Deck Stripes - Painting with Awlgrip - Details and Requirements

Gary Silver

Hi all:  

I have painted my deck stripes twice before. Both times I used Interlux Brightside single part paint.  It looked good for 3 years then looked marginal for 2 years before requiring repainting due to complete oxidative failure.  In an attempt to get better durability I have just completed (mostly) repainting my deck stripes with Awlgrip two part catalyzed paint.  After thorough research of all the Awlgrip printed technical materials and speaking with their tech representative I still had questions.  I turned for answers to the folks who did my hurricane repairs who paint a lot with Awlgrip.  Here is data:
1.  Awlgrip is better for this application than Awlcraft as it is tougher and will withstand abrasion better.  Awlcraft is easier to repair but not as durable.  Either catalyzed paint will outperform single part paints by a wide margin.
2.  You need to sand to a good solid substrate.  In my case that meant getting to gelcoat.
3.  You need to use an epoxy primer  (in this case Awlgrip 545 primer, D8001 white with D9001 converter mixed 1:1), at least one coat for adhesion. Two coats are recommended but not really practical and 1 coat is acceptable. Induction time after mixing is 15 minutes and Pot Life (working time once catalyzed)  is 4-8 hrs at 75 degrees, but can be extended longer if refrigerated.  It is very thin (almost watery in viscosity).  This thin viscosity required multiple passes with the stripping tool.  I mixed it in 40 ml aliquots and that provided good usability for about 4 hrs of painting in the 90 degree heat. Reducer and cleanup is with lacquer thinner. 
4.  Two topcoat color coats are needed.  I used Awlgrip Horizon Teak Topcoat (just couldn't bring myself to go with the cream colored deck stripes, too much of a traditionalist I guess) and H3002 Awl-cat #3 brushing converter.  I reduced 15% with lacquer thinner (also very thin but slightly more viscous than the primer).  Your overcoat is it at 16 hrs but if more than 24 hrs then you have to scuff sand between coats. Pot life isn't mentioned but didn't prove to be a problem, as reassured to me by my consultants, when mixing in about 40 ml aliquots that I would use within a couple of hours.

Sanding:  13 days working 6 hrs a day (this didn't include the cockpit).  This was a huge job!!!!  I did detailed sanding to get to gelcoat from the two prior paint jobs that I had done.  

Painting:  8 days painting 10 - 12 hrs a day (again excluding the cockpit).  This was psychologically daunting especially following on the heels of the sanding marathon.  For those who have done a one coat paint job you know it takes about 3 days to scuff sand and paint, but to have to do the three minimum required coats was really hard on knees, wrists, back, and spirits.  There was also a lot of timing involved to minimize scuff sanding between coats.  

It looks great, the cockpit will have to wait until our next trip to the boat because we simply ran out of time and failed to complete some other projects due to the huge time investment in this project.

Would I do it again?  I am not sure.  If it stays looking good for 20 years then perhaps,  I'll tell you down the road if the investment paid off.  If one had a crew you could train and trust for this detailed work that would help but there is a high level of punctiliousness needed here and I wasn't sure I could find anyone who would invest the effort to achieve the level of detail that the job demanded.  I'll hire out to do your boat, my price is about $65,000 for the job. ;-)

All the best, 

Gary S. Silver
s/v Liahona
Amel SM 2000  Hull # 335  (2001)
Puerto Del Rey Marina, Puerto Rico

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