How to Strip Your Bottom Paint
If your boat’s bottom has years of paint buildup, it may be time for a smooth start.
For many, slapping on a new coat of bottom paint is a time-honored springtime ritual. That step, however, is merely the last task at the end of a long road. If you’re the owner of an older sailboat, you may be dealing with years of various bottom coatings, aging barrier coats, and possibly blisters, which all must be dealt with before you apply a new coat of antifouling.
If your boat’s bottom has reached the point where years, or perhaps even decades of paint buildup has started to make it look like a topographical map, you should consider taking all of the coatings off and starting over.
If doing some hard time on the hard is in your future, here are some steps to take that will renew your boat’s bottom and make your sailing that much sweeter.
For a bottom that’s in decent condition, “sand lightly with 60- or 80-grit sandpaper and wipe off the sanding residue,” says Jim Seidel, the marketing manager for Interlux Paint. “When sanding, feather out the edges of any areas that may have been scratched or damaged. Once the bottom has been sanded and cleaned, go ahead and apply the new antifouling paint, first making sure that the new paint is compatible with the old. Most modern paints are compatible with one another, but there are still some that can cause problems.”