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Old 26-05-2020, 19:25   #1
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Exterior Painting a Steel Sailboat

Hi! This is my first post on this forum so please forgive me if it's in the wrong place or otherwise breaches etiquette- I will learn soon!

I'm the new owner of a 30 foot Dutch-built steel sailboat, and I need to repaint the exterior. I grew up on fiberglass and wooden boats and knew nothing about steel going into this, so I've been going down the rabbit hole of information, and have been unable to find any clear consensus on what I need to do. She's been sitting on the hard for at least ten years, and I have no idea what brand or even type of paint is currently on. The bottom paint definitely needs to be redone, but above the waterline doesn't look bad at all, and there aren't any exposed areas and no visible rust or corrosion anywhere.

I was originally planning on blasting the hull down to bare metal and just redoing everything to be safe, but I've been reading about epoxy coats and how they last a very long time and are difficult and expensive to build back up, and now I am questioning if I should blast and rebuild the epoxy, or if I should simply sand down the scuffs and repaint the topcoat above the waterline and the antifouling below.

So, considering that I do not know what the undercoat is but also that there is no exposed metal (the topcoat above the waterline isn't chipping anywhere and was professionally done), and no visible signs of rust or corrosion, would it make sense to blast to bare metal and build up the epoxy coat, or just sand off the antifouling paint and otherwise prep the areas above the waterline and those topcoats, or blast down and redo everything? And, either way, what brands would you guys recommend for the epoxy, above the waterline topcoats, and below the waterline antifouling?
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Old 26-05-2020, 19:31   #2
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Re: Exterior Painting a Steel Sailboat

I meant to include this in the original post- this is what the paint job looks like right now, for reference.
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Old 27-05-2020, 18:49   #3
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Re: Exterior Painting a Steel Sailboat

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Leave the topsides alone until there’s something wrong with them.
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Old 27-05-2020, 19:08   #4
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Re: Exterior Painting a Steel Sailboat

I’ll second that. Looks just fine from here.
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Old 27-05-2020, 19:20   #5
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Re: Exterior Painting a Steel Sailboat

Does anyone have a recommendation for antifouling paint and above the waterline paint if I don't blast then? (I at least need to redo the bottom and I want to change the color up top).
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Old 27-05-2020, 20:13   #6
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Re: Exterior Painting a Steel Sailboat

Also, if I opt to sand and not blast, do I still need to use epoxy primers? And how many coats?
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Old 28-05-2020, 04:20   #7
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Re: Exterior Painting a Steel Sailboat

I am using Ameron 123 ablative paint on the bottom and Brightside for the topsides. We switched from white to yellow for the topsides just because. The yellow doesn’t cover white as well and wants a good while to dry to develop its hardness.

If you want to change colors, say blue to white, it will take a minimum of two, maybe 3 coats.

For the decks, because they get dings and we have another issue you don’t, we are using Pettit RustLoc primer. It’s silver color because it’s mostly aluminum dust. Not the prettiest but as cool as white (tropics) and when we touch up we are only using one color. For anti skid the top coat goes on thick and gets coated with sugar. Which washes off leaving an aggressive surface, easily repaired.
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Old 28-05-2020, 04:28   #8
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Re: Exterior Painting a Steel Sailboat

Quote:
Originally Posted by KelseyB View Post
Also, if I opt to sand and not blast, do I still need to use epoxy primers? And how many coats?
IF you are intent on going to white metal then the paint schedule is the same. And what you need to achieve is a suffix toy ROUGH surface so the epoxy can grip into it.

Pretty much no matter what paint you use, even just to paint over existing, you will need to sand to get rid of grime, oxidation and provide a sufficiently rough surface. That’s for the first coat. Subsequent coats generally need to be applied while the first coat is not completely cured so as to “shot bond” and develop a chemical bond.

So when someone says “sand” they may well mean not removing all paint just prepping for overcoat.
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Old 28-05-2020, 10:12   #9
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Re: Exterior Painting a Steel Sailboat

Yea that's all very helpful thanks guys—I've decided to sand and not blast, but not to white metal, just to get off the outer layers of bottom paint and topcoat above the waterline. Any recommendations on epoxy primer? I'm hoping to only need 2 or 3 coats of it before I apply the topcoats, because I'll be leaving most, if not all, of the barrier coats underneath.
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Old 28-05-2020, 10:19   #10
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Re: Exterior Painting a Steel Sailboat

I’ve only used Ameron 235 also known as Bar Rust.

My strong belief is you do not need any additional primer.

HOWEVER it itself is not a top coat. You would need to sand and the paint over top of the Bar Rust.

Alternatively if you are mostly concerned with ascetics then just paint over the paint so long as the existing primer is good. Just use as many coats as needed to get coverage, prohibit bleed through.
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Old 28-05-2020, 20:27   #11
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Re: Exterior Painting a Steel Sailboat

Hpeer- have you had any issue with the Ameron abc antifouling drying up and coming off in giant flakes after being hauled for the winter? I too use all ameron products- love em mostly- but this is the second time I'm going to have to grind/scrape/beat the majority of antifouling off the hull because it has totally dried out and cracked like dry clay. Very weird and annoying issue.
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Old 29-05-2020, 04:25   #12
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Re: Exterior Painting a Steel Sailboat

NSBoatman,

On the big boat I have a couple of small patches where I’m having trouble getting it to bind to the primer. But not as you describe.
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