A well-loved boat gets plenty of wear and tear. A good topside paint job is critical for protecting your boat from the elements so you can enjoy it well into the future.
Some boat owners may put off a new paint job because they think it’ll be expensive or difficult. However, you’ll save money in the long run by regularly maintaining your boat’s paint.
We at Orange County Dockside Service have identified five important steps so that you get the perfect topside paint job on the first try. Protect your boat now. Read on to learn more about the right process whether you’re doing it yourself or hiring a professional like us.
- Prepare the Hull
First, you’ll need to get a measurement of the hull. Measure your hull from shearline, or top of the hull, to boot-stripe. Write down the length for later.
Now, clean off the hull with a scouring pad, soap, and warm water. This ensures your paint will go on smooth.
Pay attention to how your hull looks. If the outer layer looks oxidized (it’ll have a chalky finish if so), you’ll need to use a sander to remove that layer. Be careful that you don’t sand off all the gel coat, otherwise, you’ll need to reapply it.
Make sure you clean off the hull after sanding. You’ll need any dust or debris to be completely gone before you paint.
- Add the Undercoat
Choose an undercoat that you can use with your topside paint of choice. It’s often a good idea to use the same color of undercoat and topcoat. This way, you can make sure the undercoat won’t show through.
Check the instructions to see how long the undercoat needs to dry. You’ll probably want to sand the hull again after the undercoat dries, and then use a batten to check that it’s smooth.
- Wipe Off the Hull
Once the undercoat is applied and the hull is sanded and smooth, use a solvent to wipe it off. This ensures you don’t have oil from your hands left on the boat. Otherwise, your hull might be marked with fingerprints when you’re through.
- Apply Topside Paint
Once you’ve made sure the hull is completely smooth and clean, you’re ready to apply paint.
You can brush, spray or roll and tip the paint on. Make sure to cover any parts of your boat that you want to keep paint off of, especially if you use the spray method.
Also, while painting, dampen the space around your boat to keep dust away. Painting indoors is ideal, but painting outdoors can be done as well. You’ll want to paint on a day when the temperature is mild – between 55 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit – and when the humidity is 80 percent or less.
- Let It Dry
Your paint job should be 2 to 3 coats total. Once you’re done, store your boat in a warm place to dry for 24 hours minimum. Ideally, you should leave it for up to three days to make sure the paint is hard. Most paint takes up to three weeks to cure completely.
Most paint takes up to three weeks to cure completely. Check the instructions and always follow what the manufacturer recommends.
A good topside paint job can be time-consuming. Follow every step carefully and you won’t have to paint your hull again for a long time. Once you’ve finished your paint job correctly, it can protect your boat for many years.
Of course, you don’t need to do all your boat maintenance on your own. For help with paint, repairs, and other services, contact us – we’ll help you enjoy your boat for a long time to come.