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post #1 of 17 Old 01-31-2016 Thread Starter
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Ideas for interior bulkhead coatings?

Current stage of my project is 'civilizing' the bulkheads. As you can see in this video, it's just fiberglass with some interior paint casually rolled on. Bondo is working but will take way longer than I want.

Any other ideas?

Also, note the 'porthole' on the port side - previous owner literally just took a piece of plexiglass and then caulked the bejezus out of it. It's ugly, but watertight. I'd like to fix it, but have never done something like that...where would I even start??

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post #2 of 17 Old 01-31-2016
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Re: Ideas for interior bulkhead coatings?

A product that has been used by many boat builders to cover the unfinished fiberglass weave is Zolatone now owned by Valspar. it will add a textured and molted finish which hides the exposed fiber glass weave. filling and sanding can be done but as you have seen it is very labor intensive. best color for boats to hide the surface is silver gray. Zolatone | Valspar

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post #3 of 17 Old 01-31-2016
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Re: Ideas for interior bulkhead coatings?

I'm not really clear what the end game is. Are you simply trying to smooth out the interior surfaces, are you doing any cabinetry work, etc? Are you fitting out for day sailing or cruising? These might help with how durable a solution you require, or whether extended effort is worth it.

If you know these surfaces were painted with home depot house paint, I doubt anything you put over it will stay as long as you like. You're adhering to the paint, the paint is adhered to the glass. I'm afraid you'll need to strip the paint first to skim coat.

Another option for skim coating is heavily thickened epoxy. Trowel it on, then smooth with an orbital sander when dry. It would still be a ton of work!!

Whatever you do, the dust and fumes require a good organic filter respirator, not a dust mask!

You could consider making liners out of something like 1/8" to 1/4" marine plywood. Epoxy wood strips on to the hull and ceiling every 12-18 inches or so, running perpendicular to the span of the liner, to be used to hold the plywood panels down with commercial hook and loop (not just fuzzy velcro). This would only require grinding off the paint at those locations. After all the plywood is dry cut to fit, take it out and cover it all with vinyl. Dividing walls and ceiling into long individual 1ft - 2ft strips, would make the panels easier to handle. You could even glue some large soft piping onto the edges against bulkheads and overheads to finish off the corners better (or hide the imperfections in fit). It may require a couple of screws at the ends of the panels to really hold well, but these can be covered with a plastic washer that accepts a little snap on cap to finish nicely. You could screw the whole thing down, if you prefer it over hook and loop.

Big job. Good luck.


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post #4 of 17 Old 01-31-2016
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Re: Ideas for interior bulkhead coatings?

I used KiwiGrip on the inside of my lazarette. Took minutes to apply with the "loopy goopy roller". It textured nicely, cleans well and hides imperfections. A little expensive but it might be your answer.

Another alternative would be carpeting it with outdoor carpeting. I did that in my quarter berths. I glued on 3/8" carpet padding. Then glued on the carpet. It looks great and adds protection from the cold, hard hull. You could skip the padding. Along the walls of the saloon, I covered 1/4" exterior plywood with fabric. A couple of strategically placed cleats to keep the panels in place might be the answer. Post pics of the project when you get it done.
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post #5 of 17 Old 01-31-2016
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Re: Ideas for interior bulkhead coatings?

This can be a very, very easy job using inexpensive fiberglass sheeting you can purchase at Home Depot and glue it in place with contact cement. It's very easy to cut and thin enough to make some pretty severe bends. Take a look at 4 ft. x 8 ft. White .090 FRP Wall Board-MFTF12IXA480009600 - The Home Depot. This would be great for the ceilings if you want texturized.

For the sidewalls (interior bulkheads) this 1/16 in. x 4 ft. x 8 ft. Plastic Panel-63003 - The Home Depot would be just fine at $20 a sheet, which is what is in my Morgan 33 OI.

All the best,

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post #6 of 17 Old 01-31-2016
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Re: Ideas for interior bulkhead coatings?

Your original post is a little confusing. You said that Bondo is working but will take too long. Bondo is a filler, not a final coating, so I'm not sure what you mean.

Also, you have only asked about the bulkheads, and yet the entire interior looks like it needs facelift. If "civilizing" or brightening up the entire interior is your goal, I'd use something like home, interior and interior semi-gloss acrylic latex paint.

Applying the coatings will be easy by brush and roller. Prep will be more challenging. Any existing paint that hasn't adhered well will have to be death with, and you probably have areas where some filling and repairing may be necessary.

As rough and sad as your interior is looking now, I can imagine a vast improvement with the light gray color mentioned by a previous poster applied to every interior surface.

I think you can get a vast improvement with just that small amount of work. If you want to get beyond that, I think any further gains in appearance will require considerably more effort to achieve.
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post #7 of 17 Old 01-31-2016
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Re: Ideas for interior bulkhead coatings?

A layer of closed cell foam insulation will drastically improve comfort levels below. Friends have been using those 2q ft square foam interlocking pads available at Home Despot. They take the compound curve of the hull well, and can be covered with anything. If they are thick enough ( not all that thick for a plastic boat) they can easily make a boat unsinkable.

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post #8 of 17 Old 01-31-2016
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Re: Ideas for interior bulkhead coatings?

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Originally Posted by overbored View Post
A product that has been used by many boat builders to cover the unfinished fiberglass weave is Zolatone now owned by Valspar. it will add a textured and molted finish which hides the exposed fiber glass weave. filling and sanding can be done but as you have seen it is very labor intensive. best color for boats to hide the surface is silver gray. Zolatone | Valspar
I am very interested in this subject, having stripped all the foam and vinyl interior out of this old catamaran. I wrote Zolatone and asked which of their coatings they'd recommend over fiberglass mat. They just wrote me back that their "finishes would not be suitable" for the application.

I just looked at the web site you linked to, and now I'm confused.

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post #9 of 17 Old 01-31-2016
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Re: Ideas for interior bulkhead coatings?

the problem is that Valspar bought Zolatone and the sales people don't even know what it is. it was made to be sprayed on unfinished fiberglass with out the use of primer. for years many boat manufactures have used it with great success. the paint is also used on the interior of fiberglass aircraft. I have used it in several dingys and aircraft. the best supplier to buy from is ACS as they have it in stock. not cheep but is worth the price as it is very easy to use and really hides a lot. ZOLATONE COCKPIT PAINT from Aircraft Spruce

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post #10 of 17 Old 02-01-2016
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Re: Ideas for interior bulkhead coatings?

I recently repaired a teak ply bulkhead with self-adhesive teak veneer (don't worry, that's not all I did!). There are lots of veneers available, in pretty much any wood you like. You can get them in self-adhesive, or not.

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