Category Archives: Bottom Paint

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.

What Is Bottom Paint?

What is bottom paint

What is Bottom Paint?

If you don’t know what bottom paint is, you are not alone. A boater that keeps his/her boat in the water for an extended period of time, must have bottom paint on the bottom of the hull to prevent growth (fouling) from occurring.

Bottom Paint also called antifouling paint, boat bottom paint, and anti-foul paint, is a special marine paint that is formulated with pesticides to keep those marine critters from growing on the bottom of the hull. Copper is most common pesticide used in bottom paints, and will prevent hard growth. Hard growth is considered mussels, barnacles, or any other crustacean that can attach to the bottom of the boat. Hard growth mostly occurs in warmer water and salt water. However, depending on your geographical location, hard growth will occur in fresh water and nutrient rich cool waters as well.

Some boat bottom paint is  also combine other pesticides (biocides) with copper to prevent soft growth. Soft growth refers to algae and grass.

Why do you need bottom paint? If you are going to keep your boat in the water for more than a couple of days, you will need some bottom paint!

Related Articles:

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

What Bottom Paint Can go Over Polyethylene?

Yes, you can apply bottom paint over polyethlene (plastic). We recommend applying an ablative bottom paint. (preferably ablative such as Cukote)

You should sand the boat with a 60 grit sandpaper, then wash it off with S-80 Cleaner and Dewaxer. After it is cleaned, you should apply 1-2 coats of 1277 barrier coat primer. Let it dry overnight and then apply the Sea Hawk antifouling paint of your choice.

How to Apply Bottom Paint Over Existing Bottom Paint

Bottom Painting is not very technical, but you must have a clean surface to insure good adhesion.

Refer to the Sea Hawk Compatibility Chart to determine if your existing coating is compatible with Sea Hawk antifoulant paint choice.To insure that your bottom paint adheres to your existing coating, it is important to have a clean prepared surface and an existing coating that is in good condition.

Known Compatibility of Existing Bottom Paint:
Power wash (pressure wash) to remove any loose paint,dirt, grease, or any other surface contaminants.
Scuff sand with 80 grit sandpaper, or scuff with a 3M Scotch-Brite® 7447 pad scrubbing thoroughly. Remove all residue and let dry.
Apply minimum of two coats of antifoulant. Allow 3 to 6 hours between coats and a minimum overnight dry. See the specific Technical Data Sheet for antifoulant being used. Some antifoulants may require more than 2 coats.

Unknown Compatibility* of Existing Antifoulant:
Power wash (pressure wash) to remove any loose paint,dirt, grease, or any other surface contaminants.
Scuff sand with 80 grit sandpaper, or scuff with a 3M Scotch-Brite® 7447 pad scrubbing thoroughly. Remove all residue and let dry.
Apply 1 coat of Bottom Paint PrimersHAWKocon or 1283 Island Primer (see respective technical data sheet)
Apply minimum of two coats of antifoulant. Allow 3 to 6 hours between coats and a minimum overnight dry.See the specific Technical Data Sheet for antifoulant being used. Some antifoulants may require more than 2 coats.

Poor Condition of Existing Antifoulant:
If previous coating is cracking, flaking or peeling then strip antifoulant with Marine Paint Stripper, or by sanding or commercial blast. Refer to Bare Fiberglass Application Guidelines for new antifoulant application.

How To Apply Bottom Paint To Bare Fiberglass

The following steps should be taken to insure good adhesion of bottom paint to a fiberglass or gelcoated hull.

Preparation

  • Clean Surface: When painting a bare fiberglass / gel coat hull for the first time, it is extremely important that all contaminants such as grease, oil, wax, salt, or other foreign material are completed removed prior to sanding or application of a Sea Hawk System. Scrub the surface with a detergent soap and stiff bristle brush.
  • Dewax Surface:  Clean and de-wax fiberglass hull with S-80 Wax N’ Grease Killer solvent based dewax. Saturate cheesecloth rag and wipe thoroughly to remove any cleaner and contaminants. Be sure to remove any residue before it dries and change rags frequently to insure contaminants are completely removed.

OR

  • Apply S-90 De-Wax Etch & Cleaner with a maroon 3M Scotch-Brite® pad scrubbing thoroughly. Do not allow cleaner to dry on the surface and remove by flushing with water.Rinse entire surface with water and check for any beading on the surface which will indicate that wax is still present.If necessary repeat step 2 again until the surface is contaminant-free. Choose your system below.

Premium Blister Protection and Adhesion System

  • Sand and Clean: Sand to a uniformly frosty, dull looking surface with 80-100 grit (no finer) sandpaper, rewash with S-80 Wax N’ Grease Killer or, S-90 De-Wax Etch & Cleaner.
  • Apply Primer: Seal the surface with 2-3 coats of Tuff Stuff, or other high build epoxy primer. For Tuff Stuff, apply the first coat of primer and allow the surface to dry to become tacky.Temperature and humidity affect the dry time, but you will know when to apply your next coat of primer once the paint film becomes “tacky”.You should be able to firmly press your thumb into the paint film and leave a thumbprint without any primer coming off the surface.You should use this method in between coats of primer and your first coat of antifouling paint.When applying over multiple days, it is always best to go overnight between coats of primer instead going overnight between the final coat of primer and the first coat of bottom paint. Additional information can be found on the Tuff Stuff Technical Data Sheets.
  • Apply Bottom Paint: Apply minimum of two coats of Sea Hawk bottom paint. Allow 3 to 6 hours between coats and a minimum overnight dry. See the specific Technical Data Sheet for antifoulant being used. Some antifoulants may require more than 2 coats.

Sanding System

  • Sand and Clean: Sand to a uniformly frosty, dull looking surface with 80-100 grit (no finer) sandpaper, remove any residue.
  • Apply Bottom Paint: Apply minimum of two coats of bottom paint. Allow 3 to 6 hours between coats and a minimum overnight dry.See the specific Technical Data Sheet for antifoulant being used. Some antifoulants may require more than 2 coats.

No Sand System with Superior Blister Protection

  • Apply Primer: Apply a one step primer, such as Bottom Paint Primer, by Seahawk. Review Technical Data Sheet to compare the primers and best one for the paint you choose.
  • Apply 2nd Primer: Seal the surface with 2-3 coats of Tuff Stuff, or S-78 High Build Primer. Apply the first coat of primer and allow the surface to dry to become tacky.Temperature and humidity affect the dry time, but you will know when to apply your next coat of primer once the paint film becomes “tacky”.You should be able to firmly press your thumb into the paint film and leave a thumbprint without any primer coming off the surface.You should use this method in between coats of primer and your first coat of antifouling paint.When applying over multiple days, it is always best to go overnight between coats of primer instead going overnight between the final coat of primer and the first coat of antifouling. Additional information can be found on the Tuff Stuff, S-78 Technical Data Sheets.
  • Apply Antifoulant: Apply minimum of two coats Sea Hawk Premium antifoulant not allowing more than 24 hours since the last coat of Tuff Stuff / S-78 High Build Epoxy Primer.

Simple No Sand System

  • Apply Primer: Apply one thin coating of 1266 Non-Sanding Primer.This coating is applied at a maximum of 1-2 mils WFT.Excessive buildup can cause a lack of adhesion. Minimum dry time is 20 minutes with a maximum of one hour.
  • Apply Antifoulant: Apply minimum of two coats of Sea Hawk antifouling paint. Apply first coat of antifouling within 2 hours of applying primer.Apply 2nd coat of antifouling allowing 3 to 6 hours between coats and a minimum overnight dry.

Note: Do NOT use a copper based paint on metal running gear and parts. You should use a metal free bottom paint such as Sea Hawk Outdrive Paint, priming it with Tuff Stuff first.

If the boat is taken down to gelcoat, is primer needed when applying bottom paint?

TUFFSTUFFnewPrimer for bottom paint is not necessary. However, if you use Tuff Stuff marine epoxy primer on the bare fiberglass, it will provide protection against blisters and any moisture. It will also improve adhesion to the hull. Tuff stuff marine epoxy primer will last for many years. It cannot be applied over paint, it must be applied on gel coat (bare fiberglass).  It only needs to be applied once, while bottom paint should be applied every season or two depending on your conditions.

If you decide to use Tuff Stuff, here is the link. You should apply at least two coats.

See Related Article> Application of a Marine Epoxy Primer

Application of Marine Epoxy Primer to a Boat

Marine Epoxy systems on the bottom of bare fiberglass is the best way to protect your boat against blisters. It also provides added adhesion of the bottom paint to the hull. Here are the steps that you need to take for proper application of a marine epoxy primer (barrier coat system) to the bottom of a boat.

Preparation

Clean
When painting a bare fiberglass / gel coat hull for the first time, it is extremely important that all contaminants such as grease, oil, wax, salt, or other foreign material are completed removed prior to sanding or application of a Sea Hawk System. Scrub the surface with a detergent soap and stiff bristle brush.

Sea Hawk s-80 Wax N Grease KillerA. Clean and de-wax fiberglass hull with S-80 Wax N’ Grease Killer solvent based dewax. Saturate cheeseclothrag and wipe thoroughly to remove any cleaner and contaminants. Be sure to remove any residue before it dries and change rags frequently to insure contaminants are completely removed.

OR

Sea Hawk S-90 Low VOC De-Waxing Etch & CleanerB. Apply S-90 De-Wax Etch & Cleaner with a maroon 3M Scotch-Brite® pad scrubbing thoroughly. Do not allow cleaner to dry on the surface and remove by flushing with water.Rinse entire surface with water and check for any beadingon the surface which will indicate that wax is still present. If necessary repeat step 2 again until the surface is contaminant-free. Choose your system below.

Sand and Clean
Sand to a uniformly frosty, dull looking surface with 80-100 grit (no finer) sandpaper, rewash with S-80 Wax N’ Grease Killer S-90 De-Wax Etch & Cleaner .

Apply Marine Epoxy Primer
TUFFSTUFFnewSeal the surface with 2-3 coats of Tuff Stuff Epoxy Primer. Apply the first coat of marine epoxy primer and allow the surface to dry to become tacky. Temperature and humidity affect the dry time, but you will know when to apply your next coat of marine epoxy primer once the paint film becomes “tacky”. You should be able to firmly press your thumb into the paint film and leave a thumbprint without any high build marine epoxy primer coming off the surface. You should use this method in between coats of marine epoxy primer and your first coat of bottom paint.

Tip: When applying marine epoxy primer over multiple days, it is always best to go overnight between coats of marine epoxy primer instead going overnight between the final coat of marine epoxy primer and the first coat of bottom paint. When over coating Tuff Stuff Epoxy Primer it is important to meet the required over coating times in order to achieve the best adhesion because temperature and humidity control dry times. It is hard to give exact times of cure. An easier rule in epoxies is when the coating is dry to the touch, yet still has some tack, it is ready to be over coated. However, if the coating is completely cured (after 24 hours) it needs to be thoroughly sanded with 80 grit sand paper to remove shine. If the marine epoxy primer is not sanded after full cure, bottom paint will not adhere.

Apply Bottom Paint to Marine Epoxy Primer
Apply minimum of two coats of  bottom paint. Allow 3 to 6 hours between coats and a minimum overnight dry. See the specific Technical Data Sheet for bottom paint being used. Some bottom paint may require more than 2 coats.

Painting an Aluminum Outdrive

Outdrives are difficult to keep free of growth. The main reason for this is that traditional copper-based bottom paints cannot be used on an aluminum outdrive. Doing so will result in serious corrosion from the aluminum reacting to the copper in the paint.

Outdrive paint kitWhen painting an aluminum outdrive you must use a copper-free bottom paint. There are a couple of different brands out there. Interlux Trilux 33 (The most popular) , and Sea Hawk Smart Solution (The best). Trilux is the most popular and easy to find at your local West Marine. However, the results are not as impressive as Sea Hawk Smart Solution   (available in pint size black as Outdrive Paint) that uses the newest metal free technology. You will get the best possible results with Smart Solution, and is becoming more and more popluar as the best solution for painting an outdrive. It is also the best priced of the two, but is yet not available in an aerosol spray. You can get a quart and brush it on, or you can spray it with a conventional spray gun.

The Outdrive Paint shows best  results when paired with a primer such as Tuff Stuff or Bottom Paint Primer by Sea Hawk.  For spray options the Barnacle Blocker can be used alone or over coated with Smart Solution for improved protection. You can find our Outdrive Paint Kit for increased savings!