Mirror Finish Paintwork

When we receive a boat we are extremely cautious with what may or may not have been done to the steel or paintwork by any previous painter, this can cause serious problems at any stage over the next few weeks, months or years this is due to a number of hidden factors here are just a couple to name a few;

  • Poor quality paint
  • Lack of paint applied over the years enabling the mill scale to draw closer to the surface
  • Damp trapped between the layers of paint sometimes caused by just a single damp evening if rushed – If this is not dealt with this in the correct manor it can cause micro blistering
  • When there are high levels of dew in the atmosphere we monitor this with a dew reader on a regular basis to ensure, we do not allow the damp to get trapped in any process of the boat
    • Unsatisfactory cleaning or sanding between coats causing paint to flake or peel of with tapes
  • Using water absorbent paints unknowingly which are hard to identify, causing micro blisting to the surface of the paintwork
  • Mill scale and damp trapped between the layers of paint are the main contributors to deteriorating of the steel and paint work

So I explain to my customers that all boats should be shot-blasted at some point in their life, to remove all issues and mill scale from the surface of the steel hidden by the layers of paint.

Hot rolled structural steel-work leaves the last rolling pass at a temperature of 1000°C, as it cools, the surface reacts with oxygen in the atmosphere to produce mill scale. This is a complex oxide which appears as a blue-grey tenacious scale completely covering the surface. Mill scale is unstable and with time water in the atmosphere penetrates fissures in the scale and rusting of the steel occurs. The corrosion process progressively detaches the mill scale and produces a variable surface that is generally unsuitable for over coating.

  • When we get the boat shot blasted we immediately applied 3 thick coats of HMG twin pack primer also known as 2-pack, it dries by chemical reaction after adding a hardener producing an ultra tough durable protective layer to protect the steel.
  • Twin pack paints are the most durable and provide the best protection for the steel, they don’t hold damp and dry really solid eliminating the cause of micro blisting described best as tinny little bubbles that draw to the paint surface when the finished paintwork is eventually exposed to the elements. The twin pack is applied straight to the clean steel shell.
  • We use 2 paint schemes HMG or epifanes both requiring 3 coats of 2 pack primer, yielding a dry film thickness (DFT) of minimum 80 microns applied with a short piled roller, which generously applies extra think layers of paint and a smooth finish to minimise the need for sanding.
  • 2 undercoats
  • 3 coats of brushing enamel, this allows for extra drying time enabling to achieve a mirror like finish and a flexible body so scratches are easier to deal with.
  • A medium non slip additive mixed with the enamel for the roof which is a lot easier to keep clean and a course grit for the walk ways and decks. Gunnels are usually painted in a black satin, which is designed to be very easy for the customer to touch up and repaint with a small roller with ease (due to there full contact nature). Glossed gunnels are also an option but is an added extra if necessary.
  • A 2 pack epoxy topcoat is also an option for your narrowboat at no extra cost.

Here are some images off my old phone camera of the blue narrow boat I painted the day before. In the pictures you can see the reflection of myself and the other boat behind me which I painted the month prior to the blue boat, you can also see the inside of the boat through the port hole where the window will then be fitted.

Lots of time, knowledge and dedication is required to achieve a long lasting quality paint job.

Oh and to add approximately 200 hours of labour!