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Painted Bottom of My Boat - Few Lessons Learned

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Painted Bottom of My Boat - Few Lessons Learned

So I have to thank the folks who posted in this forum regarding bottom paint and tips.  All of the tips were excellent and helped me a bunch.  I wanted to summarize my experience and share it for anyone who could benefit from.


So, why did I paint the bottom?  So I could keep it in the water from thaw time all the way through to Fall.  After two years without paint, I saw a few what I would call pimples on the bottom of my hull and wanted to throw up but after much research, it's just the inevitable start of fiberglass blister if you leave your boat in the water for a long period of time.  The once a year acid wash really wasn't that bad but I did not want anything compromizing my hull so it was a done deal.


I had two weeks off at the end of 2016 so I decided to do it myself.  I have a 241 walk around so nothing huge but let me tell you, this is now one of those jobs I never want to do again - just like dry walling a ceiling ! 


I had pics of the boat when I pulled it for the season so I estimated the paint line from the pics and the slight stain and went an inch or so higher just in case to tape off the water line. 


I chose Interlux 2000E as the primer and barrier coat and Interlux VC-17M as the top coat to help keep the growth down.  I purchased these from Jamestown Distributors and they were VERY helpful.


I did call up the marina I store my boat at in Rochester, Shumway and asked roughly, boat unseen, what this would cost to have someone else do and I was told around $2500 and they would use the same products. 


I used the coverage estimator on the Jamestown website and also measured my boat and they were pretty close however, I believe the coverage estimates are on the conservative side and both the 2000E and VC-17M go about 20% further than estimated on the can.  For example, I ended up using about 1.75 gallons of 2000E and the estimator and my calculations put me at 2.25 so I just ordered 3 gallons to be safe and I'm now left with a $94 can of extra 2000E.  Extra VC-17M won't be a problem as I can use for year to year touch ups.  I'm going to post the extra 2000E for sale for half price if anyone is interested.  I can't see the future need for that much more 2000E (fingers crossed). 


I jacked up the boat by putting the tongue all the way to the ground - used blocks under each side of the transom and then lifted the boat with a bottle jack until the bow started to come off the front rollers and blocked and jacked the bow.  Do not use a floor scissor type jack - I did and it would lift the boat but would pull it when the scissor part went up (the jack wheels locked) and then the boat was all cockide.  I found these tough rubber jack stand covers at harbor freight for a few bucks and used a jack stand and blocks on the bow to break up the weight and for a second holding source. 


I went to harbor freight and bought both a round DA and then a orbital rectangle air sanders each $30 bucks and you need something mechanical.  Sanding is the worse part.  I used 80 grit which I thought was a little overkill myself but it only took a second or so to dull up the gel coat with 80grit and an air sander.  A good respirator is a must and I couldn't find much that wouldn't fog up to cover my eyes - best thing was my kids swimming goggles :)    


I did all of this work in a barn which has heat and they are spot on for the drying between coats of 2000E - depending on the temperature - it's around 8hrs between coats and you can go up to 6 mos before you have to sand it again BUT......  You can only go say 8-24 hours between 2000E and anti-fouling paint and the last thing I wanted to do is sand the damn boat again so I put the VC-17M right on when the 2000E was dry.   I went with 4 coats of 2000E and 3 coats of VC-17M.  I was ready to hang myself after the 7th coat - crappy, crappy job. 


They suggest rollers and brushes which are low nap and hold up to solvents and I found them at Sherwin Williams - I used a 4 1/2 inch roller with 1/4 nap and it worked great.  I did however forget to get good quality foam brushes for a few areas say around your discharge ports or jacking areas and I had to use some crappy ones I had on hand - get good ones. 


Once you mix the 2000E - it's a two part epoxy, you only get about 24hrs, maybe a little more until it hardens too much.  Lesson learned, just mix up what you need as there's a lot of drying time between coats or at least in my barn there was as I only turned the heat up to 65. 


Awesome tip I read on this forum is having the VC-17M premixed in a 2 liter bottle.  Do this!   That stuff dries on in minutes and does go on way thin.  I wanted to put 4 coats on but I'm so burned out from crawling under that boat!  I did find that the VC-17M went way farther than the can suggested - I realize it might be because it was cool but I couldn't get this to go on any thicker or I'd have it running so maybe it's just a conservative number. 


To me it's just like drywall - anyone can do it, tools are cheap - the job's a you know what though!  I would say I have 8 hrs in sanding - hour in prep wiping down with solvents and such - few re-sands and then about 45 min for each coat.  Use rubber gloves and this stuff burns if the paint drips on your skin but you can wipe it quick.


Well,  hopefully someone will find this helpful if they plan on doing this job themselves. 






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I have the same barrier coat and also use VC-17 on my hull - very little growth. When it gets pulled - spray if off with a pressure washer and then just touch up high wear areas in the spring.  Simple as that.  You should get a couple years in between coats of VC, although you might need to do it the first two years and then every other after that.  It looks sharp as it is applied and in the water will change colors after a week or so, but that's normal.  Good luck with it - worth every bit of effort to do it right....will save you time and money in the long run. 

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Wow! Great detailed description Jeff. Hope it works out well for you after all that work. Best of luck this season.

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