When it comes to painting a boat, the methods available and variables that could occur are numerous. All of our Alexseal representatives are well-trained in all Alexseal product uses and applications from fairing compounds to topcoats. They are happy to share this knowledge and answer any technical questions, whether the customer is a large ship builder or an individual looking to tackle the project themselves. Alexseal representative Jeff Holland – a yacht painter by trade – provided advice and support to Thor Powell when he inquired about repainting his sailboat in Alexseal.
With Jeff Holland’s expertise, and Thor Powell’s determination and creativity, Mariner’s Cat was successfully repainted in Alexseal. Mr. Powell is the President of a Great Lakes sailing club and wrote an article about his experiences leading up to the repainting of Mariner’s Cat, proving that the difference between Alexseal and their competitors is not only superior product quality and durability, but also friendly and knowledgeable support staff!
Mariner’s Cat was painted with Awlgrip in approximately 1997……so 16 or 17 years later, it was getting a bit long in the tooth. A prior owner had done a repair that, although not all that apparent, was starting to bleed through; coupled with 17yrs of docking it was time.
After looking at the three main paints of a similar chemistry, Awlgrip, Imron and Alexseal, I chose Alexseal.
The paint shop that was going to do the work sprays a lot of Imron but it is impossible to get paint samples and the marine paint they do sell is hard to find. They will send you the colour card for $65; and after half a dozen calls to various Imron offices and wholesalers I managed to discover that the green closest to the one we had was sufficiently different that I was not willing to fly blind and when you live with an artist, you do not choose the wrong colour. I found only one dealer that sells the marine products in Florida.
Next up was Awlgrip. However it has been my experience that doing any kind of repair is very difficult. The gloss is on the top and the colour underneath; even professionals have great difficulty blending the repair. We do have a touch up bottle much like nail polish and it is ok for very small pin-like damage but beyond that it is hard to fix. Also the curing of Awlgrip must occur in temperatures above 45ºF for about 20 days and in the north that can be hard to find after October and before May.
Alexseal seems to fit in the middle. More like Imron, the colour is all the way through and they are supporting in the marine market. I got all the details from the web and through the mail a colour chart, extensive technical information and dealer list. When I emailed the rep with a question, he called me on Saturday afternoon and spent half an hour with me; and this for just one boat.
It is not like I am Hatteras who uses their paint on all their boats. The curing process is not impacted by temperature as was Awlgrip so my decision was made. Now how to paint it? I had marine shop quotes starting at $10,000 just to do the green, not the white/red boot or top stripes. I looked at doing the roll and tip approach; Alexseal sells converters expressly for this purpose, however, there are a few drawbacks. Repair of the surface is key to a good finish; I am not a professional painter and my eyes are not that sharp. I have rolled and tipped a dingy and the job looks great – just like a spray job; but this was a 7ft dingy in my basement, not a 26ft boat outside on a cradle! The weather window for me is, at best, 3 weeks in April painting outside alongside 40 other boats being worked on and beside a busy road; too many variables. Yes it can be done and has been done, but when you add the scope of the work and weather risk, it is not a slam dunk success.
I then went to a local body shop that repairs cars and trucks; key fact is they do trucks. They fixed all the stuff I showed them and found twice as many dings to fix – I guess I need to stop docking by ear! They then sprayed on 3 coats. They did a excellent job in less than a week from in to out and the final price was under $2,000 plus paint and trucking.
So here is what is going on. In today’s world, trucks and cars have lots of different surfaces that require painting and repair from plastic, aluminium, steel, carbon fibre, and many more. Paints too have become very sophisticated with base coats, clear coats and metallics to name but a few. They are no longer just shooting enamel at steel.
This shop, and it is small shop in a medium sized town, sprays more paint in a week than the larger boat painters will see in a year.
So, for those of you considering painting, it would be well worth looking at a painter who does large vehicles and can accommodate our 12 foot beams. For these businesses, painting a boat is simple compared to the complex work of working with steel, aluminium, plastic and vinyl on a garbage truck or ready-mix concrete truck. Painting a boat is also work that is not time sensitive so they can fit it in during slower times of their schedule.
- Alexseal’s support was excellent
- Imron is not supporting the retail market in any material manner
- Awlgrip is great paint but fixing the docking adventures is not easy.
Hope this is helpful.