Application & Safety Equipment
When selecting equipment to use for preparation, priming or finishing, be sure to consider quality first. All safety equipment, compressor systems and spraying apparatus should be professional grade and in proper working order. Cutting corners on equipment to save time or money will likely result in a substandard finish that could result in additional expenses and man-hours.

Adequate ventilation is important for the safety of personnel as well as the integrity of the application. Maintain continuous flow of fresh air in the workspace. Do not breathe vapors, spray mists or sanding dusts. Wear an appropriate, properly fitted, supplied-air respirator during and after application – unless air monitoring demonstrates vapor and particulate levels are below applicable limits. Follow the respirator manufacturer’s directions for proper, safe respirator use. Be sure all respirator equipment and protective gear is properly maintained and inspected prior to use. Engineering or administrative controls should be implemented to reduce exposure. Provide sufficient mechanical (general and/or local exhaust) ventilation to maintain exposure below TLV’s (Threshold Limit Values).

Air sources in the painting environment need regular attention to avoid propelling and circulating contaminants. A poorly maintained compressor and peripheral equipment can contaminate the painting environment. In addition, improper use of compressed air can propel particles into a surface at an accelerated velocity – creating severe marks or deformities that could require significant effort to repair. Therefore, filtered, clean, oil free, dry air is essential for all spray equipment and air tools, both when applying paint and blowing off surfaces prior to priming or painting. All supply lines should have properly maintained oil and water separators. There should be no less than 15 m (50 ft.) between the compressor and the separators to allow the water to separate from the heated air. Based on the climate and environment of the painting facility, additional separators may be required. Air dryers are highly recommended to provide clean, dry air.

Prior to each use, all hoses, pots and spray tips should be thoroughly cleaned by circulating clean solvent through the system.

New equipment may arrive with factory lubricants or residue from the manufacturing process and should also be cleaned with this same process.

Good airflow in the painting environment is recommended to allow the solvents to evaporate away from the paint film as well as to remove overspray from the surface. All coatings will dry quicker and more thoroughly when applied in an environment with positive air flow of at least 100 cubic feet (2.8 m3/m) per minute..

Tack rags are used just before painting to remove the fine debris such as airborne dust and dirt from the surface that has been prepared for painting.

Use tack rags before the final topcoat applications. Tack rags are not required when fairing materials or surfacers are utilized. When tacking a primer or topcoat surface, use only rags that are pre treated with the proper amount of chemicals to pick up dust without leaving any residue on the surface. Some brands of tack rags may leave a residue that causes deformities in the topcoat.

DO NOT use excessive hand pressure when rubbing with tack rags. Light, gentle dusting is all that is required since the rags are pre treated with a compound that attracts contaminants.

Masking Tape
Masking tape is used to prevent paint from coating an area – as well as for attaching other masking materials (paper, plastic, cloth). It is important to take note of the quality and composition of both the adhesive and the top material of the masking tape. The tape selected should be compatible with both urethane and epoxy coatings. Incompatible (usually cheap) masking tape will have adverse effects on the painting process and should be avoided. These effects may include leakage of paint beneath the tape, poor resistance to solvents or moisture, and adhesive residue left on the surface after removal. Tapelines left on a surface are difficult to remove and create additional work and cost in the painting process. When masking to create stripes, use thin tape intended for a striping application such as 3M Fine Line #218. An effective technique to prevent paint from leaking beneath the tape line or “creeping” is to create a good seal between the tape and the surface by rubbing the edge of the tape with a straight edge, fine sandpaper or a scrubbing pad.

Foam Tape
When painting sections of a boat or performing repairs, it is often desired to have a “soft” tape line. This is where the paint film gradually decreases into existing paint instead of having a raised edge where the new paint meets the existing paint.

Manufacturers such as 3M produce a soft edge foam masking tape (DART Tape) that is helpful to create soft lines. When foam tape is not available use a wide 5cm (2”) tape and roll it back over itself. By rolling the tape back, you create a softer, tapered line.

When using these products and techniques, it is difficult to get straight lines so only use these where a soft line is desired.

Masking Paper
Masking papers also come in numerous grades. Some facilities opt to use plastic sheeting in lieu of, or in addition to, paper masking materials. Solvents in urethane and epoxy coatings may negatively react with low-grade paper, or papers that have plastic or chemical content that is reactive with polyurethane or epoxies. Therefore, it is critical to select masking paper with high resistance to solvent penetration. Masking material such as 3M Scotchblok Masking Paper is recommended. DO NOT use newspaper for masking.

DO NOT use lightweight plastic masking materials that may cling or attach themselves to the surface. This may leave permanent marks or deformities on the paint. Plastic sheeting left on a surface longer than 48 hours may cause water condensation under the sheeting that will result in blistering, bubbling or other defects in the paint finish.

Use brushes and rollers that are specified for use with urethanes and epoxies. Household-quality equipment will “melt” because of their lack of solvent resistance.

Use paint brushes with natural bristles that are solvent resistant and are attached to the ferrule with epoxy. Using brushes of a higher quality will yield more consistent results. Manufacturers such as Corona or Red Tree make brushes that are known to perform well with ALEXSEAL products.

High quality brushes are recommended for all ALEXSEAL products including applying interior water based finish paint. When applying ALEXSEAL Premium Topcoat 501, it is sometimes helpful to work with two or more brushes. Allow the extra brush(es) to soak in ALEXSEAL Brushing Reducer (R5015) while working with another. Switch brushes periodically to keep material from building up in the heel of the brush. Pay close attention to the bristles to assure there are no particles or debris accumulating that could be transferred to the coating.

Always remember to remove excess reducer thoroughly from the brush that was soaking before using again. Spin brushes with a brush spinner for best results.

DO NOT soak brushes in conditioners, oils, turpentine or any cleaner that may contaminate the applied product. DO NOT use foam brushes to apply ALEXSEAL products, as they will likely disintegrate and melt into the coatings. Using foam brushes to tip off a rolled surface is often an effective practice. However, it is important to note that the foam brushes will likely swell over time and will need to be thrown away frequently to avoid contaminating the application.

Rollers for ALEXSEAL Primers and Topcoats
Always use a solvent resistant roller that will not disintegrate or melt when applying solvent-based primers or topcoats. Rollers that are used with a “cage” handle should have a phenolic core, which is solvent resistant and will not disintegrate. Short nap cage rollers are preferred that have a nap which does not exceed 4,5 mm (3/16”).

High density solvent resistant foam rollers are recommended because they do not apply too much material at one time, and the ends of the roller are tapered – which reduces overlap marks, and results in a more even finish.

After using a roller, a brush should be used for tipping off the paint to remove any bubbles or stipples left by the roller application. Use fresh lacquer thinner for cleaning equipment. Sometimes the cost in terms of time and effort to clean brushes is more expensive than disposing of brushes after use.

ALEXSEAL products can be delivered by a variety of professional quality spray guns. As with all equipment, the spray gun, hoses, tips and paint reservoirs should be kept clean and rinsed with solvent prior to each use. Be sure to test spray volume and pattern on a sample surface prior to each application.

Spray Equipment Tips
Use professional grade, well maintained equipment. ALEXSEAL products are designed to be applied in a precise fashion. Low grade or poorly maintained equipment will jeopardize this quality. Spray guns, tips, and reservoirs should all be kept clean with attention to quality. Air hoses must be the correct type and capacity to assure consistent results. Prior to the application of any ALEXSEAL product, all equipment (e.g. pressure pots, hoses, tips, etc.) should be flushed with an ALEXSEAL Topcoat Reducer or clean, non-recycled virgin alcohol, lacquer thinner, MEK, or acetone. This includes new equipment, which may have an oil or residue remaining from the machining process that must be removed. Air hoses should only be flushed with high quality denatured alcohol, because the rubber inside an air hose is not solvent resistant like a fluid hose.

Standardize Your Equipment
Use equipment that is the same brand, type and capacity to achieve uniform results on jobs that have multiple application points. This should include having the same air cap, tip and nozzle for each sprayer, as recommended by the spray gun manufacturer.

Ensure Clean Gun/Hoses/Air
Replace dirty air hoses and check regularly for leaks. Check for air cleanliness by running air for 10 - 15 mins through a clean, white cotton rag and then checking for any residue. Change filters, service water and oil traps regularly. Be sure to use an adequate number of traps for long air hoses.

Check Environmental Conditions
Temperature (both air and substrate), humidity and air flow all may need controlling to optimize your result. DO NOT attempt to apply in marginal conditions or rush an application when current conditions are apt to change mid-application. Ensuring the air is as clean as possible and free of airborne debris from surface preparation or other sources, will help ensure the highest quality application. Rinsing the floor of the paint facility is highly recommended prior to application. Be sure to follow recommendations on appropriate “Technical Data Sheets” prior to applying any ALEXSEAL product. Refer to mixing charts, and choose the correct reducer to thin to the recommended viscosity.

Determine The Optimum Gun Setup
Use the fan check method to get your paint atomization set right. Check the fluid flow rate and air pressure at the gun. Test on a spare panel a minimum of three times prior to application.

Synchronize Gun Settings
Check that all sprayers have the proper fluid flow and air pressure, and that these are not modified during application. Use the same test area to compare spray results prior to continuing application.

Spray a Test Area
At the start of the job and before each coat, spray a decent sized area on a separate panel and check the appearance and wet film thickness (WFT).

Use mixing and spray charts and measure quantities precisely. Record the gun settings for future reference. Work well within the pot life, because as the paint continues to induct, the rheology can change, affecting the final result. Be sure to record the date and time products are opened, and dispose of product that has exceeded acceptable shelf life. Use the „Paint Application Protocol“ to record and save parameters such as mixing ratios, conditions and application method to refer to on future applications to assure consistent results.