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post #1 of 51 Old 11-14-2006 Thread Starter
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DIY bottom paint?

My bid was accepted on a CS 34' and it goes to the yard next week for the survey. I am thinking of painting it while its out of the water. I am handy and do lots of things myself, but have absolutely no experience painting a boat. The yard wants $1080 for everything, that includes a free haul. So, my question is, am I biting off more than I can chew? Or, is it just a matter of sanding the rough spots/paint blister, rolling on a coat, buffing and waxing? I would really appreciate some experienced advise, tools and materials list, maybe some good books to read too.
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post #2 of 51 Old 11-14-2006
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Prepping the bottom is the problem, most yards won't let you just sand. The stuff is toxic and controlled by the EPA. Big fines if you don't do it correctly. Painting is easy. You could have the yard prep the bottom and you put on the paint, you can probably find a better deal on paint than the yard will charge you anyway, but some yards insist you buy the materials from them. I've done it an now feel like it is a good job for someone else.

Buff/waxing hull is DIY if you have a good buffer, long power cord, cleaner wax (or compound and then wax if it is really bad) , a ladder and 2 hard days. I do it but I take my time.
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post #3 of 51 Old 11-14-2006
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Seems to me you should be waiting for at least a verbal stamp of approval from your surveyor before planning to plunk down the coin for this job (which is on a boat you don't actually own yet!)

I can see the temptation to avoid another haulout, but talk to the yard and see if you make provisional arrangements to block the boat and do the work (or have it done) providing the survey goes well enough to give you confidence that the deal will go through.

Surveyors, however, usually want a little time to do some research before they will commit to a "market value" that will be important to you when it comes to insuring or financing the boat. So you are unlikely to get the complete picture from him/her at that moment.

Doing your own bottom job is not complicated, but usually involves more time and prep than you might think. Get yourself some paper coveralls, gloves, goggles and a filter mask (at least) - some of the solvents involved require a proper respirator mask.

Find out what paint is on the boat now, and be sure to avoid paints that will react with the present coating. A good pressure wash, followed by sanding (if permitted) may be all the prep you need, but if there are some blisters you need to decide how you'll deal with that, you may need/want to fair minor dings, especially on the fin and rudder, etc etc.

But I'd suggest you get the deal done first.
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post #4 of 51 Old 11-14-2006
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I'd agree with Faster... You're getting way ahead of yourself.


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post #5 of 51 Old 11-15-2006
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Welcome in advance to the CS family, we hope. Be sure to sign up for the email group at if you have not done so, most CS owners seem to participate. youi should do an archive search on the 34 to see what the FAQs are. (Insdie dope - you can also do a search on the baot and owners name - many boats (like mine) have a lengthy history in various threads).

I agree you should not start any work until the deal is done. You should try to get the sea trial out of the way before the boat is hauled, then have the yard keep it on the hard until a conclusion is reached. You would need 4-6 work days to do the bottom and topsides, if only normal season prep is needed. Be sure to have an engine surveyor do the engine.

You can go to for all things bottom paint related, including compatibility and application. Good luck.
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post #6 of 51 Old 11-15-2006
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Like everybody else has said, don't jump the gun.

Having said that, the general maintenance projects we do our selves.
If you have the yard doing all of your work for you, you will very soon end up with a very large yard bill. Very Large!

I think most would agree, bottom painting is a job that just about anybody can do.

The old stuff is a real pain in the butt to remove, its nasty!
Make sure as suggested earlier to wear a good resperatior, you can get very sick from working with this stuff.

A Pressure washer was good advise and will make the job much easier. Still not pleasant, but easier.

Like Faster said, not all paints are compatable. You have to figure out what is on there now, the previous owner should be able to supply you with that.

Todays bottom paints are very smooth and simple to roll on, applying the new is no big deal. Removing the old is a bit of a challenge.
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post #7 of 51 Old 11-15-2006
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Agree with the above - No work until you are the official owner -
However - not sure what you plan to do with the boat but let me tell you what i did - i had also never painted a boat bottom and made a deal with the yard and a crew to paint the bottom however part of the deal was that i worked with the crew as a crew member and they taught me how to prep and paint the bottom - it took us 2 days and at the end i feel i can now prep and paint my own bottom - but it will take a bit longer than 2 days -
By the way i did the same thing when replacing the cutlass -
One thing - be a student and not a boat owner - learn and ask questions but they are the experts so let them teach you and take off your owners hat and put on a workers hat and leave your ego at home - treat it as if you are not even there and you are an apprentice
just my thoughts
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post #8 of 51 Old 11-15-2006
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Most of the yards in my area will allow you to do your own sanding and painting but require some precautions. A random orbital sander with a shop vac fitted with a 'fine particle bag' attached to it does fine - for you and the environment. Some places also require that you tarp the area underneath the boat for the whole operation.

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post #9 of 51 Old 11-15-2006
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While hauled out, you and your surveyor will first determine what type of bottom paint was last used and the extent of work necessary below the water line. Naturally, you will not be spending any additional money (beyond survey expenses) before offer acceptance, in the form of a signed agreement with the owner.

As was said, bottom paint application is the easy part - removal being much tougher - IF it is necessary. The probability does exist that an ablative was last used. If this is the case and the paint is sound with no spalling, all that may be required is a light sanding, followed by another coat of an ablative paint, such as Interlux Micron Extra with Biocide - an excellent paint for cruising sailboats. Do keep in mind however, that the bottom must be thoroughly dry before recoating, with minimum temps in the 50's.

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post #10 of 51 Old 11-15-2006
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yard work

I just spent six days in the boatyard and got a lot done on my Cape Dory 30. Depending on the boatyard and your approach, it could be great learning experience. I collected some great new skills like cutlass bearing replacement (including glass work) and restoring gelcoat.

The survey will help you develop a game plan and you can itemize money and time for the projects. There are just so many variables that others have listed. Haul the boat for survey, then make a plan.

It is very physical work but not very complicated. If you have the right weather and timing you can accomplish a great deal in a few days.

My six days in the boatyard cost me $400 which included haul, pressure wash and storage for those days. Paint, wetsand paper, compound, polish, cutlass bearing, 3M superbuff wheels, microfiber cloths, etc. cost hundreds extra but I increased her value and my satisfaction plenty.

Good luck-

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