Everything You Need to Know Before Giving Your Yacht a Fresh Coat of Paint

Yacht Painting

Let’s make one thing clear from the start: achieving the perfect paint finish would be almost impossible without a good preparation process done beforehand.

Here’s the thing: yachts are coated in high-quality paints that are glossy and highly resistant to the usual scuffs and knocks. However, as time passes by, the paint will lose its original shine and a simple yacht fairing, although essential, will not be enough to restore it. As such, yacht painting requires a thorough process that involves removing loose paint, smoothing out the surface and priming it for painting.

This article will teach you all the important details of painting a yacht.

First Things First, Prepare the Surface

The first thing you should do before anything else is to ensure that the surface you are about to treat is smooth and clean.

Blow dry the surface to remove dirt and dust. Then, clean the surface using fresh water and a degreasing solvent. Wipe the surface dry using a cloth, and work on small areas until they are completely residue-free. Replace the cloth as frequently as possible to avoid spreading the dust.

The next step you should focus on is sanding. This process will make the paint layers adhere better to the surface, so it’s important to sand between each operation to improve inter-coat adhesion. Be careful though: excessive sanding can partially destroy the primer coating, forcing you to apply another coat.

Sanding can be done either manually, with sanding blocks, shortboards, and longboards, or with power tools, such as random orbital sanders. You can also choose between dry sanding and wet sanding. The former will require you to wipe the surface of traces of dust after completing the operation. The latter won’t create dust, and it’s a bit faster than the former, but you will have to wait for the surface to dry.

Pay Attention to the External Factors

Painting a yacht is a delicate process that requires attention to details. And, we’re not talking here only about the boat’s surface but also about the external factors.

Pay close attention to the environment where the yacht painting will take place. If the humidity exceeds 90% and the temperature is below the dew point of 5°F (3°C), you should postpone the painting job. Otherwise, there’s a high risk that condensation would form on the surface of the coating.

Remember that you will need to check the humidity very near to the surface that you are planning to paint. If you do not have the proper equipment to measure the humidity, you can employ a rather traditional approach. Take a cloth, soak it in fresh water and wipe the surface you are going to paint, leaving a visible film of water. If the water evaporates within ten minutes, then it’s pretty clear that the surface temperature is above the dew point. Don’t forget that if you are going to apply the paint in a closed area, you need to make sure that there is enough ventilation in the room.

Get the Right Tools

Last, but not least, make sure that before you begin any painting work, you have all the equipment you need for such a job. First and foremost, you should procure a facemask and choose it according to the length of the paint job, the amount and type of paint you’re going to use, and the place where the painting will take place.

If there is spray paint involved, it is best to leave it to a professional that comes with specialized equipment. This task requires using full masks for respiratory protection and purchasing them may not be as easy as expected.

Your eyes will also need protection when painting a yacht. Safety glasses and goggles should be part of your equipment so that you avoid any paint splashes or other work accidents.

Anti-static safety boots with a steel toecap will provide ankle protection, and a cotton overall with full-length sleeves and legs will limit your exposure to paint as much as possible. Choose chemical resistant gloves that you can replace frequently or as soon as the inside looks dirty. As the last finishing touch, also consider using a barrier cream on any parts of the exposed skin that you can’t otherwise.

Although exciting, yacht painting is by no means simple. If the job’s prospects overwhelm you, then it would be best to hire professional yacht painting services. At Chi Yacht Refinishing, you can take care of your needs at affordable prices.