known topsides paint, Awlgrip, is only
available to professionals. But Interlux’s
topsides paints, the two-part Perfection
or the one-part Brightside, are available
to DIYers. Pettit’s one-part Easypoxy and
two-part EZpoxy are also available to
DIYers. Epifanes also makes a two-part
polyurethane topsides paint.
A relatively new paint on the market
aimed at DIYers is made by Engineered
Marine Coatings. The company makes
a Genius Bucket. This 5-gallon pail
contains everything you need to paint a
smaller boat: latex brushes, gloves, masking tape, scour pads, mixing cups, rollers
and handles, 2 quarts of base, 2 quarts of
brush activator, 1 quart of reducer, and 1
quart of paint in the desired color – all
for $499.99. If you don’t see the color you
want, you can ask the company to mix
it. Note that the kit doesn’t necessarily
include all materials you’ll need for prep.
To roll and tip, first dip the roller in
the paint and roll it onto the hull. Try
not to put too much paint on the roller;
otherwise, you may get runs. Roll fore
and aft and then up and down to ensure
the best coverage. Use the tip or end of
a dry fine-hair brush to tip the paint
smooth. Work fore and aft, then up and
down to get a very smooth finish. Work
on only a small area at a time – no more
than a square yard – then move to the
next area. Keep a wet edge at all times
and work from the wet edge into the
To brush paint, use a marine paint-grade sponge brush and apply a brush-load at a time. Again, work only in a
small area before moving on to the next.
To spray the paint, thin it to the
manufacturer’s specifications and spray in
a fore-and-aft pattern. Make sure you lift
Two-part polyurethane paint begins to set almost immediately,
so painting your hull is a sprint. Painting the topsides with the
roll-and-tip method should take no more than 20 minutes to
paint one side of a 26-foot boat.
the spray gun off the job before stopping
your spray stroke.
Many topsides paints contain isocyanates
that are dangerous if inhaled. Therefore,
the operator should wear a respirator with
new filters for each spray job. Isocyanates
filters degrade over time and should be
used for no longer than 30 days. The best
painters wear a hooded Tyvek suit taped
at the wrists and ankles to prevent overspray from getting inside the suit. Rubber
gloves, safety glasses, and Tyvek booties
complete the ensemble and should cover
your entire face and body.
Isocyanates are not so prevalent when
paint is brushed or rolled, but a respirator is still a good idea. A Tyvek suit helps
to protect clothes, and rubber gloves will
prevent having to use a solvent to remove
paint from your hands and fingers.
When sanding, at a minimum use
a sanding mask with two elastic straps.
A respirator is better.
Roger Marshall is a writer and yacht
designer who lives in Rhode Island.
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