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Old 28-12-2011, 14:21   #1
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Sanding and Painting Topside

I have just bought my 1 st boat ( 24 ft 1969 Columbia) She is a fixer mostly justpaint and general TLC. I have taken everything off and started sanding which is where my 1st question comes from. I have been using 220 how far do I sand down? I have been going down to a cream color enamel color but have made the mistake of going pass that and have hit black (I assume this is the fiberglass). Is 220 fine enough if it hit fiberglass is it the end of the world? My second question is repairing my non-slip. The non-slip paint is peeling and need to prep for reprinting the trend is built into the deck. How do clean paint without sanding?

I plan on rolling and tips a 1 part on because of it has been painted before and am pretty sure done with a 1 part but still a little unsure on how to check if it was done with a 1 part .

Any help on the subject would be great!!! I am 24 I have done a fair amount of sailing on friends boats but now have my own and cannot wait to put her in the water and let the adventures begin !!!!!

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Old 28-12-2011, 15:59   #2
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Re: Sanding and painting topside

220 is ok if you dont get too aggressive you should paint a small section of hull or top side or deck to see if you will get the finish you are looking for you need a slight rough finish from sanding but you may not like the look when its painted if you can see the sanding marks 300 or 320 may work better for you.Temp is important as you want a warm surface so paint can flow out and bond.You can wire brush non slip, clean with paint thinner or laquer thinner but use a powerful fan to keep cabin vented laquer thinner will blow just like gas fumes. nonslip is a lot of work to clean sand and paint with out peeling afterwards do a section paint it and see how it looks. Good Luck I also have a Project 1972 Columbia 30, sloop rigged to the max but a joy to sail and work on.

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Old 28-12-2011, 16:32   #3
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Re: Sanding and painting topside

I'm not sure why you would hit black, unless you have sanded down to a previous coat of paint.
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Old 28-12-2011, 16:53   #4
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Re: Sanding and painting topside

Forget about "roll and tip" unless you are a professional!

It takes many years to perfect that talent to have a paint job look really good! You cannot sand with 220 grit sandpaper beyond the original gelcoated finish without knowing unless you are a total fool without first understanding what you are doing, and it should be more than evident what you are doing at that stage, even if you have never used or experienced the usefulness of a modern toilet!

Please.... this reminds me of the mad scientist years ago, trying to employ his equal amounts of brains towards his topsides with a 4 inch angle grinder with #24 grit disc!
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Old 28-12-2011, 17:26   #5
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Re: Sanding and painting topside

First off, it honestly doesn't to me sound like you have a clew, nor should you, the reason you posted your question here to begin with.

You should find someone, hire someone, to evaluate your situation. It really is a specialty...every boat is as individual as you are, Really!

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Old 28-12-2011, 19:13   #6
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Re: Sanding and painting topside

This is what I do for a living. There are so many steps to do this properly that if you havn't been doing it for a while your going to destroy your deck. First off if your burning through your deck with 220 you have major problems. Faring a whole deck evenly is tough enough when you know how to do it. The black your hitting, if not paint and looks likes veins in marble is water damage that has seeped between the layers of glass. If this is what it looks like your way in over your head. If it is paint you should probably take the whole deck down to this layer with 220 so your at some sort of even starting point. Now you need to fare the deck smooth wherever its messed up with west 406 or 407. Then you need to cover this work with awlgrip epoxy primer. Then you need to put a bite in the primer with sandpaper. Then you need to fill the pin holes, then you need to spray top coat. Don't even think of brushing it if your not at least sixty and have been doing it your whole life in a boat yard. Almost a lost art. And so on and so on. We havn't even gotten to the fine line tape or the grip particulate ( which there are 3 differant sizes) and if you have never applied or mixed this to paint your in bigger trouble. we didn't get to the 3m micro finish yet which you need to polish the topcoat. Not breaking your balls, but if you want your boat to look sweet, suck it up and hire a guy and ask to see some of his work and make sure it is his work, Ask the boat owner. Just saying. Or you can fly me in lol
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Old 28-12-2011, 19:50   #7
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Re: Sanding and painting topside

wow. you guys are harsh.

The black is probably a primer coat or some type of paint. fiberglass isn't black and gelcoat usually isn't either.

220 will do fine, but as Lawrence said, if you're not getting a good enough finish for you're taste, move to a higher grit to get a smoother finish.

nothing wrong with using 1 part paint if thats what you want to use, also nothing wrong with roll and tip if you're even moderately handy...
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Old 28-12-2011, 23:14   #8
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Re: Sanding and painting topside

You asked about a way to test the previous paint to see if it is one part or two part paint. Awlgrip suggests this test to see if the previous paint is suitable to overcoat with their paint: Surface Preparation and Priming - Previously Painted Surfaces Compatibility
Painting a boat is time consuming but not beyond the average persons skill level. Do your research. Decide on a paint. Read the manufactures instructions for application then do it their way. Don't experiment. Use the same manufactures primers, paints and solvents.
If your going to roll and tip, I like to use the little "cigar rollers". They seem easier to control than the big ones used to apply house paint.
Practice on a small panel like a hatch first to develop the technique.
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Old 29-12-2011, 03:57   #9
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Re: Sanding and painting topside

Some photos would be useful.........

I would do a test rub down (on a small area!) to see what you are rubbing down into - sounds like you have done that already, albeit inadvertantly! I would see what is under that black - it's probably paint. Sand down - or scratch with a nail! but if not can be faired away with filler / epoxy - or form part of the 5 foot rule (see below).

The secret to less than cosmetically perfect topsides and / or deck is to put the job at the end your to do by then you will have got used to them .

But sounds like a bit late for that ......I would still forget the hull paint, and call what you have an aggressive clean .......and work your way back up to finer grade (wet) sandpaper, 800 orhigher......and finish off with some T.Cut and then polish.....for the balck areas I would rub down, use some primer and then paint. If it doesn't stick when you rub these patches down (and fair into the surrounding area) - then you used the wrong paint!.....won't be perfect match to the existing gelcoat, but should pass the 5 foot test (looks ok from 5 foot away!).

You've got an old boat, Topsides not expected to be perfect - that's just how it is......IMO adds a bit of character!

Cleaning off non-slip involves a scraper and patience, how much depends on what finish you are after. Personally I would only go down to a point where the non-slip is stable enough to accept a coat of non-slip paint......and if you find that some areas lifted, then patch those.
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Old 08-01-2012, 10:34   #10
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Re: Sanding and painting topside

Hope you're still there, I don't believe it's as hard as they say! I have a "62" Islander 24 and I'm doing the same. It's not a show boat and it only has to impress me when I'm finished. The test patches are probably a good idea, although when the deck is prepped right almost anything will stick. I believe my Islander has a dark gray gel coat over the fiberglass that could be what your hitting. I've been repairing spider cracks and don't see any different color underneath. The hard part is removing the old paint from the non-skid area because it's molded into the deck it can't be easily sanded. I'm try paint strippers that are friendly to fiberglass, it's working just not as fast as I want. Good luck and remember your young and you can do it over if you have too! I named one of my previous boats "40 Grit" it was a do over more than once!!
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Old 08-01-2012, 11:45   #11
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Re: Sanding and painting topside


Don't let anyone scare you away from roll and tipping your topsides. I rolled and tipped mine using Sterling in 2007. She still looks great. PM me and I'll describe the procedure.

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Old 08-01-2012, 12:56   #12
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Re: Sanding and painting topside

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Old 08-01-2012, 13:09   #13
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Re: Sanding and painting topside

Roll and tip is totally doable for the amateur. Just study and then practice on something else, your hard dinghy perhaps? There is much info here. Sterling is the best for roll and tip in a LPU. 220 is fine for prep sanding-for the primer. Use a good primer (545), and sand it out with 400. I can't recommend a one-part paint, and would sand it off if it was on any boat of mine.
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Old 09-01-2012, 10:03   #14
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Re: Sanding and painting topside

As noted above, this IS a doable job, and it can look decent.

In order to check and see if the old paint is one part versus two part, get a small amount of two part reducer - a local yard should let you have a tablespoon or so. Then put it on a rag, place it on the paint, and cover with plastic and tape. Leave overnight. If the surface isn't damaged, you have 2 part. 1 part is much easier, but you will find yourself redoing it at some point in time.

We are in the process of doing our 47' boat deck with Interlux Perfection - rolling and tipping. We have one complete coat on the decks (with 2 coats of primer under it - a necessity). It looks very nice. If you get close, you can see some brush marks - but from 10 feet, it looks great. WAY better than it did. The first coat has also given us the experience to get decent at rolling and tipping.
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Old 09-01-2012, 21:56   #15
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I just complete my decks. Sanded with 220 , filled all little nicks and stress cracks primed sanded 320, 1st coat paint, sanded 400 painted 2and coat. Looks great, lots of complements. Sanded nonskid with 180 than used Kiwi grip ( great product!). Lots over time but job came out wonderful! Remember it's all in the prep! I rolled and tipped all prime and paint. By the time you get to the final coat, you, be an old hand at it. See pic
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