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Old 02-04-2015, 20:04   #1
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DIY Man Hours to Sand and Paint a 36' Boat?

Hello all,

I'm trying to plan how much time I will need for my next haul out. My main goals for the haul out are bottom paint and topside paint on the hull only (not doing the deck or cabin top during haul out) and there are secondary goals as well. The kicker is that I plan to this work all by myself but I've never done it so I don't have a great idea as far time required.

So the basic question for now is this. After the major "prep work" is done how many hours does it generally take one guy to light sand, wipe down, and then roll one coat of primer or topside paint on a 36" boat. Not worried about tipping the paint right now.

The overall plan is to tackle the topsides first. Hoping to do 2 coats of primer and 3 of paint. Might have to cut one of those coats though as I can't stay in the yard forever. After the topsides I have 2 gallons of bottom paint to apply. I figure bottom will probably be a one day or day and half thing with 80 grit sanding prep.

Any thoughts?
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Old 02-04-2015, 20:26   #2
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Re: DIY Man Hours to Sand and Paint a 36' Boat?

Well, depending on condition of bottom and top sides, based on my experiance with a 27' (in not great shape) I would give it between a week and three. Of course this will depend on your expected outcome. Prep is everthing in paint, if you want a job that your proud of it takes time.
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Old 02-04-2015, 20:43   #3
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Re: DIY Man Hours to Sand and Paint a 36' Boat?

The time factor is mostly determined on the drying time of the paint. For example: Micron 66 wants 12 hours between coats. I just did my bottom on a 40 footer. Sanding the bottom, a couple of hours. I know some people who spend a lot more time if they are getting it race ready. That doesn't count the time if you need to fair any dings. Again, drying time of the fairing compound is the biggest time factor. At any rate, the prep takes less than a day in many cases. Paint. Wait till tomorrow and paint again. How long does it take to paint? Took my son (yeah, the boys were there!) a couple of hours. So, two coats, two days. Third day to move stands. Two coats, two more days. That takes about 4 days.

Topsides take me significant time. Because it's so visible, the prep time is longer. What kind of shape is your boat in? Seems like a couple of days of prep. Painting takes longer but still it's only a few hours to paint - I'd expect most of the day. Read the can to find the dry time. Usually it's a day. So there's four more days. How about a waterline stripe, or a boot stripe? Got a few more days there. You should paint the topsides before the bottom (obvious reasons) as you stated.

If you have issues with the cutless bearing or the prop, you need time to address them, but they can be done while the topsides are drying. Don't forget to check you rudderpost and prop strut (if you have one).

For just the bottom, I give myself a week. Adding painting the topsides makes it a longer job. Seems like a couple of weeks to me - perhaps three?. Do all your prep at one time before you start any painting, it's cleaner. Also, you mentioned the number of coats vs. time. Pay for the time. The more coats the better the job!

I've done a bunch of boat bottoms. It's funny, I used to be able to do the work and just grind it out. Now, at 66, I find that the jobs take considerably longer and my "recharge" time is longer too! Hope my experiences give you some help in planning you job.
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Old 02-04-2015, 21:23   #4
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Re: DIY Man Hours to Sand and Paint a 36' Boat?

Another thing to consider is weather. Here in FLORIDA we are about to enter the wet season. We may have PM showers many days in a row.

Heat may also play a factor. I remember putting on 5 coats of barrier coat plus one coat of bottom paint to a 32' boat in Aug and it liked to kill me. There's no way I could do that now.

Maybe you could enlist a friend or two for a couple of six packs along with lunch?


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Old 02-04-2015, 21:42   #5
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Re: DIY Man Hours to Sand and Paint a 36' Boat?

Yeti's in San Diego, so it most likely will stay dry for him.

Yeti, paint is fragile, gelcoat, much less so. I suggest you try a product like TSRW or PolyGlo treatment to renew it. If you're satisfied with it, you renew it each year, but the overall labour is nowhere near so intensive as fairing and sanding your topsides.

How much work to do that really depends on how attentive to detail you are. We have some friends who routinely paint their 46 footer's topsides IN THE WATER, with a roller, and don't mind the orange peel. From a distance, it looks great, and part of a days effort for them.

But if what you want is brand new, showroom floor Rolls Royce quality, most of your time will be in the prep, and then the topsides should be sprayed. If you go that route, we have had excellent results from the automotive LPU that was sprayed on our topsides, it is still quite high gloss, better than the marine LPU, imho.

We used to use the PolyGlo when we had our first Insatiable, and its polymerizing finish was good enough for us.

Conisder it an experiment, but understand, paint is fragile, subject to chipping if you bump things, or dinghies coming alongside with metal bits, etc., and then repairing the paint is a hassle, or it may have to be re-done entirely if there is fading.

Ann
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Old 02-04-2015, 22:55   #6
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Re: DIY Man Hours to Sand and Paint a 36' Boat?

Appreciate all the input so far. Please keep it coming!

For more info...

The gelcoat has already been painted over by a previous owner. Its really showing its age on the waterline. I plan to raise the bottom paint line because of this and also because I'm on a mooring and after two years its obvious that I need the bottom paint raised a bit. There seems to be lots of green stuff growing on the first 3" of hull above the current bottom paint line. There's also plenty of "learning moments" showing on the hull and paint that need fixing.

I'm definitely not shooting for "Rolls Royce" look but I don't want it looking like absolute crap either. This of course is a matter of opinion for sure. But I don't have a 6 figure boat and no amount of makeup will make it a 6 figure boat. It doesn't need to look like a "million bucks" for me to enjoy it. It just needs to be "better" and "kept up".

The last time I did bottom paint I had it done in Ensenada in September 2012 and they used Seahawk Sharkskin. I've since learned that Sharkskin is kind of a "Mid-level" paint. It's definitely requires a monthly cleaning these days and is more or less worn out. I think I've gotten good value for it though. This time I'm putting on 2 gallons of Trinidad SR and hoping for at least 4 years.

The biggest question I have about this job currently is can one person realistically do all of the following in 6 hours or so of one day.

--- Light Sand the previous days coat of primer or paint
--- wipe down with solvent
--- apply a new coat of primer or paint

The above needs to happen 5 times (two primer/ 3 paint) and I believe is the biggest thing that effects time on the hard. I'm hoping I can do these three things in 6-7 hours of time each day they need to be done.

The other thing that I will most likely have to work around is my "day job". Fortunately my day job is from 1445-2300 M-F. My general hope currently is that I can get the boat hauled on a Friday, have two FULL days Sat/Sun to finish the big prep work, do the 5 coats on M-F from 0600/0700-1400, do the bottom paint on the following Sat/Sun, and launch on Monday.

I'll most likely be doing this in the San Diego summer so I'm fairly certain that the recoat timing on the paint will be achievable in a 24 hour period.

9 days of lay days and haul/launch fees is probably the limit of what I can afford to give the yard. If the general consensus says I'm being unrealistic then I'll have to rethink/replan.

In addition to the collective wisdom and experience I hope to tap here I plan on talking to yard managers in the next couple of weeks to see what they think as well. Hopefully all is doable.

Thanks again for the input and please keep it coming!
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Old 02-04-2015, 23:07   #7
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Re: DIY Man Hours to Sand and Paint a 36' Boat?

If you do it including the July 4 weekend, would that give you one extra working day if it didn't all go according to plan?

Since you're working alone on this, and while also going to a job, so you have a definite schedule, I'm concerned that any little setback could mess up your fairly precise timing. However, for the bottom job, yes, if you are hard and fast working, you should be able to prep and paint in two whole days, but then, you have the spots where the supports are that are left unpainted, and the bottom of the keel. Perhaps you can schedule a late enough re-launch to just fit in enough sling time, for those bits.

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Old 02-04-2015, 23:12   #8
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Re: DIY Man Hours to Sand and Paint a 36' Boat?

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
If you do it including the July 4 weekend, would that give you one extra working day if it didn't all go according to plan?
Unfortunately no, the day job is 911 Dispatcher. Holidays are just days where they pay me more to come into work.

I also have vacation time planned that week and the SO doesn't think boat work counts as a vacation. (She also never sails, anxiety/motion sickness issues)

Odds are I could stay in the yard another day or two if needed. But I certainly want to keep this thing "under budget" so to speak. Lay days are only like $108 a day for my boat. You definitely can't let a hundred bucks or so screw up this kind of thing.
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Old 03-04-2015, 08:31   #9
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Re: DIY Man Hours to Sand and Paint a 36' Boat?

I can sand, wipe down & tack for dust the top sides in about 3 hrs on my 33' boat. Another 3 to roll and tip a coat of varnish. My freeboard is somewhat low compared to most boats, so with the extra length you'll need more time. You should be able to sand and do a coat in a day though. Click image for larger version

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Old 03-04-2015, 10:50   #10
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Re: DIY Man Hours to Sand and Paint a 36' Boat?

You may want to confirm a few details with the yard before you start. Such as what kind of sanding can be done, both on the bottom and topsides. Up in the San Francisco Bay Area some yards will only let you wet sand, some only dry sand with a specific Hepa vacuum, which you rent from the yard. You also might want to plan for some spot repair of fiberglass issues on the bottom. Blisters should be addressed before they creep into the laminate, and often take a few days to patch. Also those lay day costs sound excessive, you should perhaps shop around a few other yards. Good luck. Paul
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Old 03-04-2015, 11:05   #11
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Re: DIY Man Hours to Sand and Paint a 36' Boat?

Sort of like "how long is a piece of string."

If you're not tipping your topsides, it sounds like you have very little concern for how it turns out aesthetically and are just interested in protection. You're going to end up with orange peel, which may look rather odd on your boat depending on it's design and the color you choose. And people don't realize how important fairing is, and how time consuming it is, even on minor repairs, until they've painted the boat and every little flaw stands out like a sore thumb.

If you hurry and don't care about appearance, you can do it in 2-3 days. If you want it to actually look good and last, and are starting from where you say you are, 80 hours of labor doing it solo, minimum.
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Old 03-04-2015, 11:06   #12
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Re: DIY Man Hours to Sand and Paint a 36' Boat?

If you have a good helper you might finish within your 9-day time limit.
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Old 03-04-2015, 11:50   #13
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Re: DIY Man Hours to Sand and Paint a 36' Boat?

Aside from the time aspect, its hard work. A lot of it is crouched over, kneeling on the ground, or working over your head. Dust everywhere, in your clothes, in your hair, your face and eyes. Protective gear helps, but you still have to get in and out of it. I've done my share of hull sanding and painting, and it is hard work. I suggest you hire some extra hands for the sanding work...maybe students who need something on their resume. Having at least one extra hand/body always makes it much easier. Being in a hurry will only make it worse. If you can take a break when you get tired, it helps. Good luck with your project. I'm sure it will turn out great. And as for time, 1 week at least.
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Old 03-04-2015, 12:26   #14
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Re: DIY Man Hours to Sand and Paint a 36' Boat?

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I can sand, wipe down & tack for dust the top sides in about 3 hrs on my 33' boat. Another 3 to roll and tip a coat of varnish. My freeboard is somewhat low compared to most boats, so with the extra length you'll need more time. You should be able to sand and do a coat in a day though. Attachment 99894


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Old 03-04-2015, 14:42   #15
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Re: DIY Man Hours to Sand and Paint a 36' Boat?

To do a topside properly you need to sand the entire area with 220 grit sandpaper. Fill any dents and dings and then fair in the compound. After you are sure it's perfect, spray with epoxy high build undercoat, light color if the topsides will be white, dark gray or whatever if you are going with a dark color. Sand the primer practically back to the original surface so you are sure it's fair. Spray with primer again and light sand. Paint the topcoat whether spray or roll and tip. You are talking at least a week to do the topside and probably more if you are doing it yourself.

The bottom is relatively easy and fast unless you have a bunch of blisters. Sand the bottom to give tooth for the new paint to adhere to. 100 grit will do it but you could with coarser sand paper. Grind out, fill and fair any significant dings or blisters. Painting with a roller goes quite fast, a couple of hours to paint my 35' boat full keel boat. You should be able to do the job in two days if you get right to it the morning the boat is put on the hard.
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