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post #1 of 43 Old 05-04-2014 Thread Starter
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Ablative vs. Hard Paints....

Without getting into specialty types, there seem to be 2 main categories of paint:

1. Hard paint (I believe they are also called modified epoxy) which stay in place and leech copper to the surface to offend growth.
2. Ablatives, which allow critters to stick to them, but then peel away when scrubbed or when underway to allow the critters to fall off.

I've only ever used what came with the boat. The first boat was wood, and I was told that the hard paints couldn't be used (due to flexing of the hull?) and used ablatives. The current boat came with hard paint, so I continued that. I've had great success with both, but then again, I live in a low-growth area so that's probably the main reason for my success.

What are the pros and cons and applications for each? Is one better in the short or long term, or is one better than the other for frequent storage on the hard? How do you choose between the 2 broad categories?

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post #2 of 43 Old 05-04-2014
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Re: Ablative vs. Hard Paints....

Your descriptions of how a modified epoxy paint works is accurate. You're on the right track with your description of how an ablative works, but not quite spot-on. Ablatives work primarily because the surface of the paint "ablates", much like a bar of soap. As the paint moves through the water, the surface layer slowly wears away, exposing fresh biocide. This is not to say that no biocide is released while the boat is at rest- it is. But both types of paint are prone to some fouling and need to be cleaned periodically. Ablatives are no better at retarding this fouling (in most instances) than any other kind of paint.

Some pros and cons:

Hard paint pros- Durable, typically longer lived than ablatives, typically higher copper content. Cons- Successive layers of paint will at some point have to be removed, cannot be exposed to air for any length of time, limited color assortment.

Ablative pros- Can withstand exposure to air, will not build up like hard paints, wide color assortment. Cons- not particularly durable, low copper content, in-water cleaning restricted in some regions.
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Re: Ablative vs. Hard Paints....

I believe in anacortes, in water cleaning of ablatives is prohibited. Not that I'm sure everyone doesn't anyways.


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Re: Ablative vs. Hard Paints....

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I believe in anacortes, in water cleaning of ablatives is prohibited. Not that I'm sure everyone doesn't anyways.
That is a statewide regulation in Washington.
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Re: Ablative vs. Hard Paints....

Speaking as someone who once scraped & sanded decades of buildup off a 43' and who recently completed scraping & sanding a 30' boat to the gel-coat, I plan on never using anything but ablatives in future.

For any reason.

If in-water scrubbing becomes illegal, I'll willingly pay for a 1/2 lift to scrub it off rather than face that back breaking job ever again.
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post #6 of 43 Old 05-04-2014
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Re: Ablative vs. Hard Paints....

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Originally Posted by Fstbttms View Post
Your descriptions of how a modified epoxy paint works is accurate. You're on the right track with your description of how an ablative works, but not quite spot-on. Ablatives work primarily because the surface of the paint "ablates", much like a bar of soap. As the paint moves through the water, the surface layer slowly wears away, exposing fresh biocide. This is not to say that no biocide is released while the boat is at rest- it is. But both types of paint are prone to some fouling and need to be cleaned periodically. Ablatives are no better at retarding this fouling (in most instances) than any other kind of paint.

Some pros and cons:

Hard paint pros- Durable, typically longer lived than ablatives, typically higher copper content. Cons- Successive layers of paint will at some point have to be removed, cannot be exposed to air for any length of time, limited color assortment.

Ablative pros- Can withstand exposure to air, will not build up like hard paints, wide color assortment. Cons- not particularly durable, low copper content, in-water cleaning restricted in some regions.
I agree with everything above except for the last line. Ablatives can have a high copper content.

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Re: Ablative vs. Hard Paints....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fstbttms View Post
Your descriptions of how a modified epoxy paint works is accurate. You're on the right track with your description of how an ablative works, but not quite spot-on. Ablatives work primarily because the surface of the paint "ablates", much like a bar of soap. As the paint moves through the water, the surface layer slowly wears away, exposing fresh biocide. This is not to say that no biocide is released while the boat is at rest- it is. But both types of paint are prone to some fouling and need to be cleaned periodically. Ablatives are no better at retarding this fouling (in most instances) than any other kind of paint.

Some pros and cons:

Hard paint pros- Durable, typically longer lived than ablatives, typically higher copper content. Cons- Successive layers of paint will at some point have to be removed, cannot be exposed to air for any length of time, limited color assortment.

Ablative pros- Can withstand exposure to air, will not build up like hard paints, wide color assortment. Cons- not particularly durable, low copper content, in-water cleaning restricted in some regions.


In a recent post I put up this photo which everyone told me was ablative paint build up. Does this mean that ablative can still build up, but just not as bad or as fast? Does this photo represent 20+ years of buildup and it would be worse if it was hard paint?

I am planning on taking my boat out of the water for several months and I have petit trinidad hard paint on it. What's going to happen? Will it rust? Will it flake? Will it not work when I go back in? Will I sink?

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Re: Ablative vs. Hard Paints....

Most, if not all hard paint will lose its effectiveness if out of the water for a while.

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Re: Ablative vs. Hard Paints....

Check the Pettit web site.
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Re: Ablative vs. Hard Paints....

Quote:
Originally Posted by mitiempo View Post
I agree with everything above except for the last line. Ablatives can have a high copper content.
Most ablative paints do not have what I consider to be a high copper content (say, 60% and above.) That said, you are correct, there are a few examples of the type that do claim high copper numbers, typically "hybrid" ablatives. Paints that share some properties of both hard and ablative paints.
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