Is grinding the only way to get rid of old bottom paint?
Tom Wood responds:
Talk about a common and much-hated project. Yes, you can grind it off, sand it off, or use strippers made specifically for the projectall nasty and uncommonly slow work. Many yards now have "peelers" that can be set to remove all the old paint, but this process tends to be quite expensive. The best way that I've found to take off a heavy build-up of antifouling paint is by sandblasting, and even better is wet-blasting which contains a mixture of high-pressure sand and water (keeps the dust down and isn't as abrasive). Most commercial places around boatyards have a portable sandblasting company that can do the whole bottom in an hour or two, at probably about the same cost as stripper and sandpaper. After the blasting guys are done, just wash off the dust and paint.
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