I thought that for once instead of trying to soak up knowledge from everyone I would take the time to share one major project
I have been working on with everyone.
As I have stated in a few other threads the wife and I are planning on long term cruising
with an estimated departure date scheduled about two years from now. For the past year or so I have watched the paint
ont he deck
deteriorate into a real mess with cracks and chips and various other problems around. I had had several boat yards give estimates and bids on doing this work with most fleeing at what they believed to be major fiberglass
damage (the cracking of the paint) and giving bids of around 15K-20K for sanding
and resurfacing. Deciding that that was well outside of my budget
I decided to tackle the job myself. Of course major stumbling block number two was where, having such a large boat the number of DIY yards is severely limited and the only local one charges about $120/day in layday rates and didn't want my boat occupying their space anyways. That left me with a yard in Guayamas or Napa as yard choices, both about 500+ miles away from me meaning that the work would never get done anyway.
Luckily for me, this is a topside job AND I am located on a private dock
and while subject to the same environmental restrictions I have no silly marina restrictions so your MMV trying to tackle a similar project
in your slip.
So, About two weeks ago I began down the road of resurfacing the entire deck
of my 38' trimaran
, by rough calculation that is around 800sqft of deck area. The existing painted surface of the deck was actually not that old, having been repainted about 6 years ago, unfortunately from the looks of it you would think more like 20+ years and from what I know of the boat it was built over a period of about 10 years by a professional builder/yard and launched sometime in the early 90's, making the orignal paint
about 20-30 years old.
Given the numerous "professionals" who swore up and down about
extensive underlying fiberglass
damage I decided to tackle the job as an entire strip back to fiberglass, reprimer/barrier coat and paint repairing any fiberglass damage along the way.
So, a bit about cleanliness and the materials of choice. I started by thinking that I would just and off the paint and be on our merry way. How long could it possibly take anyway? A day or two for the entire deck? No problem!
So, we stocked up on 40 grit sandpaper and a set of 5 gallon shop vacs and 5" RO sanders, connected together would yield a dustfree sanding
solution. About an hour into the project I had managed to sand about 1sq foot of the very top coat of paint. At which point I came to the conclusion that I would still be doing this five years from now. We will call that a false start.
Option number two for clean paint removal
was good ol' fashioned paint stripper. So I pulled off an old hatch
which was wood/fiberglass/paint the same as the rest of the deck before leaving the boat that day to take home and experiment
with as there were so many paint strippers to choose from.
What we tried and the results:
Citrus Paint Stripper - This actually worked reasonably well, but was a major pain to spread evenly and took about 24 hours to strip the top coat of paint (6 years old) and required another 2-3 coats left set for about 24 hours each to completely strip the paint back to fiberglass. This seemed too long to me for the area I had to do, if I was doing a much smaller area I think this would be about perfect as it is the most environmentally safe options. And the coverage is terrible, and would require us to use about 10-15 gallons to do the entire deck, possibly more.
Aquastrip - I really didn't see the difference between this as the west marine
Citristrip - This was the cheapest of the citrus/natural/safe paint strippers, was much easier to apply than the other two but the results were basically the same. 2-3 coatings over 3-4 days.
Kleen Strip Aircraft Fiberglass Safe Paint Remover - This, despite the name, is apparently a marine product that is safe for fiberglass. This *IS* the toxic chemical full type paint stripper. I found that this product stripped all layers of paint in about 4 hours with no damage or effect on my fiberglass sample piece. As an additional test I also left the product on a section of the bare fiberglass for 24 hours with zero effect on the fiberglass coating. This product, by the gallon only, was about 1/3 - 1/4 the price
of any of the other three products and seemed to spread better and go further than the other three. So, unfortunately this is the product we choose to go with due to price
, time to work, ease of application and general surface area coverage. As for finding this product, it proved to be a small challenege but most paint stores can order it and I also found that O'Reilly stocks this in their warehouse and can be ordered in the stores for next day delivery