The boat floor, or deck, takes a great deal of beating. Not only is it open to the weather, but you constantly walk on it. As it’s made of fibreglass, sun and water can have a detrimental effect on the boat floor. Knowing the best type of paint to use on the boat floor will make the job a great deal easier and offer much better protection for the boat.
Why Paint A Boat Floor?
Both sun and water will damage a fibreglass boat floor. The epoxy used to secure it in place will be weakened by the sunlight and can crumble, which can end up being extremely costly to repair.
If there’s polyester, then water can infiltrate it. This can eventually cause bubbling and blistering. When this happens, it won’t take long for the composite to delaminate. Paint gives a barrier against both the water and the ultraviolet light in sunlight. More than that, it improves the appearance of the boat floor and the boat in general.
Types of Paint
There are two types of paint you can use on the boat floor. Both are plastic based, or polymers. With one, exposure to the air is the drying agent. The other uses heat as well as air in the drying process. Both will adhere to the materials used in boat floors.
Resin-based paints can be used, but generally, epoxy-based paints can do a better job, as they’ll bond better to the fibreglass. If the boat is going to be subject to extremes of temperature, then an epoxy-based paint is definitely the way to go, as it will more readily withstand this.
Paint is made up of a liquid, along with the pigment (that is, the color) and the binder. Unlike an epoxy-based paint, which will dry in air, using a powder coat paint needs high temperatures, in the range of 300 degrees Fahrenheit or more, to adhere, and that will melt the fibreglass boat floor.
Volatile Organic Compounds
Two part epoxy paints and one part polyurethane paints both use volatile organic compounds. These are liquids which are set to evaporate at a quick set rate. This gives the paint a chance to level itself but then evaporate rapidly to leave a good, durable coating.
In other words, the volatile organic compounds work with the pigment and the binder as the vehicle or liquid. When applying paint with a volatile organic compound, you need to be sure to use proper breathing equipment, not just a dust mask, as this won’t prevent it from entering your lungs.
Preparing the Boat Floor
It’s important to have the correct preparation of the boat floor before applying the epoxy-based paint. There should be low relative humidity, and the temperature needs to be over 65 degrees Fahrenheit and below 90 degrees.
The surface needs to be thoroughly cleaned and sanded first, especially if the new paint is being applied over a previous coat of paint. Use a fine wet sandpaper to do the best job.