How To Do It Wrong

  • March 14, 2011 3:32 PM
    Message # 545814
    A few years back, I had trouble with the non-skid areas on deck.  The gel coat had worn off, and in some places the waffle non-skid pattern was almost gone.   I decided to repaint it.  I bought some Interlux Topsider (expensive) and did the job.

    There are a lot of projects that are very hard to do when you're living aboard.  Most of the time though, we have no choice.  We live aboard full time, and we have no home, no car left on land.  I have to move everything on deck to one side, then mask and paint the other, then repeat the whole process the other way.  Don't even ask about paint/varnish projects in the main salon.

    Well, in less than 6 months the new paint chipped and peeled in some places.  It seems that I didn't do an adequate job of preparation before painting.  My excuse it that it's hard with a non-skid pattern to sand or scrub in the valleys.   I re-did it best I could and painted it again with Interlux.   The second paint job gave the same result.  It chipped and peeled in less than a year and in some places it wore through showing the underlying glass.

    I blamed the paint.  So I asked about non-skid paint on the WOA web site. One tip was to use Durabak marine paint.  I did.  It was very tough and rubbery and made a thick coat immune to chipping.  The trouble was that it was too aggressively non-skid.  It hurt to walk on it with bare feet.  Also, the light tan colored paint, showed all dirt, while the non-skid gripped the dirt.  No amount of scrubbing could make it clean.  Black Durbak would be great for gangplanks and stair treads on ferries.  For me, it was a cosmetic disaster.

    This year I resolved to fix the problem with Rustoleum brand navy-blue topside paint.  We love the Rustoleum marine paint. It costs only 1/3 as much as Interlux.  It covers well, it rejects the brown mustache at the water line.  I got the port side of my W32 painted blue, when I realized that it would be a disaster in the tropical sun.  We would bake inside.  I looked around the harbor.  Out of 250 sailboats, zero have dark colored top decks.

    So I aborted that project, threw away the blue paint, and I'm doing it again in white.  In the future, if the non-skid grabs bits of dirt I can't clean out, I'll use touch-up white paint.

    The point of all this is that I am having all this trouble because I chose the wrong solution in the first place.  What I should have done was what I saw on a W32 in Manteo NC.  Sand down the old non-skid with a belt sander, then put down new gel coat.  West Marine sells a plastic sheet with the waffle pattern.  You lay it over the wet gel coat, then peel it off when it dries.  That guy in Manteo (sorry I can't remember his name nor his boat's name) did a beautiful job.  

    But my real mistake was non consulting this WOA forum on my original non-skid problem.  If I had, I may have gotten the advice to not consider paint as a possible solution.  Hooray for the WOA.  

  • March 14, 2011 5:52 PM
    Reply # 545893 on 545814
    Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Dick: How about posting this in the FAQ pages -- excellent material for the long term.
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