3 years ago I completed the full deck restoration and paint job, and it was one of the most laborious and intense projects I’ve done on the boat. I spent a lot of time making sure my prep-work was adequate and that the paint job would rival a professional’s work. I succeeded at that, and had a beautiful boat deck ready to get filled up with all of the things that needed to be installed such as windows, cleats, padeyes, hatches, etc. You can read all about the paint process in the posts here: http://www.thequestforwindandwaves.com/?cat=233
Problems began to show up with the paint job not too long after I had finished. I first noticed I had an issue when I was applying the Kiwi Grip non-skid paint to the foredeck. To apply the non-skid, I taped off the freshly painted white areas with my trusty 3M blue tape. As I finished a certain section of non-skid on the foredeck, I peeled off the blue tape and to my horror all 4 coats of white Interlux Perfection peeled off with it! The first coat paint obviously did not grip to the primer too well in that spot, as the primer did not peel at all, only the paint. I painted over the area again, but the knowledge that the first coat did not grip the primer in that area lurked in my mind. I knew that there would probably be other areas with the same issue. These other areas slowly started to make themselves known over the years as the paint would bubble up with air and/or moisture trapped under the paint. This only occurred in the foredeck area, the rest of the boat seemed to have a good grip with the paint on the primer.
My theory is that this area did not completely dry from the morning dew when I applied the first paint coat. I know the primer was sanded adequately, but trying to get the paint on in the morning comes with the trouble of dealing with the humid Florida air, and the dew that comes with it. You can’t paint over a wet surface and expect things to go well, even if it is just trace moisture. I know I toweled off the entire deck before painting, but that might not have fully gotten all of the leftover moisture.
That was just the first stroke of issues with the paint. I mentioned in previous posts and videos that the paint, while supposedly good to last 10 years on a boat, is really only good for about 3 years in a dirty, dusty boat yard. I didn’t help things though, immediately after painting the deck I had a while before the windows and hatches were ready to be installed. I kept the rain water out of the boat by strapping tarps across the deck. The tarps would trap dirt and rub on the fresh paint, creating black stains that were very tough to clean off. The only trick I found was to use an abrasive pad, and it worked great! Stupid idea though, the abrasive pad just scuffed up the paint job and created tiny little scratches that trapped dirt and ruined the paint’s shine and protection.
3 years of installing things on deck with various goops, glues and epoxies spilling all over caused some permanent mess to the paint. The constant rain of dust from the gravel yard would grind into the paint. Plus about once every few weeks a new boat is parked next to mine and gets a full sanding of bottom paint. The paint dust settles on my boat deck, then it will rain…and the paint will stain my (scratched) paint job.
Lastly, hairline cracks have developed in areas that never had issues even when I first got the boat. Some old timers in the boat yard theorize that since the boat has been on land for so long, when you walk along the deck the boat has no way of absorbing the weight on deck like it would if it were floating. The deck flexes without any water to be a shock absorber, and this causes small cracks to develop along the edges of the deck curves.
So after all of this, and as I near the hopeful moment that I can put the boat back in the water, I find myself with a less than stellar deck paint job. Not only were the white areas needing a refresher (and some repairs), but the non-skid became stained and discolored from various spills and installations. It weighed on my mind enough to where I couldn’t proceed by saying it was “good enough”. I wanted to get the deck looking as good as the rest of the boat before splashing. I committed to giving the deck a repaint.
Repainting the deck is no small task. I first had to repair all of the cracks and various dings that have occurred over the past few years. Lots of grinding with the dremel tool, filling holes with epoxy and sanding/fairing down. After all of that the deck was so discolored that one refresher coat wouldn’t work, at least 2 would be needed.
I also decided at this point that I would abandon using the 2-part poly paint. While it is a beautiful paint and tough as nails, I now understand that even the best paint will get scratched and dinged. The 2-part paint is a major pain in the ass to repair or touch up, and with the amount of touching up and repairs I found myself needing…this paint was less than ideal. You have to mix the stuff and it is nearly impossible to blend into existing paint because it dries so hard. After much research I decided to repaint with a 1-part paint that I could then use to touch-up and repair areas as they happened. I ended up going with Epifanes Monourethane as some tests have shown it to be the most scratch resistant of the one part marine paints. I like Interlux Brightside, but doing my own experiments comparing it to Epifanes proved the latter to be a stronger paint.
The only two issues I found with the Epifanes is that it takes a much longer time to fully dry than other one parts, and that the Epifanes version of “Matterhorn White” (what I used with the Perfection), is much more of a blueish white than the original paint. No big deal, but it didn’t blend in as well as I had hoped.
The other big problem with painting now was that the deck was nearly complete with hardware installation. This meant that paint prep included a full day of taping things off, a pain of a job that thankfully Jenny helped a lot with.
Lastly, any good marine paint requires a certain type of weather to perform correctly. The 2-part paints are particularly fussy as I experienced having to do an extra coat of the initial paint job after realizing the stuff does not cure to a shine if there is much moisture in the air. Living in Florida, that is something very difficult to avoid. If the boat were in a tent or enclosed somehow, this wouldn’t be an issue. But the boat is outside and exposed, so I have to deal with what is given to me.
The right weather for good marine paint job is not too cold (above 60 degrees) and not too hot (below 80), low humidity (below 80%), light to no wind, and no direct sunlight. So I had to wait for the right weather window, during a time (weekends) that I was around and able to paint. Unfortunately that perfect combo pretty much never happens in my area. It could be the right temperature and humidity, but with low humidity here comes higher winds and sunlight. The humidity is the real issue to get the paint shiny so that was my main concern, even if it meant directly sunlight and some wind. After waiting from February through May, I eventually found two weekends to do two coats, the only issue being wind which blew bugs into my fresh paint. At that point I didn’t care though, it still looked better than the old paint job.
After the long wait the deck looks like new once again, and am nearly complete with redoing the non-skid as well. I have even done some touch-up painting and am pleased with having the one part paint to make that easier. Here are some pictures of the prep work and post-paint job.
Elsewhere on the deck, I have installed nearly all hardware. Another set back for me was the bowsprit. I had installed this sometime last year (or maybe the year before that). Since then I had noticed the bowsprit was developing a surface crack on the surface that was never there before. This game me some concern, not wanting to have to replace the thing in the future. I know the wood was solid all the way though, thankfully as many other boat owners have to replace their rotten bowsprit. In effort to avoid further worry, I decided to coat the bowsprit with some protective sealant, primer and paint. Here is is after it got painted with the rest of the boat. You can really see in this picture how the new paint has a bit of a blue tint.
Lastly, while I have been very satisfied with the Cetol products I’ve used on the deck teak, the Cetol clearly does NOT work on non-teak wood. It has lasted brilliantly where applied to teak, but has begun to deteriorate on non-teak wood. You can see below the tiller cover and the lids to the butterfly hatch are some other wood and the Cetol is peeling off already. The body of the butterfly hatch is teak, so it still looks good. I need to figure out what to do with these pieces, and I most likely will just paint them.
I have also nearly completed all hardware installation on deck. One of the outstanding issues that I have mentioned before was losing one of my bronze hawse pipes. There are four alltogether, each with a faceplate. One of them was lost a long time ago when taking things apart. Unfortunately this is a custom piece for these boats, so finding a replacement was a treasure hunt I did not succeed in.
However, I was able to find a shop in Jacksonville that did custom bronze casting. I had them recreate the matching piece (I had the port side piece, lost the stbd) as best as they could. It didn’t come out perfect, but it was definitely good enough.
Those are some of the highlights and current issues with the deck. There is plenty more to talk about, but I will spare the details further than I have already divulged. The next posts I will move inside and get everyone caught up with some of the more exciting work going on in there.