The bottom line: What it cost to epoxy Duet

June 21, 2014 at 3:50 pm

I have just about finished the bottom scraping/filling/sanding/painting now, bar underneath one pad (whoop!).

Duet Hurley 22 Epoxy
As a recap this is what has been completed below the waterline:

1) Professionally sandblasted to remove all old antifoul
2) Rub over with Hempel Degreaser
3) Filled any obvious blemishes with Plastic Padding Marine Epoxy Filler
4) Sand off filler (fair)
5) 1 coat of Hempel Gelprotect SFE 200
6) Fill again with the Plastic Padding (and fair again)
7) Another coat of Hempel Gelprotect SFE 200
8) Fill again with the Plastic Padding (and fair again)
9) A 3rd coat of Hempel Gelprotect SFE 200
10) Fill again with the Plastic Padding
11) At this point I had some hot weather and I’d left the epoxy paint on too long before overcoating so it had cured and I had to rub it all down lightly with some wet and dry (only needed a tickle though) before proceeding to:
12) A 4th and final coat of Hempel Gelprotect SFE 200!
13) Masked up again for the boot top and painted that and the antifouling together as they didn’t touch. I’ve left a masking tape width of epoxy paint visible between the antifoul and boot top. If it fouls badly this season I’ll paint it over next year (and it should be easy to keep scrubbed off anyway)
14) Final second coat of antifouling (and a third along the waterline and the leading edges of the keel and rudder)
15) I’ve got plenty of paint left over for the bottom of the keel and again for the leading edges when she’s lifted to go back in!

That’s alot of steps, eh? So, in a nutshell, I used just over a litre of paint per coat (so a 2.5 litre tin did 2 coats easily). I’ve lots of antifoul left, and had plenty of epoxy left for touch ups (eg halfway through I took out and refitted one of the skin fittings and then painted over the sikaflex again with epoxy – there’s no way that’s going to leak!). I’ve also got half a tin of boot top paint left, ready for next year.

Duet Hurley 22 Epoxy Paint

I’ve never used a 2 pack paint (like the Gelprotect) before and was a bit nervous about all the horror stories I’ve heard about it going off in the tin before you’ve had a chance to use it, but I found it really easy to use. The Hempel has a thin coloured part, and the other is thick white and smells of copydex glue, rather than the noxious smell of International’s Interprotect i’ve seen others use (and smells like it would make you high!). I mixed up enough for both sides at a time (half a tin of each part) and it was just about going tacky by the time I got to the end of the second side.

Gelprotect supposedly has a 5 day overcoat window at 20 degrees, though we have had a warmer spell and between the 2nd and 3rd coats I left it 5 days and it had gone off too much for the 3rd coat to adhere so I had to key it again with some wet and dry.  Didn’t take too long though…

There wasn’t much to fill, just lots of small ‘pinpricks’ which apparently aren’t osmisis but an anomaly with the gelcoat. These were most noticable in one patch on the waterline (as seen in this video here) but were also on the keel and around the outboard well hole. I just kept filling between each coat, and then filled them with paint on the last epoxy coat.

Duet Hurley 22 Epoxy Filling

Filling between coats

It was quite an expensive operation all told, though I did save a lot of money buying the paint at Beaulieu Boat Jumble. I think I saved about £120 on retail prices on the Gelprotect and Tiger Xtra I bought. All the tins were dented as it’s these that are sold off cheap and I was a little concerned about their age and whether they would go off OK. However, the Gelprotect is labelled Hempel (so couldn’t have been that old as they were only rebranded from Blakes fairly recently) and despite a nervous wait after the first coat went off fine! The tin of Blakes Tiger Xtra was very settled and took some stirring but it came together in the end. The proof will be how badly she fouls this season, though she does look very smart!

What I have also done to cut costs is shop around a lot for tools.  Tool Station has become my second home (and you get free tea/coffee ther too!) It is crazily cheaper than Wickes or B&Q.  For example a white disposable suit is £7.99 in Wickes, but only £1.80 at Tool Station.

So below is a breakdown of what I have spent on the exterior works (including the topsides and brightwork). I could have saved £300 straight off if I had scraped her myself instead of sandblasting (and I think it would have taken 3 days to scrape and sand), but I was having back issues and am quite glad not to have been covered in noxious antifoul dust. Also, I used the rollers, trays and brushes as disposable – there just isn’t anywhere at my yard to safely clean brushes other than the open drains in the yard and I think they go straight into Portland Harbour, which clearly you don’t want to pollute! Painting the bottom of a boat is very messy and it was easier just to do the job and then put everything, including your suit and gloves into a bin bag and put it straight in the bin.  Probably best not to dwell on the landfill aspect, but brush cleaners and thinners aren’t cheap either…

Duet Hurley 22 Epoxy Paint Costs

Would I do it again? Well, I’m not actually sure, to be honest… The antifouling badly needed to come off, as it was cracked and flaking and pretty much falling off by itself… and then I hurt my neck so couldn’t do the scraping easily (and I’m not the most patient person…) so I had her sandblasted, and that presented a really good opportunity to epoxy her, which creates a waterproof barrier and is supposed to prevent osmosis.  I don’t think I’ve added much value (other than looks) or safety for a whole heap of effort, but think these things add up to make her more saleable if ever (when) I decide to do that.  On the other hand, I do feel comfort having sealed up all those pinprick holes I found in her gelcoat. I’m pretty sure they would have let water through to the matting and had the potential to start osmosis. (Though, at the end of the day, no boat ever sank of osmosis…) I might also get an extra half a knot with a smooth bottom?  We shall see…

It is a lot of money though, when you consider the value of the boat and I can’t help thinking it would have been better spent on, say, the rigging… or even a sprayhood as originally budgeted.  On the other hand, it is less than the cost of a chartplotter…

What do you think?

Top Tips:

  • Buy lots of disposable gloves and when you get messy and it’s going down your arm and your hair’s going in your face just put another pair on over the top.  Instant clean hands.
  • I bought a pack of proper paint stirrers like this.  They were great! The antifoul opened to to reveal a lumpy stodge covered in thinners and it easily stirred back together.
  • It’s recommended that you buy 2 different colour epoxy paints and then alternate them so you can see where you’ve been.  I had no choice other than grey on offer at Beaulieu so got all grey.  My mixing wasn’t that exact (half a tin of each part, bosh) so they were ‘slightly’ different hues which worked.  Also, of you look closely the paint has a different finish wet and dry.
  • I didn’t bother buying expensive measuring kettles that you can only use once: I think there is a good range of variation built in, and it’s not difficult to measure out half a tin.
  • According to the tin (and the paint manufacturers) you’re supposed to do a coat of underwater primer between the epoxy and the antifoul.  The chandlers said not to bother though, which I didn’t, and it seems to have stuck properly without it.