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Old 14-08-2015, 19:02   #1
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Newbie painting question

Hi all,

I have what may be a stupid question, but I have never painted fiberglass with two-part polyurethane before, so here goes. I have teak grabrails on the cabintop of my 1981 Pearson 36 that are in terrible condition to the point they are cracked, unsound and a safety risk. I found some matching Pearson teak rails at a good price, and I have them on hand now, and I have a carpenter lined up to help me replace them in September (it's a two man job because of the rails below in the cabin that they screw into), and he's also going to do some other carpentry tasks I know I am not equipped for. But I also intend to paint the entire boat because the gelcoat is truly irretrievable.

Here's the question - I wanted to paint the deck before I replace the teak rails, because obviously I don't want to remove the rails again when I paint the entire topside, and I don't want to paint the entire deck now because of the amount of prep time involved, and I will lose the carpenter if I push the rail replacement work past September. Looking at the non-skid areas on the cabintop, if I could isolate those, and paint them now after removing the old rails and before the carpenter arrives, I could drastically reduce the required prep work. Is it feasible to tape off these non-skid areas where the rails are, paint those now, and then paint the rest of the deck in the Spring after I have done all the other prep like removing stanchions, blocks, etc and repairing cracks, holes, etc?

It seems that the difference in texture between the smooth and non-skid areas is a natural boundary and I could just tape off the non-skid "islands" where the rails are and paint those now and do the rest later. Does this make sense, and are there problems with this approach that, in my inexperience, I do not anticipate?

Thanks in advance for input from you experienced sailboat painters.
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Old 14-08-2015, 19:28   #2
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Re: Newbie painting question

You mean, this kind of Pearson 36?



Masking off the freshly painted textured area when you come to paint the smooth bit next to it would be difficult; the danger being the smooth paint bleeding under the masking onto the antiskid. Normally you'd do the smooth bit first, then mask it and put the antiskid on.

What you could do, if there isn't too much time between both operations, is save some of the antiskid paint. Mask off the antiskid carefully, stippling the masking into the texture as best you can by hand(ouch) and/or stiff brush. Paint over that edge so you've bled into that with the exact same material. Then paint the deck normally, and de-mask carefully. Voila, theoretically a clean edge. Try a test panel on something disposable first, like the deck of the boat next door.

That's how I'd do it. But then, I'd also consider simply drugging the carpenter, sailing to a nearby inaccessible cove, and giving him the choice of doing it the easy way (my way), or swimming home.

Keep us posted?
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Old 14-08-2015, 19:56   #3
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Re: Newbie painting question

That looks remarkably like my boat, only better....;-)

Also, it looks like you removed the teak eyebrow....I was thinking about doing that as well. I can't see exactly what you did as replacement....do tell.

Hmmm....well thanks for the drugging suggestion but actually I was hoping to get the carpenter to help me next year on other projects. Thanks for the suggestion - and worst comes to worst I can postpone the teak rail replacement until next year, do the paint job first, and do the entire deck at once, the right way. I'm sure I could get the carpenter to come back by next June or so, and in the grand scheme of things, as long as I get this all done by December 2016, I'm okay, because the plan is to head for the Bahamas in 2017.
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Old 14-08-2015, 20:06   #4
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Re: Newbie painting question

Btw, I should have been more specific - mine is a Pearson 367 cutter. So not truly a Pearson 36 like those of the '70's.
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Old 14-08-2015, 20:30   #5
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Re: Newbie painting question

That's not my boat, just a pic I grabbed off the Interwebz to see what this cabin top looks like.

If it's a safety thing with the rails, I'd do the rails, even if they had to come up again; the first bedding being temporary, I wouldn't use a permanent sealer. Doing the rails twice might strain the friendship with the carpenter, then again he might not mind, if you explain it, and lubricate him well with cash, or beer, or whatever it is that carpenters in your locale subsist on.

If the painting can wait until you do a decent job on it, once, then by all means wait. It's going to be a pain in the stern anyway, and doing all that prep twice and having a compromised finish from the get go will impact your happiness and wallet. Put on dark glasses and stretch out a tarp if the surface is that bad, live with the ugliness until the painting, but please don't fall overboard with a bit of rail in your hand.

When it comes time to do the deck in the right order, do the smooth bit first, then mask for the antiskid area, paint the edge of the mask with the deck colour, and then do the antiskid, and demask.

Is the deck cored, and if it is, what's it like inside?
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Old 15-08-2015, 06:51   #6
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Re: Newbie painting question

The deck is cored, but moisture readings were okay except up near the bow where the PO installed an electric windlass, but even there moisture readings were not terrible. So I'm guessing your suggestion is to cut out the areas with high moisture readings, re-core, re-glass, and then paint?
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Old 15-08-2015, 07:00   #7
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Re: Newbie painting question

Alternate ideas:

1. Paint the entire cabin top with nonskid.

2. Get another carpenter or person who can help you after September, and do the job right and at one time.
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