How to Paint Sailboat Decks
New Life for Old Decks: A fresh coat of deck paint on your vintage classic-plastic cruiser will make the old gal sparkle and shine.
1. In preparation for the job, much of the deck hardware, including the stanchions, had to be removed. The remaining gear was carefully and completely covered and masked.
2. All the fastener holes were filled with silicon sealant, and the couple spent days grinding the old surfaces. Then Janet used a solvent wash to ensure a strong bond with the primer paint.
3. After dings and cracks were repaired and sanded, two coats of epoxy primer were applied.
4. Following another round of sanding, vacuuming, cleaning, and taping, the couple rolled and brushed on a fresh coat of Awlgrip topcoat.
5. After four coats of Awlgrip, it was time for the nonskid. First, Steve experimented with colors and grits. Once under way, he poured on a dollop of pre-mixed paint and spread it evenly. Note the paint stirrer, which was used to prevent the grit from settling.
6. Stirring frequently, to make sure the coverage was even in each masked area, Steve worked quickly and efficiently while Janet addressed small splashes with a solvent-soaked cloth.
7. Voilà! Once the masking tape was removed, the fresh decks fairly glistened.
What You'll Need:
• Hook-and-loop sanding discs, sized to fit the sander pads
• Sheets of sandpaper of grits 80, 100, 120, 180, 220, and 320
• 3M masking tape in widths of 1/2 inch (No. 256), 1 inch (No. 2090), and 2 inches (No. 225)
• Gerson synthetic tack cloths
• Roller frames and roller covers, with phenolic cores: ultra-smooth, high-density 4-inch and 6-inch roller covers (available from Home Depot; for the primers and topcoats) and Yellow stripe 3/8-inch nap (from West Marine; for the nonskid paint mixture)
• Good-quality varnishing brushes
• Cabisil (colloidal silica) thickening agent for making fairing putty with epoxy or polyester resin
• Plastic putty knives
• Interlux Fiberglass Solvent Wash 202 (for cleaning surfaces)
• M.E.K. solvent (for cleaning all brushes)
• Disposable paper/plastic pails of various sizes
• A dozen wooden paint stirrers
• Interlux Epoxy Primekote
• Awlgrip topcoat (with Brushing Reducer and brushing converter)
• Awlgrip Griptex nonskid additive (fine and coarse grades)
• Ryobi and Makita random orbital sanders
• Ryobi 6-inch palm polisher (used with a foam pad as a sander in complex spaces)
• 3M breathing dust masks, ear protection, and solvent-resistant gloves
Longtime CW contributor Tom Zydler and his wife, Nancy, plan on spending this summer exploring the coast of Labrador aboard their Mason 44, Frances B.