Author Archives: BottomPaintStore

Choosing Anodes: Zinc or Aluminum

The main water types: salt, fresh and brackish call for different protection needs for your boat. Zinc and aluminum anodes protect in salt and brackish waters and never mix zinc and aluminum on the same vessel.

Zinc= Salt Water only

Aluminum= Salt or Brackish Water

Zinc and aluminum sacrificial anodes are for use on hulls, propeller shafts, rudders, trim tabs, outboard engines, stern drives and in the cooling system of most inboard engines to protect metal parts from galvanic corrosion. Check your manual for recommended size needed and  check them on a regular basis as environmental conditions can accelerate deterioration.

What Varnish to Choose?

Typically a varnish is what is used to protect wood that exposed to the elements for long periods of time (think teak wood on boats).

Here are the links to our varnish choices to check as well.

Captain Jacks Premium Varnish Captain Jack's Varnishhas been designed for the highest quality work, with outstanding results and durability. A combination of high quality pure phenolic modified tung oil provides excellent weathering performance and will enhance the richness and beauty of the wood with classic bright work appearance. BEST VALUE!

Epifanes Wood Finish Gloss Wood Finish Gloss is the ultimate varnish alternative without sanding. It is based on phenolic-modified resins and tung oil with microscopic porosity properties. Specifically formulated for oily woods like teak and iroco, Epifanes Wood Finish Gloss has an ultra high gloss finish. Its color is clear amber. One of its outstanding characteristics is its ability to build up coats quickly without sanding. No sanding is required if re-coating within 72 hours. Wood Finish gloss has excellent flow, gloss and durability and offers great flexibility and water resistance in all weather conditions. So, when its a deep high gloss finish with excellent U.V. protection and no sanding in between coats that you are looking for, Wood Finish Gloss is the perfect choice. Sold by the 1000ml (1 quart).

Awl-Spar Classic Spar Varnish (with reducer) is the highest quality classic spar varnish with state of the art ultraviolet inhibitors and absorbers used for brightwork protection against water and weather. It has excellent durability, and is fast dry, fast recoat for quick build up. For above waterline use only.

Cetol® Marine Gloss with Next Wave™ UV-absorbing technology is a durable clear gloss protective wood finish, developed as a topcoat for Cetol Marine, Cetol Marine Light and Cetol Marine Natural Teak.  Next Wave technology is the next generation of Cetol Marine from Sikkens with a unique UV-absorbing package, which is specialty resins and advanced UV absorbers that provide greater protection, durability and longevity.  Cetol Marine Gloss provides a high gloss, hard wearing, UV protection and an easy to clean finish.  It can be used where a gloss appearance is preferred on top of Cetol Marine, Cetol Marine Light and Cetol Marine Natural Teak.  Do not use on decks.

Marine Spar Varnish is a super clear, high gloss varnish for exterior and interior use on new or previously varnished surfaces subject to abuse from parching sun, fresh or salt water, severe weather conditions or abrasion. Formulated with an ultra violet screening agent, Marine Spar Varnish will hold its gloss on exterior surfaces far better than conventional varnishes. Excellent for use on boats doors, furniture, porches, bar tops, or any other surface where a durable clear gloss finish is desired.

Awlgrip vs. Awlcraft 2000 – What are the differences?

Awlgrip and Awlcraft 2000 – Which is better?

Awlgrip and Awlcraft 2000 are two different types of urethane topcoats manufactured by Awlgrip. Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages and when trying to decide which to apply, it is important to know the differences between them.

Awlgip Marine PaintsAwlgrip is based on a polyester urethane resin and Awlcraft 2000 is based on an Acrylic Urethane resin. At the surface they seem very similar, but at the molecular level they are vastly different. Polyester molecules are much smaller than acrylic molecules. This means that at any given volume, there can be more polyester molecules than acrylic and this allows polyester films to be more dense and tough. Awlgrip has more abrasion and chemical resistance than Awlcraft and is usually more rigid.

Awlcraft, on the other hand is not without its own advantages.  It is generally easier to apply. The larger molecules and less dense film of the acrylic allows for faster drying and therefore less dust entrapment in the finish.  Both urethane topcoats will resist staining and provide a long lasting gloss. It is best to consider cure times, reparability, application methods, chemical resistance, as well as abrasion resistance when deciding which topcoat to choose.

Which is more suited for buffing?

Both Awlgrip and Awlcraft 2000 urethane topcoats have a protective resin layer. This layer is the first line of defense against UV light and abrasive damage. Underneath this resin is a layer of rich pigment particles that give the paint its bright shine and color. Awlgrip has a thicker protective resin layer and when the polyester is scratched, it is necessary to cut deeply into the resin to repair it. Buffing the surface leaves the pigment exposed and compromises the performance of the paint in the long run.

Awlcraft has a softer finish, due to the less dense molecular structure, and thus has a lower melting point. When this acrylic urethane is buffed, the resin is able to flow together and does not require cutting the surface as deeply. So, Awlcraft 2000 is more suited for buffing and Awlgrip will require a Fairing Compound.

Awlgrip vs Awlcraft 2000 – Fast Facts

Awlgrip Polyester Urethane Topcoat

  • Can be applied by spray or brush/roll.
  • Excellent color retention and chemical resistance.
  • More dense molecular structure.

Awlcraft 2000 – Acrylic Urethane Topcoat

  • For spray application only.
  • Superior flow-out and high gloss.
  • Fast drying to reduce dust entrapment.
  • More user friendly in application. Easy to repair.

 

 

Restoring Awlgrip and Awlcraft 2000 Paint

Over time contaminants can build up and cause the finish of your Awlgrip/Awlcraft 2000 paint to appear dull.  You can restore the gloss of a freshly painted boat and prevent the premature aging caused by contaminates by following these steps:

  • Wash your Awlgrip or Awlcraft surface with Awlwash mixed with water (1-2 capfuls in a bucket of water for washing) using soft, non-abrasive cloths and rinse well. Doing so on a regular basis (once per month) will help control dulling buildup.
  • Solvent cleaning of Awlgrip only: Awlprep and Awlprep Plus can be used to aid in removal of stains or markers.
  • Solvent cleaning of Awlcraft 2000 only: Awlprep or mild solvents should be used.

Awlgrip AWLwashIn both cases apply solvents with soft cloths and do not allow the chemicals to dry on surface or soak. Wash with Awlwash to prevent remaining solvent to attack paint. As always when working with solvents, test in an inconspicuous area first.

 Distilled white vinegar and hot water will aid in removing salt stains, always follow with Awlwash.

Protecting the Surface

awlgrip awlcareAwlcare can be applied to the surface like a wax to remove pollutants (such as diesel soot), protects the finish and leaves a glossy shine. Awlcare should be applied regularly to protect against pollutants. It can be removed with Awl-Prep Plus (Awlgrip only) when it’s time to repaint. What to avoid with Awlgrip and Awlcraft 2000:

  • Abrasives
  • Polishing compounds
  • Traditional waxes as they tend to break down rapidly, yellow and attract dirt
  • Acid based products such as teak or metal cleaners and strong solvents on Awlcraft 2000, Awlbrite Clear or Awlspar Varnish.
  • Trapped moisture from supplies as paint can blister or delaminate

 

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?

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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.