plus have a longer life. Some people fill these holes and imperfections in timber with epoxy filler but it is not a superior thought. Sometime later, for instance, when the boat has to undergo a repair, it will be the quite devil of a job to take away the epoxy from a fastening hole. It is most effective to use some sort of right timber filler that dries really hard and rapid but is never ever that really hard that it can not be removed later on. For instance, painter's glazing compound is a pretty really hard setting soft paste that can be speedily applied then sanded and painted satisfactorily. Carvel boats normally have their seams filled fair with a particular seam compound Soon after the boat has been primed. After the boat has been filled and faired smooth and all dust removed we are prepared to place some actual paint on. Recall, the distinction in between a experienced paint job and an amateur is the PREPARATION!


There are two schools of believed about treating bare timber with wood preservatives. I've heard stories that primers and paints do not adhere to lots of of them. In my case, I have never ever personally had that take place to me, so I am frequently in favour of utilizing them. Nonetheless, I am convinced that in lots of situations exactly where the paint refuses to stick to timber is simply because the wood has not adequately dried out following application. There is a definite percentage of humidity level that just about every timber has (and most of them differ slightly) exactly where paint of any description just will not stick. It can be up to fifteen per cent in some timbers. Above all, assure that your timber is dry sufficient to let any paint or filler to adhere to it. Recall as well that salt deposits on timber will readily include water and maintain it damp…. if your boat was in salty water wash it off in fresh just before commencing painting. When and only when, your timber preservative is dry the subsequent stage is:


The initial coat of primer to go onto your hull is metallic grey primer. It is a superior primer to use simply because it is created up of millions of microscopic flat metal (aluminium) plates that lie on prime of every single other providing water a quite really hard time to pass even though it…Pink primer for instance, has circular molecules of substances as a result permitting water to ingress a lot faster…truth! Grey primers also include particular oils and most have anti-mould agents contained inside (biocides to you and I) We place two coats of grey primer above the waterline and 3, no much less, beneath it.


There are a entire planet of paint primers out there and confusion about their qualities are quite prevalent. For standard dry timbers, the grey metallic primers are superior as previously explained. Also lots of oil-primarily based primers from effectively-recognized firms are also quite superior and will do the job completely effectively. Hi-develop primers on the other hand ought to be approached with caution and I ought to say that I have never ever personally got on as well effectively with them. Most of them include Titanium Dioxide (that is talcum powder to us lot) and even when it is completely cured can absorb copious amounts of moisture that can avoid genuinely superior paint adhesion. To steer clear of this only paint hi-develop primers on superior clear dry days and steer clear of excessive atmospheric humidity levels. Then, as quickly as is doable apply the topcoats to seal them in. Note as well, that hi-develop primers are a soft form of paint and can endure badly from scuffing more than stony or shingly beaches and even when launching from boat trailers. When sanding these primers recall that massive clouds of white dust are released so be conscious of exactly where you sand and put on proper security masks.


After once more, there are lots of kinds to select from. Let's get the two- packs out of the way initial. TWO-PACK POLYURETHANES have to be applied more than a two-pack epoxy undercoat initial of all. They have a wonderful finish and that is fine but you ought to be completely certain that the timber underneath is not going to move simply because the paint cures so really hard that it can and will crack (strip plankers and cold moulded boats are your most effective bet right here…apart of course from glass boats). The key purpose is that timber constructed boats move or 'work' as it is recognized. You could effectively get away with it if your timber boat has been glassed from new….not glassed more than later as a preventative process to cease leaks. Seldom boats treated as a result dry out adequately and are nonetheless susceptible to movement as the timber inside the glass either rots simply because it was wet or it dries out as well a lot and shrinks. Also boats that have been chined adequately, that is, strips of timber glued in in between the planks rather of becoming caulked, stand a affordable opportunity of not moving.

Ok, what else? One particular pack or single pack polyurethane paints can be a superior decision for a topcoat…they are nearly as glossy and as sturdy as the two-packs but not pretty! They are on the other hand, much less costly and far simpler to apply than the two-packs… there are a multitude of them out there, so a bit of investigation is needed plus your personal private decision…I am not going to get involved in a slanging match about which ones are the most effective! Having said that, recall most significant effectively-recognized paint manufacturer's merchandise are normally ok! It is your get in touch with!

So subsequent on my list are marine enamels. After once more, it pays to recall that something with MARINE in front of it is normally costly…a superior spot to steer clear of in this quest is the substantial hardware chain shops that sport one particular or two paints in this category and I've fallen for it myself just before now. It is the Name we are searching for!

Even with decent excellent marine enamels some of the whites have been recognized to yellow with age and the way round this is to purchase the off-white colours such as cream or buff. My final decision in Marine enamels right, is a relative newcomer…a water-primarily based enamel. I personally have never ever employed any but I have heard some superior reports and there has to be a handful of benefits with them, speedy cleanup for one particular and you can even drink the thinners!

ASSORTED Options There are a handful of kinds of paint systems that are distinctive to the abovementioned and as usual they possibly will draw a lot of flack from these kinds that really like writing to the editor for some purpose or the other. Primarily I suspect, simply because one thing is not pretty traditional. Every of the following paints has their distinctive utilizes and attributes.


More than the years the excellent of property paint enamels has been growing significantly to the point exactly where lots of yachties I know paint their boats with it. It is a bit softer (and surely less expensive) than most single pack polyurethanes and some colours, mainly the darker hues, have a tendency to fade earlier than other individuals. Having said that, the truth remains that they can be an outstanding decision particularly if you personal a smaller boat and do not thoughts repainting it just about every couple of years….low cost to purchase, uncomplicated to apply!

WATER Primarily based ACRYLICS

A handful of years ago you would not have dreamed of painting your boat with acrylic paint….it would have peeled off in good strips. That does not apply right now on the other hand. My personal boat, The NICKY J has been painted utilizing Wattyl's Acrylic semi-gloss “CANE” and it is genuinely wonderful. I employed gloss for the hull and semi-gloss for the decks more than white epoxy primer single pack and it has been genuinely superior. In no way when has it even looked like delaminating. I paint the boat when a year with a roller and it requires much less than a day…and she's forty two feet lengthy! It is but a further decision!

Properly there is your key paint selections but I urge you to recall one particular issue…preparation is King… it will save you lots of income in the lengthy run, for certain.


There are of course, 3 key solutions of applying your paints Spraying, brushing and rollering. There is a further that lots of persons use, a mixture of the final two, rolling and tipping, we'll deal with that one particular later.

Let's take a appear at spraying. There are a number of pre-requisites for a decent spray job. These normally are a decent workshop total with suction fans and half decent ventilation utilizing superior spray gear (cheapo underpowered stuff just does not reduce the mustard) and most importantly, sufficient and right security gear. There are constantly exceptions to the rule and there is one particular chap who functions in Edge's boatyard outdoors in the climate and he does a wonderful job…think about how a lot far better he could be if he worked indoors!! You will also have to watch the climate, higher humidity is not superior and also exactly where the overspray goes…not more than anyone's car or truck as is so usually the case! A superior excess of paint is lost and wasted in the method. If you have a driving have to have for you boat to appear like your car or truck then sprayings for you! Oh yeah, it speedy(ish) as well!

Brushing by hand can yield amazing outcomes if you are patient and also know what you are carrying out. I've observed boats that at initial glance appear like they have been sprayed only to uncover out that they had been hand painted by brush…….Dust absolutely free atmosphere and bloody superior brushes (I imply costly) are an absolute ought to right here.

Final of all, rollering particularly the 'roll and tip' process. This demands two persons operating with each other as a group. One particular rolls the paint on thinly and the other follows closely with a decent brush and 'tips' out the bubbles left behind by the roller – unbelievably superior finishes can be obtained by this process.

A word of warning, no matter which process you use. Do not be tempted to retouch runs or sags in the paint or you will ruin the finish….wait till the paint has completely dried then deal with it! It is tempting but paint constantly appears to gel faster than you would assume!


There are lots of facets to the thriving painting of a boat. We can not be superior at all of them and you have to select the process most suited to you personal certain capabilities. A lot depends on the facilities that you have readily available at your disposal. Some persons have the garden to operate in other individuals could have massive sheds and even access to a warehouse! I will say that a handful of standard guidelines apply to painting even the smallest boat. Generally, as well a lot, as well clever or as well sophisticated is usually detrimental to what you are attempting to obtain.

I have observed boats that price twenty grand to paint and they had been just genuinely typical…why? Incorrect decision of painter, that is why. If you are going to select a painter it is not a crime to ask him to show you some examples of his operate. If he's any superior there ought to be lots…there are lots of chancers and cowboys about, rest assured. All boats, just about every single one particular of them will have to have retouching or even a repaint inside years. Just how lengthy you get for your income is the trick. Unless you place your freshly painted boat in a museum or garage and lock it away you can bet that from day one particular, it will gather nicks, dings, scratches and scars, it is inevitable. Beware the painter who tells you, 'yes it will be ten grand, but it'll outlast you and me'. The have to have for repainting is straight proportional to how badly the boat is treated more than the years. The only way of maintaining your boat pristine and fantastic is never ever to really place it in that dirty old water when it is completed! Be realistic about your personal skills and your expectations. Straightforward can be far better in lots of situations.

A Straightforward FORMULA FOR CALCULATING HOW A great deal PAINT YOU Need to have (FOR One particular COAT)

This is intriguing if not precisely precise! But it gets quite close certainly. This is applicable to brushing and rolling only NOT spraying. There is a distinctive formula for that and I do not know it! THE FORMULA One particular COAT = The boat's length all round x the beam x .85 Divided by square feet covered per litre listed on the paint can guidelines.

If you can not operate it out the paint manufacturer will inform you if you ring the organization hotline.

More than the years, wooden boats have survived the components in spite of quite crude and primitive types of paint. Quite a few early vessels had been just daubed in pitch, bitumen, turps and beeswax. An early Thames barge had survived for more than a hundred years in fantastic situation as she was initially employed as a bitumen tanker!! The dark brown shiny finish was the most fantastic instance of preserved wood that I have ever observed. One particular of the most intriguing boats I ever saw was painted with fence paint…the owner reckoned he'd only ever painted it when in thirty years! Yet another old boat builder I knew when told me the secret of painting a wooden boat was to paint it with as lots of coats of paint that you could afford!