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How to paint a wooden boat

Undoubtedly painting is one of the main stages when restoring a wooden boat. In fact, if painting is done with care, your boat will look extra glossy and the result, a rewarding aesthetic impact.

The following article offers an overview on the art of painting. We always recommend relying on skilled craftsmen, who know exactly where and how to work on your vintage boat, but it may be helpful to have a general idea on how this miracle happens.


Checking the wood

Never start painting your boat without having checked the wood properly. This means:

  • Check for cracks and rot caused by moisture (you ca n recognise this by the darker colour of wood), or the presence of small shellfish or molluscs that may attack and pierce wood making it weaker;
  • Check for cracks and flaking of the wood. Before painting, eliminate the reason that caused that and restore the damaged area.

Wood preparation

Once you have checked that the wood is in perfect condition and, if need be, any damage has been fixed, before you start painting, treat and duly prepare the wood.

Preparation includes:

  • Clean the hull: with pressurised water and a scrapper, clean off sand, seaweed, molluscs and any presence of salt until the last speck. Poor cleaning compromises even the best painting.
  • Fix imperfections: fill any crack or erosion; avoid having holes or imperfections in the final painting. Use epoxy resin to fix imperfections.
  • Remove old paint: With sandpaper (we recommend coarse grits between 80 and 100), delete all previous coats of paint and completely clean the surface. In this way, the wood will be better prepared to accept a new coat uniformly, and the new layer will adhere better thanks to the grip surface.
    Pay attention to always sand with the wood grain. If you sand transversally, you will leave marks on the wood that will be evident even after painting.

Painting the hull

Now we come to the actual painting. Our wood is now fully treated and ready to be painted. But be sure that all the repairs done are completely dry; use a damp cloth to wipe off dust that may have deposited.
Remember that the wood of your boat will have to withstand both the sun and water, both fresh and salty. If you do not use sophisticated paints, you run the risk of getting a little resistant and poorly performing paint, which in turn will cause flaking, darkening and discoloration.
In fact, we use only high-quality coating materials such as Standox products.

  • Apply 1 or 2 coats of primer: Primer is important as it ensures the bond between the paint and the surface of the boat, preventing cracks and bubbles and allowing a uniform spreading. So be sure to apply a primer that is compatible with the paint selected.
    Once the first coat has dried, lightly sand the hull (with 300 sandpaper) and apply a second coat;
  • Painting with roller and brush: Use a roller for most of the work and use a brush for the finishing touches. Once the first coat is dried, sand the surface again with a fine sandpaper so as to close any pores and make the next layer more uniform.
    Then, spread a second coat of paint and when it is dried, check if a third coat is necessary.

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