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Hullside paint costs & necessity?


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I'm looking at an older 50' boat in California, owner mentioned it could use bottom paint and possibly fresh hull paint as well.  

I'm familiar with the former but not so much the latter so I got a quick quote from a local boatyard.  

Bottom paint: $2,850.  Ok.  

Hull paint: $26,000.  Good lord.  

I admit to almost total ignorance here - I've done some googling but can't figure out why it would be so expensive, or whether it's truly necessary or just cosmetic.  Any guidance would be appreciated!

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13 minutes ago, Will1073 said:

Cosmetic, purely cosmetic. That’s a steep price but not crazy. 
 

go sailing, worry less about docking too ;)

Perfect.  Rather spend that pile of cash on a nice new set of sails and enjoy the lower-stress docking (especially on a new-to-me boat).

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Curious price differential - $2800 for bottom paint on a 50'sounds very cheap - it would take almost a grand just for the paint - but the topside price sounds about 50% high.

Did they see the boat or just quote a generic "price per foot"?

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1 hour ago, SloopJonB said:

Curious price differential - $2800 for bottom paint on a 50'sounds very cheap - it would take almost a grand just for the paint - but the topside price sounds about 50% high.

Did they see the boat or just quote a generic "price per foot"?

They didn't see it (yard is shut down) just gave me a quote.  I agree - I seem to remember paying more than that for my 40'er bottom paint five years back.

$26k for hullside (not topside) seems insane.    

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Bottom paint costs are very competitive - and there' is no skill involved esp when a yard does it. Topside paint job means a LOT of man hours sanding, prepping, taping, spraying (3 coats: primer & color twice). 

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5 hours ago, socalrider said:

hullside (not topside)

What are hullsides? I thought there was bottom (below waterline), topsides (waterline to deck), and deck and deck house.

$26,000 for prepping & Awlgrip of topsides on a 50-footer sounds reasonable to me.

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8 hours ago, socalrider said:

I'm looking at an older 50' boat in California, owner mentioned it could use bottom paint and possibly fresh hull paint as well.  

I'm familiar with the former but not so much the latter so I got a quick quote from a local boatyard.  

Bottom paint: $2,850.  Ok.  

Hull paint: $26,000.  Good lord.  

I admit to almost total ignorance here - I've done some googling but can't figure out why it would be so expensive, or whether it's truly necessary or just cosmetic.  Any guidance would be appreciated!

Sounds reasonable. I recently painted a 50'. First class job. Considerable scratches and gouges from extensive sailing.

 

5 hours ago, longy said:

Bottom paint costs are very competitive - and there' is no skill involved esp when a yard does it. 

My experience is the opposite. A good yard can put on the same paint and it will last twice as long as the common 'no skill' yard. I'm especially pleased with the current Micron 66 bottom job that was applied exactly as the can specified. Most importantly climate adjusted cure time before splashing. Vs. Quick roll and splash.

Your bottom quote seems low...but if the boat is already in the shed for painting...

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17 minutes ago, SloopJonB said:

And you thought correctly.

socal probably has a salon in his boat too. ;)

Well I did confess ignorance at the start of the thread.  

Now I get to be mocked mercilessly by a bunch of quarantined pedants until the end of time... 

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10 minutes ago, thorpecameron said:

A much cheaper option for topsides is a vinyl wrap... typically 1/4 to 1/3 the cost

Vinyl won't last anywhere near as long as a proper LPU paint job.. or even as long as some cheaper single part paints. And with less repairability than the single part paints. 

The other interesting thing about vinyl is the surface vinyl goes onto its supposed to be in pretty good shape. As has been mentioned, most of the cost of a paint job is the prep work. If there is currently a bad surface on the boat, it is going to need a bunch of work put into it before laying vinyl down. So if one is going to have to do prep work either way..would you rather then slap a sticker on the boat for 2-3 season and be terrified every time the boat approaches a dock, or a buoy, or would it make sense to have done it properly with a hard paint?

There isn't a way around the costs, unless you own the boatyard/shop doing the work. The prep work costs can be significantly reduced if one has the ability to do that on ones own before taking it to a shop. Trying to find a cheap way to achieve the goal of refinishing the topsides sounds like a good way to waste money. Better to save the money and when its comfortable for the wallet, to do it properly once. 

I've ended up too often working on customer boats that inevitably a previous owner (sometimes current owner) thought they could save some money by doing this "Magic money saving trick" and they ended up creating a shitshow that ends up costing a lot more than if the job was done properly the first time. 

 

 

 

 

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34 minutes ago, Captain Jack Sparrow said:

I've ended up too often working on customer boats that inevitably a previous owner (sometimes current owner) thought they could save some money by doing this "Magic money saving trick" and they ended up creating a shitshow that ends up costing a lot more than if the job was done properly the first time. 

This 1000%

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If you are indeed in Socal get a quote in MX, better painting conditions more options on paint etc.  Very skilled yards.  Pick a port with atravellift and they will have venders who paint.  Prices range from what you got already to way low.  Right answer is somewhere in the middle.

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Thanks - we are in San Diego; haven't bought the boat yet so trying to add up the budget for different options.  I'd been contemplating one boat that needs a lot of work & using MX for the job, but that's not really feasible right now.  Certainly would make sense for a discretionary cosmetic item like topside paint if it's significantly lower and could be done without too much inconvenience.  

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Ditto on Mexico - we just had the topsides repainted on our 72' at Baja Naval - cost for the topsides paint job was under 30K, and at least one of the yards we talked to in San Diego was talking about charging us something like 20K just for scaffolding to do the paint.  The paint job turned out great, better than some we've seen done in San Diego as well.

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8 minutes ago, hdra said:

Ditto on Mexico - we just had the topsides repainted on our 72' at Baja Naval - cost for the topsides paint job was under 30K, and at least one of the yards we talked to in San Diego was talking about charging us something like 20K just for scaffolding to do the paint.  The paint job turned out great, better than some we've seen done in San Diego as well.

Baja Naval/Shelter Island it's some of same folks or at least their people....of course Baja Naval will cheaper but you still have to get there and get back and get back again..so the MX option might not be super practical at this time for sure..even from SD...but nothing wrong with slapping some bottom paint on it for now and doing the topsides later... however $26K probably not totally out of bed locally considering all hand work required for prep etc. on a 50 footer....and at this point we're all just trying to make a living

Make them an offer to take off all the hardware yourself and see what you get.

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Since we're on this topic, and I have an SC 27 that is going to need new topside paint next year (we'd do it this year but there are already too many things on the job list )  what is the current consensus on the next best thing to an proper LPU job?   Roll and tip with a decent product?  Airless sprayer with a decent product?  

Boat currently looks like it was painted with a roller and just left like that.  Not afraid of the prep work, and used to that kind of thing.

It is a racing boat, so if it looks good at 10' and lasts 10 years it is good enough.

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If you are going to paint it you definitely should use a 2-pack, such as International's Perfection. Not too hard to apply and will look much better and last a lot longer than enamels. Rolling only with a good foam roller will give good results if the surface is good..........

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10 hours ago, Rain Man said:

Since we're on this topic, and I have an SC 27 that is going to need new topside paint next year (we'd do it this year but there are already too many things on the job list )  what is the current consensus on the next best thing to an proper LPU job?   Roll and tip with a decent product?  Airless sprayer with a decent product?  

Boat currently looks like it was painted with a roller and just left like that.  Not afraid of the prep work, and used to that kind of thing.

It is a racing boat, so if it looks good at 10' and lasts 10 years it is good enough.

All boats should look good from 10', not 1'.

It's a waste of time to go for the 1' look - the marine environment is too hard on boats - they don't live in heated garages like cars.

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On 4/9/2020 at 3:55 PM, socalrider said:

$26k for hullside (not topside) seems insane.    

Totally depends on the amount of prep work and good paint aint' cheap. 

Figure labor at a boat yard you would be willing to use in SoCal is $100/hr for sanding. The guy with the paint gun will do the masking and spray for  last 2 hrs of the job, and he's worth 2-3X that and billed at $150/hr (and the charge for the paint booth? ) 

For an older boat 50 ' figure 2 sides at 5' freeboard average = 500 ft^2 per coat

If it's got decent paint then they only have to sand with 60 grit, fill any gouges, sand with 80-120 grit and start with priming one or two coats, sanding to find the low spots, then fair with Awlfair to get it flat and then spot prime, rinse and repeat. If you have crazing, chipping etc, its a whole different problem. 

Now if you have a clean fair surface, Let say you use AWLGRIP, that's 2-4 coats of 545 primer (and it's not cheap) to cover 2000 ft^2 at 500 ft^2/gallon and $125/gallon = $500 paint for primer after the rough prep work. Not including masking, sanding discs, and PPE for the crew.

Call it 40 hrs of labor so far as a SWAG $4k labor, $1k paint & fairing compounds and $500 misc supplies  $5500 to prep minimum. A lot more if there's grinding, blisters etc 

Once you have a surface primed and sanded at 400 grit, then 2 color coats min, sanding between at 800 grit 

call that 1000 ft^2 at 500ft/ga/ and $300/gal for paint, converter and reducer = $600 paint. scaffolding and remasking 8 hrs = $1200 Paint 4 hrs @$150 = $600 Tape, drapes & sanding, supplies $500

total for color coat: $3000. 

And you want at Boot stripe? masking, and shooting color coats probably another 8 hrs and a few hundred in drape and tape, with a quart of paint $$1500

Any US job less than $10k without hauling costs would be very suspicious, 3X that is high, but credible if its in bad shape, and they are going to do the work to grinding off and fill the hullsides right. 

FWIW: 

After doing my hullsides back 16 yrs ago, I'm redoing my 40' deck, cockpit and cabin personally, and incrementally (aka slowly as time and energy permit) in the slip. 

Hinckley quoted me $30k to "Make it right" 15 years ago, and that was at $60/hr labor.

I had a quote to do in Baddeck Cape Breton Is, NS for an over the winter job at about half of that, because it would let them keep someone working through the winter.  Figure my hullsides are about 320 ft^2 

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11 hours ago, SloopJonB said:

All boats should look good from 10', not 1'.

It's a waste of time to go for the 1' look - the marine environment is too hard on boats - they don't live in heated garages like cars.

I like this philosophy, other than for the guys who really and truly love the endless finish work.  

I always find that there's a bottomless list of projects that are actually material to the functioning of the vessel, which makes it hard to even get to the cosmetic stuff.  

Very weird to be quarantined with so much time (relatively) and no boat to tinker with (just sold, looking for the next one).  Even thinking of spiffing up our Trinka 10 dinghy just for a project.  

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On 4/14/2020 at 9:52 AM, SloopJonB said:

All boats should look good from 10', not 1'.

It's a waste of time to go for the 1' look - the marine environment is too hard on boats - they don't live in heated garages like cars.

A slight variation for painting masts - the bottom 10' should look good from close up, the rest of the mast just needs good protection.

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On 4/13/2020 at 11:42 PM, Rain Man said:

Since we're on this topic, and I have an SC 27 that is going to need new topside paint next year (we'd do it this year but there are already too many things on the job list )  what is the current consensus on the next best thing to an proper LPU job?   Roll and tip with a decent product?  Airless sprayer with a decent product?  

Boat currently looks like it was painted with a roller and just left like that.  Not afraid of the prep work, and used to that kind of thing.

It is a racing boat, so if it looks good at 10' and lasts 10 years it is good enough.

My limited observation is that good paint manufactures make great paints that lay down great and, if there is a problem, it is failing to properly thin the paint for the local conditions.  Here is an interesting video for rolling and tipping Alexseal.  Also, I found a online site that was selling Alexseal for half to two-thirds of normal retail - explosivepowersports.com

 

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1 hour ago, Team Subterfuge said:

A slight variation for painting masts - the bottom 10' should look good from close up, the rest of the mast just needs good protection.

So start painting from the top.

By the time you get to the bottom your technique should be developed. :D

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1 hour ago, Team Subterfuge said:

My limited observation is that good paint manufactures make great paints that lay down great and, if there is a problem, it is failing to properly thin the paint for the local conditions.  Here is an interesting video for rolling and tipping Alexseal.  Also, I found a online site that was selling Alexseal for half to two-thirds of normal retail - explosivepowersports.com

 

Cool!  Thanks!  That looks like a great way to go.  There are even two distributors within an hour or so's drive.  

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Has the boat been previously painted or are we just talking about an old chalky original gel-coated finish???

If gel-coated, there are more options than just a new paint job or vinyl wrap...

Keep in mind many yards want to sell you a new topside paint job when all in fact you may require is a good gel-coat rehab from a skilled polisher.

If the boat is of decent quality, chances are it has a good thick gelcoat that can be rehabilitated via wet sanding, compounding, polishing, or variation thereof.

It's an absolute shit ton of labor, but it's pretty remarkable what some talented hands can do to an older hull finish. Mirror finish in many cases when done right.

Even more remarkable is all of the money that can be saved since it's a fraction of a new paint job. Gel-coat is always tougher too.

PM me for some contacts in SoCal. I just went through this with my boat.

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  • 8 months later...

Andy at the Youtube channel Boatworks Today has been working on a 15' sailboat prepping and painting with Alexseal via rolling with their new secret chemical that pops the bubbles like a heat gun.

Looks pretty damn good.  Hope for those of us with lots of time on our hands.

 

Had a guy show up with a 45 foot catamaran this fall and painted with alexseal in 5 days (including bottom paint) with his wife.  Looks really good at 5 feet. Needs a couple sags sanded out to make it perfect.  Amazing paint due to the rolling additive.

 

I am currently getting ready to repaint my boat, but will do all the prep work and then decide to roll or have the yard shoot it with Alexseal (awaiting Andy to do an episode on sand/polishing the Alexseal).

Question for the experts.  Currently I have a 30 year old flag blue  Awlgrip paint job.  Just worn out with scuffs and light scratches.  Prior to fairing do I need to remove the Awlgrip base color, or the base and the primer below it?   It will get Alexseal primer and paint once all my prep work is done. 

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On 4/14/2020 at 6:45 PM, LionessRacing said:

[  .  .  .  ]

And you want at Boot stripe? masking, and shooting color coats probably another 8 hrs and a few hundred in drape and tape, with a quart of paint $$1500

[  .  .  .  ]

True 'dat.  Nine years ago  I had a boot stripe redone on a 36' boat for $800USD.  Gotta admit it was a stunningly well done job.  Width varied from 4" at the near vertical bow to over a foot underneath the near horizontal transom   Somehow they used a transit to establish the  upper height above the waterline and painted down to the waterline (bottom paint line).

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5 hours ago, Zonker said:

Really, a transit? I would have thought a guy with a good eye and good masking tape. How does a transit help you with a curved line?

I think they mean a transit with a laser or a theodolite.   You adjust for the angle on the hard. Then verify the water line.  go up 3 inches or whatever you want. The red line is at 3 inches vertical to original line even if the stripe at the stern is 12 inches wide due to curve.   I think it was jamestown distributors who had a video on it.  Was funny as the guy looked like some old Down East boat builder and he whips out the electronics...

 

You can also use a cell phone with an electronic bubble app to do the same. Just more work to set al the points along the hull.

 

 

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Dave Gerr gives a good technique and formula for the bootstripe:

https://www.gerrmarine.com/Articles/ProperBootstripes.pdf

Level the boat, set up timber wedges at bow and stern as wide as max. beam, run a string line from max. beam along the wedges as you move it in towards the bow (or stern), marking the hull as you go. Tape and paint. Works fine.

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I just do it by eye sighting along the hull as I put the tape on. Helps to know that it has to rise up at bow and stern, and less at the stern. And to be a NA - you get used to putting your eye down flat against a drawing and you see if the line is fair.  Do the same at the bow, walking from the stem out a foot or two and looking down the hull - till your eye sits on the widest part of the boat.

What I find trickiest is the really wide part at the overhanging stern. It takes me several tries until it looks right. To get this right I stand back from the hull about 6 or 8 feet and look at the curve, not along the hull like the bow.

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7 hours ago, Zonker said:

What I find trickiest is the really wide part at the overhanging stern.

I'd put the bow of any cathedral hull up against that. It's always a good test of the new bottom painter around here- 'hey, go fair up the waterline on that Whaler.' :lol: 

And my all-time pet peeve is following the bow spray rail/strake up from level... drives me nuts every time..

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Pardon the interruption, but while we are on the subject...

Would anyone have any ballpark figure of what it would cost to paint the deck of a 25ft boat?

I'm wondering if it's as exorbitant as painting the hull, in which case all of my hopes and dreams might be crushed... I.e. I'll be rolling and tipping myself. Again. Sigh. 

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Decks are ALWAYS more work. Tons of taping or removing deck hardware. Lots of nooks and shapes. Cockpits suck.

Expect a higher price than a commercially painted hull

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2 hours ago, Zonker said:

Decks are ALWAYS more work. Tons of taping or removing deck hardware. Lots of nooks and shapes. Cockpits suck.

Expect a higher price than a commercially painted hull

Nice, Zonks, crush the poor guys dreams :P

The reality is its almost as much work to do all the prep work on a 25 footer as it is on a 35 footer.  So in your case, it will likely cost more, proportionally,  to get the deck painted, than the difference in price to have the hull of a 25 footer painted in relation to a 35 footer.

That said, decks (imho) make a better DIY project, and are more tolerant of mistakes, than than hulls are.  You can also do decks in stages, where as you can't really only paint one side of the hull, then wait a couple months.

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We charge $2250 plus materials for a bottom job on  a 30 foot boat. 
and

That  has been our price since 1995 so I am about to kick it up to match the inflation
 

Of course our bottom jobs include taking the mast down, inspecting everything. and putting it back up  if the rig or lights actually need much more than light bulbs, the cost goes up accordingly. 
 

Topsides  jobs are absolutely dependent on what the job includes. 

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24 minutes ago, Gouvernail said:

That  has been our price since 1995

This inflation calculator says 1.70X. Time for a big price jump. $3825. Round it off to $3800 and see how many customers you still have. I bet lots. 

https://www.usinflationcalculator.com/

By the way if you are serious, that's nuts that you haven't raised your prices.

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On 1/17/2021 at 9:06 PM, Gouvernail said:

We charge $2250 plus materials for a bottom job on  a 30 foot boat. 
and

That  has been our price since 1995 so I am about to kick it up to match the inflation
 

Of course our bottom jobs include taking the mast down, inspecting everything. and putting it back up  if the rig or lights actually need much more than light bulbs, the cost goes up accordingly. 
 

Topsides  jobs are absolutely dependent on what the job includes. 

If you ever decide to move, please come to the PNW.  Here they charge $2000 just to remove your mast, and another $2000 to install it again.  I am only slightly exaggerating.

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