Low Maintenance Brightwork: Varnish or Linear Polyurethane over Epoxy? - SailNet Community

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Old 06-19-2007
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Low Maintenance Brightwork: Varnish or Linear Polyurethane over Epoxy?

Hi folks. I'm in the process of refinishing the exterior of my 28 foot sailboat. I'm really into the idea of the lower maintenance brightwork using epoxy. I understand that epoxy is very UV sensitive and needs an additional coating. I have read some threads praising the varnish over epoxy method. I haven't found any solid input about putting a clear 2-part linear polyurethane (with UV inhibitors) over epoxy instead of varnish? I am aware how durable and longlasting polyurethanes can be and was wondering if this is a better option than varnish over epoxy. Any thoughts?
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Old 06-19-2007
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LPU finishes can be very, very durable. Shouldn't be an issue over epoxy, as many of the high-end custom boats are built using epoxy and are finished with two-part LPU paints. Not so sure how durable the clear LPU finishes are though.
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Old 06-19-2007
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Quote:
"Low Maintenance Brightwork"
. . . an oxymoron, if I've ever heard one.
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I've tried both. Poly and Captains work equally well over epoxy as far as I could tell. The problem with epoxy is that it will peal away from edges if any water can get in there, so it works best when the part can be encapsulated with epoxy to seal it. Also any chip or ding in the surface will quickly cause the epoxy to lift. Removing epoxy is also very difficult. I eventually removed all of it and just went back to Captains. There is no holy grail of bright-work finish, and over the years I have tried most of them. The latest fad seems to be Honey Teak or the new Cetol, neither look as good as varnish but seem to last longer. Whatever you use you will have to keep at it.

Why not just let it go silver/gray?
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You should definatitely go with the Cetol. If you use epoxy/varnish, some day when you or a subsequent owner has to remove it all, you will wish you hand't used it. The magic of Cetal is that it is not hard to remove, when you need to start over.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gene T
Why not just let it go silver/gray?
Aye, like what's left of the hair on the captain's head.
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Old 09-13-2011
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Old 09-14-2011
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Epoxy on teak will lift eventually, The heat from the sun will cause oils and moisture to try and escape. Also if the epoxy is only to the edge the edge of the epoxy will eventually lift.
Cetol is a good choice but most all outdoor bright work will need regular maintenance unless you let it go gray/silver
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Old 09-14-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingfool View Post
You should definatitely go with the Cetol. If you use epoxy/varnish, some day when you or a subsequent owner has to remove it all, you will wish you hand't used it. The magic of Cetal is that it is not hard to remove, when you need to start over.
We switched to Cetol Natural Teak last year and have been very happy with the results. I used 3-coats of Cetol Clear over two of the Natural Teak after completely stripping the old finish to bare wood. At this point I only have to add a coat of clear at about 6 month intervals which is easily done. One merely "scuffs" the existing finish with a Sctochbright pad, wipes it down with 90% alcohol and adds the Clear. For those farther north, I suspect the interval for re-coating would be less.

FWIW...
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Properly applied Honey Teak (base coat) will last up to and beyond 10 years. HT requires a slop maintenance clear coat every year or every two years in northern areas. It can be 'finished' (flat sanded with 2000 then hand rubbed or powerbuffed) to 'beyond' or equal to a PRIME varnish job. Only downside is its expensive but when you amortize over the nearly 10 years it comes out at the cheapest in money and labor. Honey teak must be applied THICK or you will get premature failures ... but is easily repairable.

Epoxy over teak then varnished on top will eventually fail in a relatively short time from two mechanisms: 1. moisture permeation through the wood (turns the teak surface eventually BLACK) and 2. UV degradation ... and its a royal PITA to remove and sand/bleach the teak. An epoxy base varnish job is almost impossible to repair and the teak needs to be entirely stripped and reworked.
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