IT'S PRIME TIME!

Finally, after months and months of repairing/fairing/sanding/cleaning/repeat the decks I have put down the first coat of primer.  As mentioned in my last post, I am using the Interlux Perfection 2-part polyurethane paint system (Matterhorn white), with Epoxy Primekote as primer. To recap, I did the following for the decks:

  • Filled in large, unused holes (old instrument holes, auto-pilot control panel hole, vent hole that I plan on moving, and a few more)
  • Cut out new window holes, and re-shaped the large window holes
  • Sealed all exposed core with thickened epoxy
  • Drilled out, routed out core, beveled and filled every deck penetration with epoxy, faired back over for smooth finish as shown at Compass Marine
  • Ground out and faired minor cracks and dings (hundreds of them!)
  • Repaired other areas such as the mid-ship deck drains which were badly damaged
  • Sanded the entire decks smooth, including non-skid to 150 grit

I was asked if I plan on re-drilling the holes before paint, and the answer is no.  Much of the deck hardware will be replaced and/or rearranged, so I will re-drill and pot the new holes after all the painting is complete.

I finally finished the repairs/fairing last weekend and spend Saturday sanding the entire deck.  On Sunday I scrubbed and cleaned everything off for a dust/grease/wax free surface; then on Tuesday I found myself with a day off and the right kind of weather to start with the priming.

The primer and paint are a little more difficult to use than normal one-part products, but the mixing ratios are pretty straight forward.  I estimated that I would need 3/4 of a gallon of base to complete the deck, and I was nearly correct on that.  The Primekote comes out of the can super thick, but thins out quickly when you mix it with the hardener.  After about 20 minutes of induction time, I added the brushing reducer at about 25% (as recommended by the instructions).  I found the resulting mix a bit too thin for my liking since I am trying to cover over some smallish cracks that I didn't bother fairing over.  So next coat I will go a little thicker, but overall the first coat was fine.

One of the biggest challenges was figuring out how to roll it on without backing myself into a corner of wet primer, and to finish at the ladder so I can get off the boat.  After much contemplation I figured out my pattern and with the help of my Dad we were done in about 3.5 hours.  Before starting, however, I had to towel off the deck from the morning dew and then go back with solvent soaked rags to get rid of any leftover sanding dust and grime.

The first coat of primer was kind of underwhelming in terms of the transformation.  Mostly because the underlying non-skid is light blue and it will take at least another coat to really cover it up.  So I suspect the second coat will make the deck look pretty fresh.

The next step is to sand down the entire first coat of primer, re-fair any areas that need it, and move on to the next coat.  I will probably do 3 coats of primer before painting.

I have assembled a new gallery on my Facebook page showing many before and after pics of deck repairs, as well as the first coats of priming.  Check it out, or go here to see it on this site:

Painting the Deck - Photo Album

I also made a little video walking around the deck the day before it was primed:

Here are a few select photos: