"The second lady in my life (Aragorn) has been actively cruised and raced all her life. The wear, tear and aging had caused lots of stress cracks in her deck. Years ago, her hull had been painted in "Imron" and that job has stood up remarkably well. So well, in fact, that the imperfections in her deck began to stand out even more.
"For a boat her age, professional help was just too costly. After scouring the Internet and questioning fellow club members, I rejected re-doing gelcoat and instead, chose a one-part epoxy paint, Pettit "Easypoxy". I was told that two-part epoxies are more durable but more sensitive to temperature and humidity during application, hence trickier. For the non-skid areas, I chose a product from New Zealand called "Kiwigrip".
"With a Dremel tool, I began by grinding (v-ing out) the stress cracks to make room for a good bond between the deck and a filler of WEST epoxy and their filler. I found that it was best to over-fill the cracks a bit and then sand the cured filler level with the surface; if I fllled the cracks just level with the surround, I had to refill a bit after curing. I found, too, that it pays to be super-critical of your filling and levelling before painting. I used Pettit's semi-gloss paint, but even then, the reflections will show off poor filling and sanding.
"The materials are quite flexible. Pettit have an additive that will progressively reduce the gloss of the finish toward "flat". Beyond the standard range of colour, Easypoxy can be tinted using standard solvent-based colourants. My white Easypoxy was a starker white than the Kiwigrip, but a local paint dealer "eye-balled" a slightly creamier tone which came very close. An exact match wasn't absolutely necessary because the two surfaces are very different in texture.
"The " Kiwigrip" can also be tinted but being a water-based paint, it requires water-based colourants.
"The drying/curing time for both paints depends very much on the temperature and humidity so I found it much easier to choose the timing of my painting sessions based on the weather - always trying to choose times when these variables were closer to the middle of the recommended ranges for easier paint handling and greater consistency of application without having to adjust the painting techniques between painting sessions. (I had sectioned off areas of the deck that I could easily handle in two to three hours.)
"Both Pettit and Kiwigrip have excellent websites with lots of instruction and good how-to videos. The epoxy uses the "roll and tip" technique and Pettit recommend using a roller with no more than a 3/16" nap, followed by tipping with a foam brush or a special tipping brush with very fine bristles. I found, however, that by using a foam roller and very slightly thinning their paint with their brushing solvent, I could get a gelcoat-like surface with very little need to tip imperfections. I learned to depend on self-levelling during the paint's cure. Going back to try a repair will often create a bigger flaw than you had to begin with.
"Two people working together make the job much easier. My wife rolled while I tipped and did touch-up in tight areas. Two coats or more are needed, 24 hours or more apart, since the objective is to apply thin coats which can cure adequately between coats through solvent evaporation and air oxidation.
"Costs for the refurbished deck:
2 liters of Easypoxy @ $54.00 (used 1.5 liters) $108.00
Easypoxy solvent $29.00
1 gallon of Kiwigrip, $173.00
Misc. rollers, tape, foam brushes, etc., approx. $50.00
New short teak rails (2 @ $15.00) $30.00
Cost of WEST epoxy and hardener used, approx. $40.00
Elbow grease - priceless!"
- Clare Jordan Aragorn 1979 Mk. III