Author Archives: BottomPaintStore

Choosing a Bilge Pump

What are Bilge Pumps?

Bilge pumps are devices used in boats to remove unwanted water from the bilge compartment of a boat. (The bilge is the lowest compartment of the inside hull of a ship.) Whether you have a sailboat or powerboat, they are as important as lifejackets in an emergency. If there happened to be a collision that caused a leak, having a bilge pump actively removing water from the boat’s compartments could buy you precious time. However, as many experience boaters know, you cannot rely on a pump to keep your boat afloat indefinitely.

Main Types of Bilge Pumps

Non Automatic:

Non Automatic pumps are controlled by means of a float switch and/or a manual panel switch. The panel switch allows you to control the pump remotely. Using the float switch is beneficial because the pump only runs when the water reaches a certain level. After the water is pumped out and the level goes back down, the pump can shut off. The most common type of non-automatic pump is the Electrical Submersible Bilge Pump. They are easy to install, very effective, and have low amp draw. Also, the motor cartridge can be easily removed to clean out debris and other obstructions.

Automatic:

Automatic Bilge Pumps function without the use of a float switch. It uses the principle of impeller resistance to sense if any water is present. Depending on the brand, the pump will automatically turn on every 2.5 minutes to check for water. If water is present, the pump will know about it from the slight pressure on the impeller as it spins. It will continue to run until all the water has been pumped out. The voltage needed for both automatic and non-automatic pumps will vary from 12V – 32V, depending on the size and capacity of each pump.

Manual:

If the boat’s electrical system goes out, a manual bilge pump would be invaluable. They are able to move lots of water effectively, but can be tiring to use. Water is heavy, and that weight is compounded when moving it some distance. When installing these sorts of pumps, take into consideration the ease of access, and imagine how it will be used. Putting a manual pump in a tight, cramped space may hinder your use of it when it is needed.

Which Pump is best for your boat?

The first thing to consider is the size of your boat. Smaller boats will need a good size pump because the bilge compartment is smaller and will fill up with water quicker than larger boats. Some boats have separate bilge compartments. If that is the case, it would be a good idea to have a pump for each section.

Most electric pumps are rated for the number of gallons that they can pump in an hour. (G.P.H.) It is recommended to select a pump the largest model that is still practical for your boat.  Also consider the size of your existing output hose and the capacity of your boat’s wiring and battery. Don’t hesitate to ask an expert when making these decisions. You can talk to a pump manufacturer and get their informed opinion.

Suggested Pump Capacity:

Boat Size

Number of Pumps

Pump Output in GPH

16’ – 20’

2

2500

21’ – 26’

2

3000 – 3500

27’ – 35’

3

3500 – 4500

36’ – 42’

3

6000

43’ – 49’

3

8000

50’ – 59’

4

9000 – 10,000

Where to place Your Bilge Pump(s)?

It is always a good idea to have more than one bilge pump onboard. Many boaters have a backup pump installed in the same bilge compartment. The first pump may be smaller and positioned where the majority of water will pool inside. The secondary pump may be a bit higher inside the hull. This pump should be bigger than the first, because if the boat has collected that much water the main goal is to get it out as fast as possible.

When deciding where to place your pumps, observe where the water accumulates in the hull when the boat is at rest as well as in motion. For powerboats the water tends to flow toward the aft when the boat is moving. Sailboats tend to accumulate bilge water in the middle.

Bilge Pump Installation Reminders:

  • Follow the manufacturer’s specifications – especially on wires sizes
  • Use a vented loop – if the thru-hull discharge can be submerged, a siphoning effect can fill your hull instead of empty it.
  • Keep discharge hoses short – long hoses make the pump work harder than it has to.
  • Use waterproof connectors – any connections in the bilge area should be protected.
  • Use smooth bore hoses – corrugated hoses are cheaper but not effective for pumps.

Bilge Pumps Available from the Bottom Paint Store

Choosing the Right Boat Paint

There are many different boat paints and qualities, generally the more you spend the better the results. There are a variety of types including topside and bottom paints. Topside paints are meant to be used above the waterline and will not hold up under water. Bottom Paints (also called antifoulants or antifouling coatings) are pesticides that are only used below the waterline when you are trying to stop growth from occurring while your boat stays in the water over long periods of time.  See Related Article>: Do I need Bottom Paint?

Boat Paints

Duralux High Gloss Marine Enamel is affordable and easy to apply and only recommended for above the waterline or moderate use on the bottom (a day or so in the water, not extended periods). This topside paint works best in very thin coats; see the prep recommendations found on product page on “how to use” tab. Duralux marine enamels do have a color offering in a flat finish, those are limited to their camouflage paint colors. Marine Alkyd Enamels like Duralux and Blue Water Marine are effective and low cost. There are a variety of brands styles and even include a water-based enamel.

A step up from the marine enamels are polyurethane enamels. These products such as Blue Water Marine Mega Gloss Polyurethane,  Interlux Brightside,  and Pettit Easypoxy have a better flow and gloss.

Supermarine RevolutionNext, you also have a choice from Supermarine Paints that can be used above or below the waterline and come in a few different styles.  Revolution boat paint (a great option if rolling/brushing)  or Mono Epoxy (durable and looks best sprayed) are the easiest to use and are best primed with the SuperMarine Etching Primer (SM 664D) for the primer. They are also available in your choice of sheen (satin or gloss). Click on “view more” for the paint and use the specification/how to use tabs for detailed instructions, coverage and preparation on any of the product pages. The “work horse” is the Two Part Epoxy, most durable of the Supermarine choices with the top of the line selection is Ironside. The previous two paints are available in flat and semi gloss as well as satin and gloss, and perform better than a marine enamel and poly enamel, but with a little higher cost.

The best performing and hardest application is either Awlgrip or Awlcraft 2000. These require a more technical application and require the use of proper primers, catalyst and thinners with each application.

Typically when people discuss bottom paint on a boat they are referring to Antifouling paint. Bottom paint prevents growth of organisms that attach to the hull and can affect a vessels speed, performance, and durability when boat is kept in the water for extended periods of time.  If you don’t have that problem, you may not need bottom paint. Antifouling bottom paint typically has a flat, dull finish that is used below the waterline.

CUKOTE 2013There are generally two types of bottom paint both of which have several variations that create a multitude of products in the market place. The two different types or categories of bottom paint include hard bottom paint and ablative bottom paint. Related Article> What is the Difference Between Hard and Ablative Bottom Paint.

So your boat paint choice depends on your budget and which paint meets the needs of your boat and usage.

Which Resin Should I Choose?

Choosing the right resin depends on the type of project you are tackling. Listed below are the most common types of resins are their intended uses:

General Purpose Repair Epoxy Resin Kit

Hawk Epoxy KitEvery household should own a Hawk Epoxy Kit like this. You can use it to repair anything around your home or own your boat. This kit comes with the resin, catalyst and your choice of filler. Just mix them together and you have an excellent bonding, filling, or adhesive paste.

Polyester Resin:

MARINE ResinPolyester resins are unsaturated resins that are combined with hardeners, such as MEKP.

Polyester resin is used more for fiberglass lay-up or if you’re going to finish a repair with gelcoat, as the polyester resin will bond to the gelcoat better than epoxy.

Vinyl Ester Resin:

Vinyl ester resins are formulated with a base of polyester resin strengthened with epoxy molecules (a hybrid form of polyester and epoxy) and also use peroxides, such as MEKP, for hardening. These are cheaper than epoxy resins and more expensive than polyester.

Vinyl esters are more tolerant of stretching, less likely to show stress cracking and more resistant to water penetration. Vinyl ester is the choice when improved resistance to moisture is the goal (like repairing a blistered hull).

Long term water exposure (hull or water tank) or if impact resistance is important vinyl ester is usually chosen.

Epoxy Resin:

Epoxy ResinEpoxy resins are cured with the addition of a hardener. Unlike the polyester and vinyl ester resins, cured with a small amount of catalyst, epoxy resins usually require a lot more, often 1:1 or 2:1. A epoxy resin is the most expensive of these.

Epoxy resin has the best bonding strength as it will bond dissimilar or already cured materials for strong, reliable repair work. This is the most expensive resin but offers the most in its ability to flex, prevent delamination and ease of repair work.

If doing a repair and not overlaying with gelcoat then the epoxy will perform best as it tends to act as a stronger “glue” for the patch to the surrounding surface.

 Klear Kote Epoxy Resin (Bar Top Epoxy Resin):

A Premium Commercial Grade Clear Epoxy Resin – Klear Kote Epoxy Resin is used extensively in coating surfaces and in table tops where a clear, hard and durable coating is required. Commonly seen on bar tops and restaurant tables. Easy to use 1:1 mixing ratio of resin and hardener.  Items coated with it will become permanently preserved and protected for your enjoyment throughout a lifetime. The epoxy resin will not exhibit blushing or sweat out under high humidity conditions.

Can I Reactivate Hard Bottom Paint?

sharkskin300x300

Hard Bottom Paint

According to Practical Sailor Magazine, March 2013 issue, this topic was discussed. It is generally regarded that after 72 hours of exposure to air that hard bottom paints will oxidize and lose antifouling  properties but test are showing otherwise. Of course you should always check with the manufacturer of your paint choice below are the guidelines to reactivate hard paint:

 

  • Launching of newly painted boats may be delayed up to 60 days after painting without sacrificing antifouling performance.
  • Boats painted between two and 12 months prior to launch date must be scuff-sanded with 220-grit production paper or abrasive pad before launching.
  • Boats painted more than 12 months prior to launch date must be lightly sanded with 100-grit production paper and recoated before launching.
  • Boats in the water for less than 24 hours (e.g. for in-the-water water testing) should be pressure washed lightly to remove dirt, salt or other contaminants and allowed to dry. These boats should still be considered newly painted and may be launched up to 60 days after the date of painting.
  • Boats in the water for more than 24 hours, but less than 30 days, should be pressure washed when hauled, then lightly sanded with 220-grit production paper immediately before re-launching. If necessary, launching may be delayed up to 60 days after the bottom has been sanded. Note: Boats re-launched within 72 hours of haulout do not need to be sanded before launching.
  • Boats in water for more than 30 days should be pressure washed when hauled, lightly sanded with 100-grit production paper and recoated with antifouling paint, even when re-launching will take place within 72 hours.

If there isn’t enought hard bottom paint on the surface it could flake off with sanding due to the thin layer.

 

How to use a Fiberglass Repair Kit

A hole in your fiberglass looks bad and can lead to water damage but it can be repaired Fiberglass Repair Kitwith patience. Fiberglass is a strong material that will bond to almost any surface if prepared. It is applied by cutting the mat into the size of the repair and layering. The resin, mixed with hardener, is applied to the mat. See our 1 Quart fiberglass repair kit.

Most professionals recommend exposing the sound fiberglass around the damaged area to have a firm base. Grind down the edges to firm fiberglass and then clean the damaged area with acetone, or solvent provided, to remove any dust or grease that may remain. If repairing from the inside, place tape over the outside of the hole or crack to prevent resin from running down the finished face.

Cut the fiberglass into layers for size of repair. Mix the resin and hardener as directed, in small amounts as it will harden quickly. Layer the fiberglass and resin until level with the surrounding area, completing with the cloth overlapping well onto the sound hull surface.

After cured remove irregularities in the patch surface with a disc sander or drill with sanding attachment…don’t over sand, just smooth. Move to finer paper until it matches the contour. If using gelcoat to finish off patch see our gelcoat application guide or gelcoat repair guide.

Click here for the West System Handy Repair Pack or Maxi Repair Pack guide to application.

Topside Boat Paint Options: What are your choices?

There are many different topside boat paints and qualities, generally the more you spend the better the results.

Duralux High Gloss Marine Enamel is affordable and easy to apply and only recommended for above the waterline or moderate use on the bottom (a day or so in the water, not extended periods). This topside paint works best in very thin coats; see the prep recommendations found on product page on “how to use” tab. Duralux marine enamels does have a limited color offering in a flat finish, but those color choices are limited to their camouflage paint colors. For use on aluminum the Duralux Zinkromate Primer is recommended and for use on wood the Duralux Yacht Primer is recommended for best adhesion.

Bluewater offers a variety of Alkyd, Polyurethane, and Silicone Copolymer paints for the topside in a variety of gloss color options and available in quarts and gallons. Recommended primers include the Copolymer and Polyurethane Primers to aid in proper adhesion of paint.

Aquagard offers a water based enamel, Aqua-Gloss, for customers that want to avoid solvents or restricted waterways/marines that don’t allow solvents. The Aquagard paints are available in several high gloss colors for use on fiberglass, aluminum and wood. An easy to apply 190 Waterbased Primer is recommended for aluminum or wooden surfaces with use of the Aquagard 180 Wash and Dewaxer.

You also have a choice from Supermarine Paints that can be used above or below the waterline and come in a few different styles.  The Revolution  (great option if rolling/brushing)  or Mono Epoxy (durable and looks best sprayed) are the easiest to use and usually customers choose the Supermarine Etching Primer (SM 664D) for the primer. They are also available in your choice of sheen (satin or gloss). Click on “view more” for the paint and use the specification/how to use tabs for detailed instructions, coverage and preparation on any of the product pages. The “work horse” is the Two Part Epoxy, most durable of the Supermarine choices with the top of the line selection is Ironside. The previous two paints are available in flat and semi gloss as well as satin and gloss.

The best available boat paint for the topside with the best finish is Awlgrip, most expensive but best results and loved by customers. Awlgrip marine paint also requires a little more “do it yourself savy” to apply these paints, and require the correct activators and reducers when applying. The manufacturer of Awlgrip recommends it for above waterline use only.

Your topside boat paint choice depends on your budget, the durability needed and the amount of time you want to spend on your boat paint application.

 

What is the best paint for my boat?

A lot of factors contribute to what paint is best for your boat:

Are you painting the entire boat, or just the bottom? Are you in fresh water or salt water? Is your boat trailered?

What is on the bottom of the boat now: bottom paint, paint or gelcoat? As once an antifouling bottom paint has been applied only bottom paint can go over it (unless you remove it). Gelcoat application is recommended over fiberglass, most resins and gelcoat. It can have difficulty adhering to other surfaces.

Supermarine Paint can be applied all over the boat but won’t prevent growth in water but is durable and available in over 80 colors.

For topside only the Duralux Marine Enamel is an economical choice with several colors to choose from and easy application.

Gelcoat is usually what is original to most boats; a bass boat will have  metal flake mixed in.

We sell metal flake that can be added to gelcoat or paint but we don’t sell any with it already mixed in.

Ablative bottom paint can help with the slime and will wear away slowly over time and is trailerable. Bottom paint is applied below the waterline only.

 

 

Do I Need Bottom Paint on My Boat?

 

Sea Hawk Cukote Bottom PaintTypically when people discuss bottom paint on a boat they are referring to Antifouling paint. Bottom paint prevents growth of organisms that attach to the hull and can affect a vessels speed, performance, and durability when boat is kept in the water for extended periods of time.  If you don’t have that problem, you may not need bottom paint. Antifouling bottom paint typically has a flat, dull finish that is used below the waterline.

If you don’t have a growth problem or would like a nice shine to your boat’s bottom look to our other items like gelcoat or SuperMarine paint, see easy paint application for the do it yourselfer.  Gelcoat adheres to most gelcoats or fiberglass/resins, see how to apply gelcoat.  A boat bottom with antifouling will need to have it removed via sanding, sandblasting or bottom paint remover before a different type of paint will adhere.

There are generally two types of bottom paint both of which have several variations that create a multitude of products in the market place. The two different types or categories of bottom paint include hard bottom paint and ablative bottom paint.

Hard Bottom Paint vs. Ablative Bottom Paint

Hard bottom paint is bottom paint that is a hard modified epoxy. After you apply hard bottom paint it is very durable and does not wear off. Hard bottom paints typically have a higher ratio of pesticides (usually copper) in them that are exposed in the outer surface of the bottom paint coating. As time goes by, the coating oxidizes and becomes less effective in combating marine growth. Hard bottom paint is generally used on boats when the boat sits for long periods of time without moving at all, or there is little movement of water (current/ tide) around the boat. You should not use a hard paint if you boat comes out of the water such as on a trailer or a lift. After 72 hours, the hard bottom paint will oxidize on the outer surface from the air and becomes ineffective. If you are trailering your boat, or keep it on a lift you should always use ablative bottom paint.

Ablative bottom paint, also known as self- polishing bottom paint, is softer and allows the coating to wear off at a controlled rate. Much like a bar of soap, once the boat moves in the water or there is a current and or tide, the outer layer slowly wears away. The wearing away of the self-polishing bottom paint allows for new, unoxidized paint to be exposed. Therefore, if you are trailering your boat, or it comes in and out of the water for any reason, the paint will oxidize within 72 hours. However, once placed back in service, that oxidized ablative paint wears away and exposes a new fresh outer coating with active protection. Ablative bottom paint is a newer technology then hard paint. It is the preferred bottom paint of most users since it typically lasts longer and continuously exposes a new active outer coating that protects against marine growth.

For more how to use details see How to apply bottom paint to bare fiberglass or How to apply bottom paint over existing bottom paint.

Applying Antifouling Paint to a Pontoon Boat

If you do not have any coatings at all on the bottom of the boat, we suggest to sand the pontoons with 80 grit and then apply Tuff Stuff High Build Epoxy. It is a water tight barrier coat designed for use under the waterline and with aluminum hulls. Tuff Stuff will insure that you protect the aluminum from corrosion, and also aid in the adhesion of the antifouling paint. Use 2 coats. You can apply the 2nd coat within a couple of hours of the first coat. See detailed instructions at How to Apply Marine Epoxy Primer”.

TUFFSTUFFnewAfter you apply Tuff Stuff marine epoxy primer on hull, be sure to use an aluminum safe antifouling paint. The bottom paint needs to be applied the same day as the Tuff Stuff marine epoxy primer. Antifoulants in general are designed to repel hard growth. For soft growth you should have an additional biocide that help with the algae. Smart Solution is an excellent antifoul for aluminum pontoons used in salt water as well as Mission Bay for fresh or salt water.

WARNING: You should only use an aluminum safe antifouling like Mission Bay or Smart Solution. Using any other type of copper based antifouling could severely damage your pontoons and will cause corrosion, pitting and eventually holes in your pontoon boat.

If you do not need antifouling paint and are in fresh water, we suggest using one of the products located in the “How to Paint an Aluminum Jon Boat article.

Links:

How to Video:

How to Apply Non-Skid Paints

Non-skid paints can be used for various different applications and circumstances. The most common use of non-skid is on boats, or for marine use. Although that is the most common, it is used in many more conditions. Here are some other examples of how non skid paint can be used outside of the nautical setting.

  • Industrial Buildings
  • Amusement Parks
  • Utility Vehicles
  • Ramps
  • Mechanic Shop
  • Walk-in Freezers
  • Ski Areas
  • Handicap Utilities
  • Residential Decks
  • Stairs
  • Restaurant kitchens
  • Stadiums
  • Restrooms
  • Warehouse floors
  • Wooden Decks
  • Food prep areas
  • Hospitals
  • Schools

Floor GripWhen it comes to non skid paints, there are two types of paint you can go with.  The first category are non-skid paints that come with the non skid formula pre mixed. An example of this is the Supermarine non-skid paint  called Floor Grip, or Floor Grip II for wood. The supermarine paint is an easy paint to apply, especially for the “do it yourselfer”. For best results you will want to remove any of the existing paint on the surface with sand paper followed by a good pressure washing. This removes any grit or oil that may interfere with the adhesion of coats of non-skid paint you will be applying.

After cleaning the surface, you will need to let it dry before applying any primer. The recommended primer for this job would be SM-664D etching primer by Supermarine. Note, the Floor Grip II when applied to wood needs no primer. This will give a good surface for your non-skid paint to grip on to.

Please note: You only need the etching primer for Glazed tile, fiberglass, aluminum and composite materials. Once the primer dries you are ready to mix your non-skid paint. You may start by scraping the containe, using a stir stick, down the sides to help loosen the aggregate.  This step may be difficult and the use of a high speed mixer will ease the process as well as some of the SM-605 thinner . Once mixed for a good two minutes you are ready to apply the paint. Floor Grip Non-Skid Paint may be brushed or rolled on to a wet film thickness of 25-30 mils. The first coat is able to be recoated in 12-48 hours depending on the temperature and humidity levels. Try to avoid heavy overlaps on your strokes and heavy build up in single areas.

This non-skid coating comes in over 90 colors to choose from. Keep in mind the supermarine non-skid paint maintains its color and gloss without chalking, yellowing or fading.

The next option is to add non-skid to paint or gelcoat. This process is when you take paint/gelcoat and add a non-skid additive such as Duralux non-skid additive , Seahawk non-skid additive for gelcoat, Griptex for Awlgrip and Pro Tex for Supermarine paints

The additive for gelcoat is extremely easy and adds just one extra step to the gelcoat application process. You simply mix the additive in with the gel coat before application and then apply. Alternative preferred application methods include using a flour sifter, powdered sugar shaker, or the punctured container itself, sprinkle the non skid into the gelcoat or paint. To use the container, first punch holes in the lid with a nail or ice pick overlappping the broadcasting stroke to provide a uniform pattern.

The amount you use is completely subjective and dependent on what your goal is; it is recommended to use no more than a quart of non-skid per gallon of paint.  The available sizes of additive are a quart and a gallon. The same goes for the Duralux non-skid additive when you add it to the paint.

How to Repair a Gelcoat Scratch or Hole

When looking at a scratch in the gelcoat, you need to determine whether it is a surface scratch or a deep scratch. The reason being is that surface scratches can easily be buffed with a rubbing compound as opposed to deep scratches which take a couple more steps. As long as the gelcoat around the deep scratch is in good condition, you will be able to use gelcoat paste or you can make one using gelcoat and an aerosil filler/thickener. Once the filler is applied, the service will be uneven so sanding and polishing will be necessary. Customers report wet sanding with 2000 grit worked well. Everything about the repair of the scratch is fairly easy to do.

For deeper gouges, you will need to purchase a gelcoat repair kit (see instructions here) or purchase gelcoat in various colors. Tints are available as well if custom matching larger quantities of gelcoat or paste. The kit will contain everything you need to do the job including some tints for matching. Some find the gouge needs to be scraped deeper with a screwdriver or Dremel tool to open it into a wide V to make sure the gelcoat has a place to settle and more permanent.  If you simply cover the cracks they may continue to spread. The  gelcoat that exists on the boat is already bonded with the laminates that are underneath. That being said, you will have to rough the surface up a bit with sand paper in order to give the paste something to stick to. Please note that you need to clean the surface with acetone after sanding to clean any contaminates off that may interfere with the filling process.

When the damage is a larger (like a screw hole) you made need 3M’s Preminum Marine Filler or 3M Marine High Strength Repair Filler. These are for bonding and filling repairs above or below the waterline and can be sanded. Some customers perfer to mix some thickener (cabosil) and gelcoat to a thick consistancy. Both of these products can be applied with a spreader. If coating over with gelcoat be sure to leave space (about 1/8 inch) for the gelcoat.

Once you have the gelcoat mixed, saving the hardener for last, begin to spread over the gouge with a plastic spreader. Since the paste will shrink slightly as it dries, make sure you put a little extra paste on the “wound”. A slight bulge will be ideal after the paste is applied. As the paste will not cure completely in the air, you will need to put a plastic film over it. If your kit does not have one, shrink wrap or wax paper will work. Tape the plastic/wax paper on all sides over the paste and let dry for 24 hours.

After the 24 hours are up, remove the plastic/wax paper. Take a piece of 400 grit sandpaper accompanied with a 3M sanding block and begin to level any areas that are raised and uneven. It will help if you have a bucket of water or water hose handy to wash away the excess material as you sand. Once you have completed the sanding with the 400 grit, you will need to now use a 600 grit sandpaper to go over the repair. The reason this is being done is to eliminate any scratches the 400 grit may have put in the repair and smooth it even more. You will continue this process moving up to a 800 grit and then a 1200 grit. Occasionally you will want to dry the repair area just to get an idea of the work you have done so far.  At this point you can wax and buff the repair.

For puncture holes through the gelcoat or several holes have been drilled through and need filling you can also consider using the Hawk Epoxy System. See information on how to choose the Hawk Epoxy kit.

Removing Stains from Gelcoat

A gelcoat surface is a very smooth, mirror-like finish when it is new. As gelcoat ages, it becomes porous which means the more easily it stains, the worse it looks and the harder it is to clean. Most all gelcoat can be restored, providing it is not completely worn through. Exhaust stains, like diesel, can develop on the surface of the Gel Coat. These stains can set in on the wax surface of the gel coat but the right cleaner can remove them. If the stain goes deeper, a bit of elbow grease will be needed.

Clean and inspect the surface with a wash with a mild cleaner like 3M’s boat soap or some alternative stronger cleaners if needed. After cleaning, dry and inspect surface for needs to be addressed: scratches, dings, cracking and crazing and to fix these flaws before rubbing out the gelcoat and restoring its shine. See the fiberglass/gelcoat repair section for options and the West System Video for “how to” instruction.

Apply a fiberglass stain remover, like 3M Fiberglass Restorer and Wax , Mothers Marine Black Streak Remover, or 3M Marine Cleaner and Wax to the stained gelcoat area with a clean rag. The black/gray stains are the result of soot being deposited on your hull. It can happen when wet exhaust systems mix the exhaust gases with seawater and discharge those gases or dry exhaust systems discharging the soot directly into the atmosphere and it lands on your boat.

These liquid one-step products that combine a polish or compound with a wax remove oxidation, and protect the gelcoat in one step.

Wait 10-15 minutes. If the stain is simply laying on the surface of the Gel Coat, the stain will begin to loosen; rinse and inspect the results.

If the stain is lifting, repeat. If not, then something stronger like a more abrasive compound with a polisher may be needed; in that case a wax will be needed to restore the shine. Each time compound products are used, some of the gelcoat is removed. Use caution to use the least aggressive product that will get the job done. Frequently all that may be needed is to apply a protective coating of wax, such as 3M Ultra Performance WaxScotchgard Marine Wax, or Mothers Marine Synthetic Wax to help keep that shine.

For more gelcoat restoration tips see our how to Maintain and Restore Gelcoat link.

Eco-Clad Bottom Paint Review

eco cladAfter further review on the performance of Eco-Clad as a bottom paint, we are NOT offering this product to our customer base. Eco Clad is engineered to support a natural beneficial biofilm (slime) on the coated area. However, we have heard several complaints about the products’ poor performance when it comes to keeping growth off the boat. The company has done a great job of marketing Eco Clad everywhere, and claims better fuel economy and faster speeds.    This might be true, but performs only for a few months at best. After that you will see substantial marine growth and even worse fuel ecomony and speed along with the added costs of a new bottom job.

Our opinion and recommendation is to stay away from Eco-Clad unless you plan on keeping your boat in fresh water. Your are much better off using a traditional high quality bottom paint.

Easy Boat Paint Application for the Do it Yourselfer

Revolution Marine Paint does a better job protecting and keeping fiberglass, aluminum, steel and wooden surfaces looking good longer than typical marine enamels. It lasts as long or longer than two-part urethanes and will not chalk like typical epoxy. While gel coat and many marine enamels are quick to chalk and fade, require regular cleaning, waxing and buffing to maintain their appearance Revolution boat paint maintains its color and gloss longer. It provides a bright, smooth “lively” protective finish years longer. When impacted or abraded it will not crack or spider-web like epoxy or gel coat. It stays clean longer and scuffs are easily buffed to a high gloss finish.

Revolution is the first boat paint of its kind recommended for use above and below the waterline on virtually any boat or vessel regardless of materials often eliminating the need for antifouling bottom paint in fresh water (it is not antifouling). It has been formulated to outperform both typical topside and antifouling bottom paints on trailered and boats in fresh water. Even better; it increases the speed of most vessels by as much as 10% saving money in fuel and time in transit! Independent test data confirms its spectacular performance, longevity and durability; achieving more than a 40 year lifespan in constant submersion accelerated durability testing.

The exceptionally beautiful finish of Revolution marine paint must be seen to appreciate. The cured film has a unique soft, smooth glossy appearance; considerably smoother than typical paint yet slip resistant in nature! It is easy to apply, lasts longer and saves money in maintenance and on fuel. It provides a high level of corrosion resistance topside or under the waterline.

REVOLUTION PRODUCT SPECIFICATIONS

Product type: Silicone Alkyd Epoxy-Ester Copolymer Coating.

Product benefits: High Solid content, low V.O.C., hard yet flexible film, high gloss with excellent gloss retention, self priming on many surfaces, self leveling film, excellent adhesion to prepared surfaces, resistant to many alkalis, highly water-resistant, resistant to chalking, fading & chipping, resists peeling & cracking, weather-resistant, resists the effects of high heat.

Physical Characteristics:

Viscosity: 85-90 k.u. Dry to touch: 2-4 hours Weight solids: 70-72%

Recoat: 12-48 hours Volume solids: 54-56% WT per gal: 10.1 (White)

V.O.C.: 337 grams per liter Flash point: 105° F. Maximum WFT: 2 mils

Recommended DFT: 3.4+

Coverage: 700-800 sq. ft. per gallon @ 1 mil dry; nice thin coats for this type of paint works best. If too thick the cure time can be very long.

Thinner: SM-101 Leveling Thinner is a must have with this product! Thin 15-25%.

SUNDRIES: Sandpaper-80 grit for repairs 120 grit for rough sanding-180 grit for finish sanding. Mohair or wool roller covers, roller frame, roller tray and natural bristle brushes. Rubber gloves, canister type air filter for spray applications.

Cleaner: Recommend SM-695 Etching Cleaner (popular item for preparation) for fiberglass, aluminum, concrete and prepared steel surfaces. Where rust is evident use SM-5679 Rust Converting Cleaner.

Primer:

Aluminum, galvanized and Stainless: Use SM-117 Pre-Wash Primer in combination with any other Supermarine primer including SM-664D Etching Primer, SM-7390 Formula 150 Polyamide Epoxy Primer or SM-787 Mono Epoxy Primer. The SM-117 Primer is a metal treatment including zinc chromate. Zinc chromate is very effective, very
hard to find, protective element. In addition to protecting, the 117 Primer
provides additional adhesion to aluminum, galvanized, anodized and stainless
steel surfaces. It is not needed on any other surface other than these. Painted aluminum is different from bare aluminum. All painted surfaces, if the paint is sound, can be scuffed, cleaned and Revolution applied to it without primer. Also the SM-7390 Formula 150 Epoxy Primer works very nicely over SM-117 Primer. The Formula 150 is a barrier coating, that said it is not easily sanded.

Fiberglass: Use SM-664D Etching Primer or SM-787 Mono Epoxy Primer.

Steel, iron & concrete: SM-7390 Formula 150 Epoxy Primer or SM-787 Mono Epoxy Primer.

Wood: See SM-664D Etching Primer.

Note:

SM-664D Etching primer is good because it is easy to use being single stage, is fast drying (only 2 hours to sand or paint), sands beautifully, and has phenolic acid in it for a tenacious bond. It literally adheres to everything, metal, wood, fiberglass, . Here’s a key point; it is porous. The porosity is intentional. The porosity of it causes the top coat, which is hopefully a barrier coat, to be sucked in creating a permanent bond between paint and primer. Its great stuff.  One problem that occasionally comes up is the porosity of it means it can pick up moisture over night. You can prime, go home, come back in the morning after a heavy dew, rain or high humidity, apply paint and find the whole thing is fouled. We always warn novice painters they must be sure the primer is dry before painting.

Slip Resistance: For added slip resistance add 8 ounces SM-630 Pro-Tex, 1 lb Tred-Tex or Gaco-Grip.

Clean up: Clean with Lacquer Thinner.

Accelerate/Harden: See SM-160 Accelerator/Hardener. Refer to Application Instructions Sheet, Product Data Sheet, label directions or contact us for additional information.

How To Apply Revolution: All applications should begin with the removal of hardware, ventilators, bang irons and decorative name plates. After that, the steps to prepare a boat for paint or a clear coating are only slightly different from those taken with wood, fiberglass, aluminum or steel. The difference between an amateur and professional application is often preparation. The smart painter puts most of his effort into preparing the boat for painting. The old saying is true that 99% of a good paint job lies in preparation and 99% of paint failures are due to poor preparation. This is a statistic you do not want applied to your project! Do not cut corners when preparing your boat for paint!

Previously painted boats: Best results will be achieved when most or all old boat paints have been completely *removed and primer applied to all surfaces, however, paint in good condition may be cleaned and de-waxed with SM-695 Etching Cleaner then sanded with 100 grit sandpaper in preparation for paint. An orbital palm sander or dual-action rotary sander will be less strenuous than hand sanding. Sanding will reveal areas that are blistered or flaking requiring removal. Such areas should be repaired if needed and properly primed. Hand sand to feather the repair to the level of the rest of the existing paint for best results. Scrapes, scratches and divots may be filled with painter’s glazing compound prior to painting. Trowel it into the blemish with a putty knife allowing it to set up before sanding smooth. All repairs and glazing compounds should be primed and sanded before proceeding with Revolution boat paint.

Preparation on Fiberglass & Aluminum: Loose scale, peeling or cracking paint, corrosion, dirt, grime, oil, grease and wax all must be thoroughly *removed. Always clean thoroughly before making any repairs or sanding. Wax removal is critical and should be done with SM-695 Etching Cleaner or a commercial wax remover. Where silicone polishes are present be sure to use a blended solvent polish remover to remove silicone. A second application of cleaner is helpful. Once cleaned, gouges and scrapes may be filled with epoxy putty. Build up the epoxy above the surrounding surface so that it can be sanded smooth. Epoxy filler is hard so power sanding is advised. A dual-action rotary sander achieves the best results however a good orbital palm sander is acceptable. Rough sand the patch with 80 grit then switch to 120 grit sandpaper to achieve the final contour. Once repairs have been completed sand the entire area to be refinished with 120 to 180 grit sandpaper then clean with a pre-paint cleaner or recommended solvent.

Preparing Raw Wood (Unpainted): Bare wood should be sanded with 80 grit paper before the application of Primer. Select SM-664D Primer to fill, build and create a smooth easy to adhere to surface. It has an unusually high amount of solid material, sands beautifully and locks our air and moisture. Recommend allowing primer to dry for 2-4 hours before sanding with 120 grit paper. Often repeated coats are applied to achieve a smooth finished surface. Repeated primer coats and sanding may be continued until the grain has been filled and the surface is completely smooth. Recommend 180 grit sandpaper for use in finish sanding. The use of other primers is acceptable.

Fasteners in wood hulls are always countersunk below the surface of the planks. It is necessary to fill these countersinks in order to achieve a completely smooth finish. Surfacing putties are preferred over epoxy or polyester putties because epoxy putties can be harder to remove should it ever become necessary to remove a plank for repair.

Carvel planked boats require a seam compound. Traditional seam compounds are never applied until after the hull has received a primer base coat. Traditional seam compounds should never be applied to bare wood, however, polysulfide seam compounds must be applied only to bare wood. Apply polysulfide seam compounds into the seam prior to applying primer.

Preparing Wood (Previously Painted): Paint in good condition should be sanded with 120 grit paper to knock off the gloss. Orbital palm sanders or dual action rotary sanders make *sanding large areas much easier. Sanding usually reveals paint that has blistered or flaked requiring scraping the hull and sanding to bare wood. Such areas should filled, primed and sanded smooth.

The inevitable sunken fastener holes, scratches and dings should be filled with painter’s glazing compound – not to be confused with glazing putty used to keep glass in home windows. Marine glazing compound is a fine putty intended for repairing small surface blemishes prior to painting. Apply to the blemish area with a putty knife, allow it to cure thoroughly then sand surface to a smooth finish.

Deteriorating Paint should be completely removed from the hull before repairs or primer is applied. Power sanding is preferred over paint remover. This process is referred to as “wooding down.” Once the old boat paint has been removed prepare the hull as if it were new bare wood.

Preparation on Steel: Proper surface *preparation is vital. Previously painted surfaces must be thoroughly cleaned and free of residues, oily film, and loose paint chips. All rust, loose scale and contaminates must be thoroughly *removed prior to the application of primer. Preparation should include wire brushing by hand, mechanical grinding and or sand blasting of all surfaces. Rust should be treated with SM-5679 Phos-Pro Rust Converting Metal Conditioner. Rust free and galvanized metals should be treated with SM-695 Etching Cleaner. Once all surfaces have been carefully prepared, rust, oil, grease and contaminates removed, the application of recommended primer should be applied without delay to prevent new corrosion. Surfaces treated with SM-5679 Phos-Pro must be primed within 24 hours (See Performance Data Sheets and MSDS for SM-5679 Phos-Pro and SM-695 Etching Cleaner for further information).

Primer: Aluminum, fiberglass, existing epoxy and gel coat are “hard to paint” surfaces requiring an etching primer. SM-664D Etching Primer is recommended for use on all gel coat, epoxy, raw fiberglass and wooden surfaces. Aluminum: SM-117 Pre-Wash Primer must be used in combination with an intermediate primer including SM-664 or SM-7390. You will find the Etching Primer provides outstanding adhesion, build, sandability. Its use on aluminum and fiberglass result in better adhesion of the finish coat than can be obtained by any other process. It may applied with a brush, roller or sprayed. Using a roller speeds up the work and provides a higher film thickness than spraying. Apply a minimum of one evenly applied coat to all areas that will be painted. Film build is high making sanding surprisingly easy. Use Etching Primer as filler by simply building it up with a brush, allowing it to dry then sanding it smooth. When spraying Etching Primer it will likely need to be thinned with SM-605 Thinner. Do not substitute with other thinners. Galvanized steel, stainless steel and anodized surfaces must be treated with a fog coat of SM-117 Prewash Primer. We recommend using SM-664D, SM-5000 or SM-7390 Primer as an intermediate primer coat before the application of Revolution. Epoxy primers, which produce superior hardness are well liked on steel and fiberglass. Apply two or more coats of epoxy primer.

Finish Coats: Fiberglass, Aluminum & Steel: Professionally applied spray coat applications yield superior results, however Revolution levels exceptionally well in brush and roll applications. Unless you are experienced with spray equipment the best way for the do it yourselfer is to apply Revolution is by roller coat. When properly thinned in appropriate temperatures (SM-101 Thinner 15%-25%) Revolution levels exceptionally well. It had a good defoamer “bubble popping additive” so the need for tipping is eliminated. Aside from spraying, which offers the best film thickness control, rolling is often the best way to achieve the recommended wet film thickness, 2 mils WFT (Wet Film Thickness). The recommended DFT is 3.4 mils. Applications applied too thickly may not adhere or level properly, run, sag and take days, or even weeks to cure. Always adhere to the manufacturers recommended WFT and DFT (Dry Film Thickness)!

Revolution boat paint must always be stirred or shaken thoroughly before use. It may be brushed, rolled or sprayed utilizing conventional and HVLP spray equipment. The solid content is exceptionally high so thinning will be necessary in most applications. The amount of thinner required will vary depending on ambient temperature, type of equipment used, method of application, humidity, color and amount of control desired and tip size in spray applications. We suggest beginning with minimum dilution at first and increasing dilution as needed subject to your individual application requirements.

Revolution may be built up to achieve a higher DFT where desired. Two, three or more thin coats are acceptable to achieve the recommended DFT. Boot and bottom stripes should always be applied over top of the recommended DFT. For best results recoat within 24-48 hours or sand between applications. Allow top coat film to cure thoroughly before allowing it to enter full service duty. The recommended minimum cure time is 7 days under most conditions. DO NOT allow newly applied paint to get wet for a minimum of 48 hours. The dry cured film may be wet sanded and buffed to remove runs and blemishes.

What should I watch out for?

INCOMPATABILITY ISSUES: Revolution belongs to a classification of coatings referred to as “long-oils”. While long oils may be applied over virtually any surface or existing coating they may NOT be over coated with products that include high percentages of lacquer, xylene, toluol or similar “hot” solvents. Our guaranty is void unless applied at the recommended thickness and used only with recommended Supermarine cleaners, thinners, accelerator/hardener and primers. When painting over preexisting primer or paint be sure it has cured before proceeding.

SOFTNESS OR WRINKLING: Strictly adhere to manufacturers recommended minimum and maximum WFT and DFT. When Revolution has been applied too thickly the coating may not catalyze properly which may lead to extended dry and cure times, softness of the film or a failed application. Runs and sags: If you get runs or sagging it has most likely been applied to thick. This product may be different than what you may have used previously. Recommend doing a small test before committing to the entire project. Testing the product will give you a feel for the product resulting in fewer problems.

DRYING PROBLEMS /SLOW CURING: Revolution is catalyzed by oxygen rather than chemically. The full cure may take longer to achieve than expected. The curing process should be allowed to be completed naturally or with the addition of SM-160 Accelerator/Hardener before entering full service duty or film failure may occur. When you cannot mark it with your fingernail you know it has cured enough to enter full duty service. When the film remains soft after 48 hours it has likely been applied too heavily. Dark and MT colors are typically slower to dry and cure. Using SM-160 A/H forced drying (adding heat such as oven baking) or increasing air movement across the curing film are ways to speed dry and cure times. Allow more time (weeks if needed) until the film has cured. If after several weeks the film is still soft it will likely require removal and replacement. The use of SM-160 A/H is optional. It’s use increase hardness, chemical resistance and speeds cure times.

How to Use Metal Flake in Gel Coat

Gel coat is a resin that is pigmented with color. The consistency of gel coat is very thick and is best applied with a spray gun. Metal flake is commonly used in clear gel coat for that “bass boat” look; Although it appears that the metal flakes are mixed into the base coat, they are usually mixed into the clear gel coat.

This can be applied over the colored gel coat and the metal flake is usually coated with clear gelcoat for added UV protection and to smooth the surface. The larger the metalflake, the more coats of clear gel coat it will often take to cover.

Usually it is recommended to use around 16 oz of metal flake per gallon of gelcoat and personal preference plays a role as there us no magic ratio for adding flake. The typical bass boat will use 2-3 lbs of metal flake in the gelcoat. Mix the gelcoat inside a pail thoroughly with a paint stirrer to disperse the metal flakes. Stir the gel coat thoroughly and frequently during application to prevent the metal flakes from settling to the bottom.

Metal flake gelcoat is best applied using a gel coat spray gun to achieve an even coating and be sure to use an appropriate nozzle tip based on flake size.

You will need to disassemble the spray gun to clean it well as the flakes can lodge into small areas.

Related Articles: How to Apply Gel Coat

Gel Coat Color Match Chart

Use the color chart below to determine how to tint your gel coat. Use the base color shown above and then add the corresponding gel coat tint (gel coat coloring agent) . For smaller repairs you should consider a gelcoat repair kit (available in 1oz and 4 oz kits) that include a gelcoat paste and the tints for custom matching. For larger amounts of gelcoat, we also have over 12 premixed colors of gel coat to choose from (available in quart and gallons) . You can also use a neutral gelcoat which can be used with the coloring agents to make any custom gelcoat color.

Other Product Links:

What is the difference in Hard Bottom Paint and Ablative Bottom Paint?

Hard Bottom Paint Vs. Ablative Bottom Paint

Bottom paint is generally used to keep the growth off of the bottom of your boat. There are generally two types of bottom paint both of which have several variations that create a multitude of products in the market place. The two different types or categories of bottom paint include a hard bottom paint, and an ablative bottom paint.

Sharskin Hard Bottom PaintHard Bottom Paint is bottom paint that is a hard modified epoxy. After you apply a hard bottom paint it is very durable and does not wear off. Hard Bottom Paints ypically have a higher ratio of pesticides (usually copper)  in them that are exposed in the outer surface of the bottom paint coating. As time goes buy, the coating oxidizes and becomes less effective in combating marine growth. Hard bottom paint is generally used on boats when the boat sits for long periods of time without moving at all, or there is little movement of water (current/ tide) around the boat. You should not use a hard paint if you boat comes out of the water such as on a trailer, or a lift. After 72 hours, the hard bottom paint will oxidize on the outer surface from the air and becomes ineffective. If you are trailering your boat, or keep it on a lift you should always use an ablative bottom paint.

AF-33 Ablative Bottom PaintAblative bottom paint, also known as self- polishing bottom paint, is softer and allows the coating to wear off at a controlled rate. Much like a bar of soap, once the boat moves in the water or there is a current and or tide, the outer layer slowly wears away. The wearing away of the self-polishing bottom paint allows for new, un-oxidized paint to be exposed. Therefore, if you are trailering your boat, or it comes in and out of the water for any reason, the paint will oxidize within 72 hours. However, once placed back in service, that oxidized ablative paint wears away and exposes a new fresh outer coating with active protection. Ablative bottom paint is a newer technology then hard paint. It is the preferred bottom paint of most users since it typically lasts longer and continuously exposes a new active outer coating that protects against marine growth.

Related Articles and links:

Hard Bottom Paint

Ablative Bottom Paint

Applying Bottom Paint

Bottom Paint Cross Reference Guide

See the table below for a listing of most bottom paints and how they compare by the top manufacturers.
Bottom Paint Cross Reference Guide.
Top Performing Bottom Paints
sea hawk paints
interlux_paints Pettit Paints Blue Water Marine Paints
Biocop TF Micron 66 Ultima SR60* Gold Coast SPC
Islands 77 Plus Micron 77 Copper Pro SCX*
Cukote Biocide* Micron Extra with Biolux* Ultima SR40* Copper Pro SCX*
Self Polishing / Ablative Bottom Paints
Sea Hawk  Interlux Pettit Blue Water
Biocop TF Micron 66 Ultima SR60* Gold Coast SPC
Islands 77 Plus Micron 66 Copper Pro SCX*
Cukote Biocide* Micron Extra with Biolux* Ultima SR40* Copper Shield SCX*
Cukote Micron CSC Ultima SSA Copper Shield 45 Ablative
Monterey Fiberglass Bottomkote Aqua Hydrocoat SR* Aqua Shield
Hydrocoat
Hydrocoat Eco
AF-33 Micron CSC Horizons Copper Shield Uno
ACT Ultima SR40
Mission Bay Trilux 33 Vivid KOLOR
Mission Bay CSF
N/A Bottomkote NT Seamate New England Copper
Hard Modified Epoxy Bottom Paints
Sea Hawk  Interlux Pettit Blue Water
Tropikote Ultra-Kote Trinidad 75
Trindad
Tropikote Biocide Plus* Ultra with Biolux* Trinidad SR* Copper Pro SCX Hard*
Trindad Pro*
Sharkskin Fiberglass Bottomkote with Irgarol* Unepoxy Plus Copper Shield Hard
Talon Unepoxy Standard, Copper-Guard
Aluminum Safe Bottom Paints
Sea Hawk  Interlux Pettit Blue Water
Smart Solution Pacifica Ultima Eco KOLOR
Micron CF*
Mission Bay Trilux 33 Vivid Shelter Islands Plus
Mission Bay CSF
Water Based Bottom Paints
Sea Hawk  Interlux Pettit Blue Water
Monterey Fiberglass Bottomkote Aqua Hydrocoat SR* Aqua Shield
Hydrocoat
Hydrocoat Eco
Mission Bay CSF n/a
Outdrive Bottom Paints
Sea Hawk  Interlux Pettit Blue Water
Outdrive Paint Trilux 33 Aerosol Alumaspray Plus Aerosol Drivesleek Outdrive Aerosol
Bottom Paint Primers
Sea Hawk  Interlux Pettit Blue Water
Bottom Paint Primer Primocom Tie Coat Primer 6627 BarrierShield Primer
Islands Prime
Shawkocon
1266 Non-Sanding Primer YPA200 No-Sand Primer Skip Sand Primer 6998
Barnacle Blocker Aerosol Primocon Aerosol
High Build Epoxy Primers
Sea Hawk  Interlux Pettit Blue Water
Tuff Stuff Interprotect 2000E Pettit Protect Bottom Shield 70, Bottom Protect
Bottom Paint Cleaners
Sea Hawk  Interlux Pettit Blue Water
S-80  Wax ‘N Grease Killer 202  Fiberglass Solvent Wash Bottom Prep D-95 973 Dewaxer
S-90  De-Waxing Etch & Cleaner 202V  Low VOC Fiberglass Solvent Wash Bio-Blue 92
Bottom Paint Removers / Strippers
Sea Hawk  Interlux Pettit Blue Water
Marine Paint Stripper Interstrip 299E
Speciality
Sea Hawk  Interlux Pettit Blue Water
Silver Bullet VC-17M Extra* SR-21* Liquid Speed*
Inflatable Paint
Transhield

These bottom paint comparisons are the best match ups of antifoulant brands and type by manufacturer. This information is the sole the opinion of www.BottomPaintStore.com. Please consult each manufacturer for more specific product information and comparisons. 

*These items are currently out of stock from the manufacturer and are considered to be on phase out.   Availability is very limited. 

Can you use a Marine Descaler on an aluminum outboard engine?

We recommend a Hammerhead Marine Descaler Flush every 100 hours, or twice a year for any engine running in warm, calcium rich waters.  This is a revolutionary change to outboard marine engine maintenance which has come about through Bright Bay’s next generation chemistry.  Only Hammerhead Marine Descaler  is made with aluminum safe cleaning agents designed for today’s high performance marine engines. Now you can even descale your aluminum outboard engine safely!

The attached pictures were taken of a 4 stroke outboard engine in Key West.  The block cracked with less than 200 hours because marine scale had restricted water flow for engine cooling.  Because water flow and scale buildup are a maintenance item, damage was not covered under the manufacturer’s warranty on the $20,000 motor. A marine descaler would have prevented this damage.

When compared to other brands such as Rydlyme Descaler and Barnacle Buster, we found Hammerhead Marine Descaler to be as effective, less expensive  and safe for use on aluminum outboards.

Owners have historically only used “salt away” to flush outboard engines because acid descalers are not safe for the aluminum heads.  Salt away does not remove marine biogrowth which ultimately causes engines to overheat.  The traditional repair method for an overheating engine is to tear down and rebuild.  We are going to recommend that an outboard Hammerhead Flush be done with each oil change as a preventative maintenance procedure for avoiding marine scale buildup, overheating, and engine rebuilds.

Watch this video of Hammer Hear Marine Descaler in action!

Can you use water-based bottom paint over a marine epoxy primer?

Putting a water-based bottom paint  (WBP) over a solvent based primer can be done with some modified application procedures. You do NOT want to make the window, or hot coat the water based paint over the solvent based primer such as Tuff Stuff high build marine epoxy primer. If you do, it will mud crack. So instead of putting on the WBP over the Solvent Primer in the same day, you need to wait for the primer to totally cure. Then you have to sand it with 80 grit sandpaper before apply WBP. This is a lot of extra work and very difficult to sand = extremely hard surface. So the best thing to do when using a high build solvent based epoxy is to coat it with a solvent based paint. That way you skip the extra time and labor with sanding.

Awlgrip Paint, the Best Topside Boat Paint

Awlgip Marine PaintsAwlgrip Topcoat is a polyester based high gloss polyurethane topcoat giving long lasting gloss and color retention. It is considered the among the best Topside Paints in the marine industry. AwlGrip Topcoat  may be applied by brush/roller or spray. For application above the waterline only. See Awlgrip Application Guidelines

awlgrip 545 primerThe most common practice for the do it yourselfer is priming the boat with Awlgrip 545 epoxy primer. This is a 2 part primer, so you will need the base (either white or grey) and the converter. Awlgrip also recommends a reducer. The links to the converter and reducer can be found on the base primer product page.

Mixing and Reduction:
This is a two part system. You must order the base primer in either gray or white along with the D3001 Converter in the appropriate size. The mix ratio is 1:1 so if you purchase 1 quart of primer you also need 1 quart of converter for a total of 2 quarts. Additionally you need to purchase the appropriate reducer (spray or brush) for spraying reduce up to 25% with T0006 and for brushing reduce up to 10% with T0031.

Theoretical Coverage: 497 Sq feet/gallon at one mil dry (25 microns) 165-248 Sq. Feet at recommended dry film thickness. Calculated based on a theoretical transfer efficiency of 100%.

Then you will choose your base color of Awlgrip Topside paint, the converter and reducer. The reducer and converter change depending if you are spraying or brush/rolling.

Mixing and Reduction

Spray: Mix by volume one part AWLGRIP Topcoat Base Component (Color) with one part AWL-CAT #2 G3010 spray converter to a a smooth homogenous mixture. Reduce up to 25% with the spray reducer(s) appropriate for conditions. Overall mixture is 1:1:1/2 volume. Example: 8oz Base, 8oz G3010, 4oz Reducer. 25% reduction is a standard mix. Clear coats. metallic colors, and painting in high temperature conditions may require additional reduction. 40% reduction is the maximum recommendation.

Brush/Roller: Mix by volume two parts AWLGRIP Topcoat Base Component with one part AWL-CAT #3/H3002 Brushing Converter until one smooth, homogenous mixture is obtained. Reduce 25% to 33% with T0031. Overall mix is 2:1:3/4-1 by volume. Example: 8 oz. color base component, 4 oz. H3002, 3-4 oz. T0031.

Theoretical Coverage:
Brush/Roller Application: 700-725 Sq. Feet at 1 mil (25 Microns) dry: 285 Sq. Feet at recommended dry film thickness.
Recommended Wet Film Thickness: 4.5-6 mils (112.5-150 Microns), Total of 2 Coats.
Recommended Dry Film Thickness: 2-3 mils (50-75 Microns), Total of 2 Coats.

Spray Application: 530 Sq. Feet at 1 mil (25 microns) dry film thickness; 210 SQ. Feet at recommended dry film thickness.
Recommended Wet Film Thickness: 6-9 mils (150-225 Microns), Total of 2-3 Coats.
Recommended Dry Film Thickness: 2-3 mils (50-75 Microns), Total of 2-3 Coats.

You can view the links provided above to see more information about the products, mix ratios, surface prep and auxiliary products.

How do I know if my boat has gelcoat on it or paint?

Fiberglass is what is used as the base of the boat. These are the strands underneath the gelcoat that you typically do not see. (unless there is a gouge!) Over the fiberglass usually gelcoat is applied at the factory. If the surface is scratched gelcoat is the same color throughout; if the surface has been painted when scratched it will show what is underneath.

Need a repair?

If it is just a gouge and not penetrated all the way through the boat, then you would need to fill in the gouge with 3M premium marine filler (just one product that will work but our most popular for this use). After you have filled in the gouge and sanded it down, you would then apply the topcoat of gelcoat. (gelcoat is the top finish that you see on your entire boat.) Gelcoat is typically much thicker than a paint and is designed to protect the underlying fiberglass as well as provide a smooth shiny appearance. Be sure to leave the marine filler about 1/8″ lower than the surrounding gelcoat. This will allow you to apply enough gelcoat and be able to feather the surrounding area once your done. If you leave the marine filler flush, then once you apply the gelcoat you will have a lump on the area you are repairing (gelcoat should be thick enough or it could release from repair).

Here are the products that you would need.

3M Premium Marine Filler

Gelcoat or Gelcoat repair Kit.

The amount that you will need is dependent on the size and number of gouges. If you have many gouges, you may consider buying a quart of gelcoat. However, the nice thing about the gelcoat repair kits is that they come with tints so that you can try to match your existing gelcoat color.

If you need to tint a quart our gallon to match see our available gelcoat tints, please note it isn’t recommended to use more than 1 oz of tint per quart or the curing of gelcoat could be effected.

 

What is the Best Bottom Paint Money Can Buy?

Best Bottom Paint

Best Performing Bottom Paint

The best bottom paint that money can buy may NOT be the most expensive. You should buy the bottom paint that works best in your area. That will depend on the temperature of the water, tide changes, the nutrients in the water that feed unwanted growth, and many other factors.

The best bottom paint for you will be the bottom paint that stops the growth and does not break your wallet. If you buy the best performing bottom for the harshest fouling conditions and the warmest waters you would need Sea Hawk Paints Biocop TF  or another Top Performing Bottom Paint. This provides you the absolute maximum protection against hard and soft growth on the bottom of your boat. This solution is recommended for high growth areas, or if you are trying to goes as long as you possibly can between bottom jobs. If you are in cooler climates or lower fouling conditions you would NOT need to spend the extra money on Sea Hawk Biocop TF. A better choice that is less expensive and will work in these conditions is Sea Hawk AF-33 or the equivalent.

ALUMINUM BOATS: The best bottom paint for an aluminum boat or pontoons is a copper free bottom paint. You cannot put the paints mentioned above (Copper-Based) on aluminum because they contain copper and will react like a battery causing pitting (holes) on aluminum. Therefore, we recommend an Aluminum Safe Bottom Paint. A good choice for aluminum is  Sea Hawk Smart Solution, it is copper free, completely metal-free and safe for aluminum. If the aluminum has never been painted the best practice is to prime with high build epoxy primer like Sea Hawk Tuff Stuff to insure good adhesion and protect against corrosion. If you are painting a pontoon boat for the first time – try our Pontoon Bottom Paint Kit.

Premium Outdrive bottom paint kitThe best bottom paint for the outdrives is to brush on Smart Solution. (pint size).  If your outdrive has never been painted before, you can use Barnacle Blocker Primer for priming the area application of bottom paint. A great value for this is the Premium Outdrive Bottom Paint Kit. If there is already a bottom paint on your running gear, just scuff sand and paint! Another option is to try an aerosol spray bottom paint. These are easy to apply.

Do You Need Bottom Paint Thinner?

Bottom Paint is formulated to apply via brush or rolller. Under these normal application methods, there is no need to thin bottom paint (reduce bottom paint).

Bottom Paint Reducer

Bottom Paint Thinner

There are reducers for bottom paint, but these are used for spray applications, extremely hot climates (90F+) or if you applying to wood. (bottom paint should always be reduced by 20% for the first coat of bottom paint on wood.)

When used for these applications, please follow the manufacturers’ guidelines. (typically thin bottom paint no more than 10% unless barewood (20%) per application)). Be sure to use the correct thinner for the bottom paint that you are using. Do not mix competitive brands.

Don’t waste your money on bottom paint reducer unless your application meets these conditions. Otherwise, you are just spending more money thinning your bottom paint and waiting for it to dry! Remember that bottom is not like house paint, thinning bottom paint means that you are actually spreading less bottom paint over the surface. Bottom paint needs to be thick enough to repel growth as the paint film wears away over time.

How to Paint an Aluminum Jon Boat

Paint a Jon Boat

Aluminum Jon Boat

Jon Boats are flat bottom boats manufactured for easy maneuverability in shallow water. The most used material for construction is aluminum, making them lightweight and durable for fishing and hunting. A camouflage paint job is a good idea for hunters using a Jon boat to help blend into the surrounding land and water; choose your favorite color of marine enamel that come in over 15 colors and a higher gloss than camouflage paint. The easiest and most popular paint for your boat is the aluminum boat paint green or Aluma Hawk. These are both a paint/primer in one that can be applied to most surfaces with little preparation needed.

Make sure you have a location for painting your jon boat that is free from blowing dust and debris (a garage is ideal).

Surface Prep: The surface must be dry and free of grease, wax, dirt, or other foreign matter. Scrape off all loose paint and dull any gloss area with a light sanding or power brushing. Remove all dust with a cloth dampened with paint thinner and allow to dry, you can use wax and grease remover or acetone. Sand the existing jon boat paint surface or bare aluminum with 80-100 grit sandpaper.

Use a paint scraper or sander to remove any peeling paint or areas that are likely to cause peeling on your new paint. Don’t worry about scratches because these will make it easier for the new paint to adhere by etching the surface. Use a soft bristled brush to make sure you remove all debris left from sanding.

Painting a jon boat:

Duralux Aluminum Boat Green

A primer coat is used to help the paint adhere to the jon boat aluminum surface and provides an extra layer of protection from corrosion. When using the Camouflage Paint Spray Kit, Duralux Camouflage Paint, or Marine Enamel on bare aluminum apply two coats of Duralux Zinc Chromate after sanding. If using the Aluminum Boat Paint Green or Aluma Hawk, these can be your primer and paint.

Aluma Hawk PaintIf you choose to use a simple one-step system on your bare aluminum jon boat, then Duralux Aluminum Boat Paint Green or Aluma Hawk (available in Black, Jon Boat Green or Aluminum Grey) are an excellent choice since is can be used as a primer/paint in one over bare aluminum. You should prep the surface as stated above, and then wipe down the bare aluminum jon boat with white vinegar prior to coating. This acts like an acid and will “etch” the surface for better adhesion.  You will need to apply two coats of of Aluminum Boat Paint Green. (only available in dark green)

To make the inside have a non-skid surface use the Duralux Non-Skid with the Duralux products and the Non-Skid by Sea Hawk with the Alumi Hawk. See the ‘how to apply non-skid paints’ for more details.