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.
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.
A. 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.
B. 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.
Apply Marine Epoxy Primer
Seal 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.