This interview with Alexseal Southeast US Regional Sales Manager, Miguel Afonso first appeared in the September 2018 issue of Triton News.
TRITON: Tell us about Alexseal. What does your company do?
AFONSO: Alexseal Yacht Coatings offers a complete system of premium paint products comprised of the highest quality pigments, solvents, aliphatic urethane resins, ultraviolet resistors and agents to create the most advanced marine topcoats and primers available.
Backed by our professional technical and sales support programs, an Alexseal yacht represents the industry’s best combination of appearance, durability and repairability.
TRITON: The paint business is very competitive. How does your company set itself apart?
AFONSO: Alexseal is not just about what’s in the can. Our business is not just about boats; it’s about people — the people who design yachts, the people who build them, the people who manage the construction or refitting of them, the people who apply their finish, the people who maintain them, and the people who own and enjoy them.
And it’s about the Alexseal people our customers work with. Our field people are not salespeople. They are industry professionals, all with technical educations and most with many years of real-life, in-the-field marine urethane application experience.
Our people are on the docks. They spend a substantial portion of their time in the field conducting on-site seminars — not fixed curriculum training programs, but small group and one-on-one, side-by-side applications that build up from the applicators’ existing experience.
We know our projects. Our whole team regularly discusses all current projects so we can hone our skills and provide our applicators better training and products.
The Alexseal team knows boats. When our customers have a question, the person answering the phone or our representative on-site has been in their shoes and knows the specific concerns and needs. For example, if someone wants to know how to paint the bilge to make it easier to clean, or clear coat the transom to resist soot buildup, our people not only know how they know exactly why anyone would want to do that. It’s this understanding that allows them to provide insights and techniques that others can’t.
We are proud of our people, and they are proud to be of service. They are genuinely invested in the success of each yacht’s finish.
TRITON: Is the determination of a quality paint job purely subjective or are there ways to measure it?
AFONSO: There are different types of measuring instruments available, such as gloss readers and wave scanners. These instruments are great and can help determine the different aspects of a paint job.
But just using them to take measurements without a reference point does not help. We do not believe that there will ever be a “perfect” paint job. But in order for captains and crew to make sure they get a quality paint job, they must tell the applicator what they expect. This takes some the subjectiveness out of the paint job.
TRITON: Are different paints better for different uses?
Yes. Most marine paints fall into two categories. The first is an acrylic urethane, which is a soft coating that can be buffed and detailed easy but does not have very good abrasion resistance. The second category is polyurethane, which is a hard coating that does not buff well but has very good abrasion resistance.
Alexseal combines the buff-ability of acrylic with the durability of polyurethane into one. The durability and repairability of Alexseal Topcoat is second to none. While all linear aliphatic polyester polyurethane paints are comprised of parallel strands of molecules, joined with links like the rungs of a ladder, Alexseal forms a harder finish by curing with many more cross-links, targeting 100 percent cross-linkage of all molecules of paint.
That molecular binding provides physical strength as if the whole cured coating were a single large molecule protecting the yacht. This high level of cross-linking creates a tougher finish that stands up to real-world wear and tear. Captains and crew will see this in longer lasting non-skid on the decks. Go ahead, tie alongside. Alexseal Topcoats resist damage from rubbing fenders.
Unlike other polyurethanes, in which the topcoat separates into a clear layer over a pigmented layer, Alexseal Topcoat maintains the pigment through the entire coating layer. When a repair is needed, it won’t be necessary to repaint a large area. Since there is no clear layer to sand through and the pigment of Alexseal is uniform through the cured topcoat, it is easy to spray topcoat over the repaired area and buff the finish in quickly for an almost invisible repair.
While that’s possible with a soft acrylic paint, no other durable urethane offers this level of repairability with consistent color and gloss. Alexseal even offers instructions on how to perform repairs in our Care and Maintenance, and Application Guide documents.
TRITON: What should captains and crew know about preparing for a paint job? How can they help your applicators do their jobs more easily?
AFONSO: The most important factor to a successful paint job is to have all of the captains and crew expectations to the applicator beforehand. With everything up front, there tend to be fewer issues when the boat is being delivered.
TRITON: Do you have any tips for captains and crew on how best to maintain a paint job with Alexseal paint?
AFONSO: Maintaining our paint starts with the application of the coatings. In order for the coating to maintain its high gloss and DOI, the correct mil thickness needs to be achieved during the application (2-3 coats with a total dry film of 2-3 mils).
After a successful paint job, the care and maintenance of Alexseal is very easy. Wash and protect with Alexseal’s Premium Wash Down soap (A5005) and our Premium Polymer Sealer (A5010).