Exterior hull maintenance costs (yearly painting needed?) - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 09-14-2010
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Exterior hull maintenance costs (yearly painting needed?)

I've been trying to figure out how much hull maintenance generally costs. I've read that people have their hulls painted each year. What is a gel coat exactly?

I was reading through some posts about living abord and they put the yearly maintenance costs estimate at $6000! I was shocked! Well that covers all maintenance, not just the outside of the hull costs.

For a fiberglass hull:
If you're just going to be sitting there, it shouldn't really matter if the hull is perfectly clean or does it? Plastic won't rust. Is taking the boat out of the water each year required, or is it just needed when you want to maintain good sailing performance.

For a steel hull:
Well I was reading about some kind of coating where their steel boat was good for 5 years. The negative electrical charge (cathode) prevented any scratches from rusting. That sounds good to me!

And for both cases, about how much would it cost for a 35 foot boat? If there's special treatment that makes it last 5 years how much does that cost?

Thanks!
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Old 09-15-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steel View Post
I've been trying to figure out how much hull maintenance generally costs. I've read that people have their hulls painted each year. What is a gel coat exactly?

Gelcoat is the spray on (usually) polyester coating that covers and protects the glass from abrasion, UV, etc. It's usually 40-60 mils thick, contains the color and is the shiny part. It usually lasts up to 10-20 years before turning chalky. A good buffing will rescue most Gelcoats unless too far gone.

I was reading through some posts about living abord and they put the yearly maintenance costs estimate at $6000! I was shocked! Well that covers all maintenance, not just the outside of the hull costs.

For a fiberglass hull:
If you're just going to be sitting there, it shouldn't really matter if the hull is perfectly clean or does it? Plastic won't rust. Is taking the boat out of the water each year required, or is it just needed when you want to maintain good sailing performance.

No, plastic won't rust but UV degrades the fiberglass if not properly taken care of. Besides, who wants to row away and look back at an ugly boat?

For a steel hull:
Well I was reading about some kind of coating where their steel boat was good for 5 years. The negative electrical charge (cathode) prevented any scratches from rusting. That sounds good to me!

And for both cases, about how much would it cost for a 35 foot boat? If there's special treatment that makes it last 5 years how much does that cost?

Thanks!
As far as paint goes, most decent paint jobs are good for 3-5 years before they need a buff and wax. UV and salt are murder on coatings. Most modern paints have a useful service life of 15-20 years. The harder paints like Sterling and Alwgrip are NOT buff-able and aren't easily repaired. Acrylic Polyurethanes like Axelseal, Imron, Awlcraft etc are a bit softer and can be buffed or blended easier. Simply applying a good wax yearly and rinsing off the salt after a sail will greatly extend both the appearance and life of a good paint.

As for cost for painting a 35' boat? It depends on your area and the hunger of local shops. I've seen quotes from 3K (which I wouldn't trust) to 12K which is ridiculous unless the surface is really trashed. I won't give a price for ours except via PM.

Enjoy...
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Old 09-15-2010
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The gelcoat hulls on most boats are not painted, but require cleaning, polishing and waxing. The bottom requires regular painting with antifouling paint - usually each spring before launching here in the Northeast.
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