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Author Topic:   Bottom Paint Removal
Peter posted 03-25-2001 05:07 PM ET (US)   Profile for Peter   Send Email to Peter  
My recently acquired 1986 Revenge 22 (a saltwater species)has multiple layers of bottom paint which I would like to remove to smooth out the bottom. Has anybody had any experience using a chemical bottom paint removal product (stripping chemical + peel-away sheets) such as that sold by West?
tightloops posted 03-25-2001 06:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for tightloops  Send Email to tightloops     
Since I am fairly new to this forum and made the same mistakes other new forum members have, I will do the honor of letting you know that you ought to pull up all the posts from the last year on the drop down menu and read through all of them...there are plenty of posts regarding bottom painting and stripping...good luck.--Dan
hardensheetmetal posted 03-25-2001 08:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for hardensheetmetal  Send Email to hardensheetmetal     
Last week when I mentioned that I stapped in a t West's in Stamford, one item on my list was some Peel-Away. Unfortunaly they were all out and only had one gallon of the West's version. When I questioned the saleman about its effectiveness, he all but came out and told me that the actual 'Peel-Away' brand worked better than the 'house' brand.


Peter posted 03-25-2001 09:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     

Thanks for the info. I think that you should be able to get the Peel-Away brand removal system at any hardware store. I assume that the Peel-Away brand is safe for gelcoat and that you were going to use it to take the bottom paint off the recently acquired 13?

Outraged posted 03-25-2001 09:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for Outraged  Send Email to Outraged     
Whatever you wind up using, may sure you read the directions carefully! Some products have a time limit they can be left on or the gelcoat will start to soften. I`ve used Peel away, Interlux,& Star 10 strippers on various boats where I work. They all work well,the thicker you can get it to go on the better & quicker it seems to work.
Peter posted 03-25-2001 09:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     

Thanks for the info. How many layers of paint do you think you've peeled away in one application? I think I'm looking at 8 to 10 layers on some parts of the hull. There is quite a build up. The former owner only recently switched to ablative type paint.

Outraged posted 03-27-2001 06:57 AM ET (US)     Profile for Outraged  Send Email to Outraged     
Peter,with that many layers, you`re probably looking at 2 applications.
jimh posted 03-27-2001 08:10 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I have not tried this myself, but it has been suggested that home-made paint remover could be brewed by adding lye to wallpaper paste.

Mix up a bucket of wallpaper paste and add lye to it to desired strength. Apply to the bottom paint. Let sit for undetermined time. Scrape off.

On a boat with really thick bottom paint it might be feasible to experiment with such a solution, at least for the initial layers. As you got closer to the gelcoat layer, perhaps a less caustic solution could be used.

I would be quite interested to hear of first-hand results with this or any other technique.


Peter posted 03-27-2001 08:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     

Thanks for the info on the homemade brew. Regardless of what technique and brew I ultimately use, I thought it might be useful to others to record the removal effort through digital images and a written description. Having had a previous bad experience with West's house brand for chemical products coupled with Dan's account of a salesman's representation, I am currently leaning towards use of the Peel-Away brand system for the chemical removal product.

whaleryo posted 05-16-2001 06:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for whaleryo  Send Email to whaleryo     

Any update on this project? I would like to remove the bottom paint from my 15' Sport. I applied Interlux Interstrip to a small area and it does take off the thick stuff, but it actually seems to restore the color of the paint it leaves behind. I then applied acetone which helps a little but mainly just smears the residual paint. My boat looks worse than before I started. I anxious to hear if you had any better success.


Peter posted 05-16-2001 08:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     

The project is still in progress, about 80 percent complete. I ultimately purchased the Peel-Away product. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to take the photos I was hoping to take to document the procedure. Nevertheless, the procedure is very well described in the directions for use of the product.

As mentioned in an earlier posting in this thread, the key to this product is to put it on thick and cover it with the paper quickly after application. For this I used a wall paper paste sponge. The problem with the sponge is that the paste tends to soften it too. The paste goes to work almost imediately causing the surface to soften and the color of the paint to come off on the applicator. It is important to limit the surface area for paste application because the paste dries rather rapidly due to its high volatile content (the active ingredient). Quick application of the wax-like paper to the just applied paste helps to keep the evaporation rate low. Also, it is important to clear any air bubbles trapped under the paper. Dragging a flexible tape knife over the paper helps to draw the air bubbles out. Then you must wait for a period of time to let the stuff work. I have waited between two hours and six hours and have found little difference in performance, probably do the the numerous layers I have. When it comes time to peel, it works best to leave the paper on everywhere except where you are currently peeling and peel and scrape with a broad flexible tape knife simultaneously. Clearly, layers of paint will come off during scraping. The peeling/scraping step makes a sloppy, gooey mess so the use of a drop cloth, such as a cheap, disposable polyethylene sheet, is very desirable. In my case, I estimate that I had at least 10 layers between the exposed surface and the gel coat so two applications of the paste and paper were required to get close to the gel coat. Once the surface is scraped and dried, it still requires sanding because the surface remains somewhat rough. Also, I have found that the paint treated with the paste remains softer than it is in its pre-treated state. It therefore tends to gum up the sand paper. I have sanded with an orbital and rotating disc sander and found that the disc sander is much more effective. 80 grit aluminum oxide sandpaper provides a fairly smooth finish. A great deal of patience and hard, dirty work is required for this project.

My goal has been to get down to the layer forming the bottom of the "craters" not to have a paintless bottom. It will be repainted with the ablative Micron CSC Plus with biocide so that I will never have to go through this procedure again. On my former 18 Outrage I used this paint for years without any buildup.

carlz posted 05-17-2001 08:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for carlz  Send Email to carlz     
How about a pressure washer? My grady white friend just used one for bottom paint with very good results. It was less than an hour.
whaleryo posted 05-17-2001 10:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for whaleryo  Send Email to whaleryo     
I tried a power washer (1400 psi) and the paint didn't budge.
Chap posted 05-17-2001 03:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chap  Send Email to Chap     
Several folks around here have been successful renting an air compressor/sandblaster setup and using crushed walnut hulls as a medium. Tape and shoot. Popular with the older Seacraft, Bertram and Blackfin owners/restorers.
David Jenkins posted 01-26-2004 10:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for David Jenkins  Send Email to David Jenkins     
I have been reading through old posts about removal of bottom paint. Several people have recommended taking the boat to a place that can blast the bottom with baking soda or crushed walnut shells. Has anyone had a problem with this method? Is there a danger that it can damage the gelcoat?

Regarding the PEEL AWAY, has anyone tried letting it sit, pulling off as much paint as possible with the paper and scraper, THEN pressure washing it with warm water and soap?

David Jenkins posted 01-26-2004 10:38 AM ET (US)     Profile for David Jenkins  Send Email to David Jenkins     
I have been reading through old posts about removal of bottom paint. Several people have recommended taking the boat to a place that can blast the bottom with baking soda or crushed walnut shells. Has anyone had a problem with this method? Is there a danger that it can damage the gelcoat?

Regarding the PEEL AWAY, has anyone tried letting it sit, pulling off as much paint as possible with the paper and scraper, THEN pressure washing it with warm water and soap?

JayR posted 01-27-2004 12:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for JayR  Send Email to JayR     
In regards to your Peel Away question...

That is what I plan on doing as soon as this cold weather breaks. You try it before I do, please post the results.

onlyawhaler posted 01-27-2004 04:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for onlyawhaler  Send Email to onlyawhaler     
I removed a single coat of bottom paint on my 18 Outrage. I used the Peel Away product and had good results.

Here are a few tips I learned doing this:

As mentioned previously, lay down a tarp to catch drips and later scraped remains of the peel away.

Work on a section at a time. Don't get overloaded. I divided the boat into 4ths

Apply the gel thickly and press the paper on eliminating as many air bubbles as possible. The paper acually works by preventing the gel from drying and helps in removing some of the bottom paint as you peel away.

I waited 8 hours. That seemed to be the best time between removing the bottom paint and it drying too much and creating too much scraping.

Slowly remove paper, a bit at a time. Use a plastic scraper and scrap the remainder (as much as possible) and let it fall onto the paper as you move along. This helps prevent the big mess on the floor/tarp if you are on your back doing this. Back roll the paper as you go and scrap and roll. Wear good rubber gloves that are chemical resistant. Wear glasses, if you are on your back you will get a bit in the face.

Be prepared to throw away the clothes you are using.

Here is what made it work well after that. I bought a dozen paper towels rolls -folded each square into fourths and dipped into paint thinner. I rubbed out what was left, taking a foot square area at a time. Reverse the wet paper towel often until you have used it up and start with a new wet one. I could within a double of towels, rub a spot clean and move on.

Wash and wax!

David Jenkins posted 01-27-2004 09:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Jenkins  Send Email to David Jenkins     
That's fantastic! I'd like to start this weekend! Will it work if the outside temperature is near freezing? Will it work better if I cover the boat with a big tarp and put a ceramic heater in front of the section I am working on?
onlyawhaler posted 01-27-2004 09:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for onlyawhaler  Send Email to onlyawhaler     
I can't remember what the instructions said about temperature. I did mind last summer in the 80s.


onlyawhaler posted 01-27-2004 09:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for onlyawhaler  Send Email to onlyawhaler     
Very important David

I forgot to mention this. As SOON as you are done scraping an area, ( I divided my boat into 4 parts) , immediately- not later- start rubbing out the remainder of the residue with paper towels soaked with mineral spirits (paint thinner). Whatever is left after the paper is peeled and scraped, dries quickly and is more difficult to rub off.

You can't scrape it all off, but you need the majority gone. The rest rubs off and has a tar like consistancy. Have a lot of paper towels ready.

Check again on doing it in this cold weather.


David Jenkins posted 01-28-2004 10:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for David Jenkins  Send Email to David Jenkins     
I have one of those $10, 2-gallon, pump-up containers that Home Depot sells to spray insecticide, etc. I'm thinking I could pour a gallon of mineral spirits in there, then my wife could keep a fine mist on the area while I scrape and wipe.

I'm thinking that an 80 degree temperature would be better than 30-40 degrees. So I'm leaning toward doing the work with the boat covered with plastic and a ceramic heater under it. I have not purchased the PEEL AWAY yet so I don't know if the fumes are toxic. If so, and if warm temperature is an important factor, I may have to wait a month or two....

TomNMiami posted 02-01-2004 11:45 AM ET (US)     Profile for TomNMiami  Send Email to TomNMiami     

How long did the whole job take? Did you do it on the trailer? If so, how did you get under the bunks?

Did you do any sanding or compounding? It sounds like you restored it to the original gel coat...any pics?


Crabby Mike posted 02-01-2004 12:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for Crabby Mike  Send Email to Crabby Mike     
Hi All,

I've bookmarked this site for when I have time to mess with removing my bottom paint. They claim it is Safe to use, apply, wait overnight and power-wash the paint off.

Looks too good to be true but who knows???

If anyone tries it I would love to know if it works.


onlyawhaler posted 02-01-2004 07:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for onlyawhaler  Send Email to onlyawhaler     
Hi Tom

I did restore it to the gelcoat and have kept it bottom paint free. I must add that some bottom paints are applied to a scuffed, prepared surface that in fact damages the gelcoat. My whaler was not scuffed, thanks goodness. It was just rolled or sprayed on.

I also only removed a single coat. Multiple coats may take more work. I divided the boat into quarter sections and between apply the gel, paper, scraping the goo off and rubbing rest off with wet paper towels and minerial spirits, I am guessing about 5 hours a section.

I did it on the trailer. I dropped the bunks on one side, secured the boat from gunnel cleats to the trailer with tie downs and got it all and reversed the process.

I also hand compounded the bottom and waxed it. Looks great


pimpinawhaler posted 02-01-2004 09:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for pimpinawhaler  Send Email to pimpinawhaler     
i have been working at a local marina "summer job" but i have tried many different ways of bottom paint removal i have found that this blaster is the best and easyest way for removal plus the paint really sticks nice go here to look at the tool
Buzzorouter posted 02-03-2004 11:52 AM ET (US)     Profile for Buzzorouter  Send Email to Buzzorouter     
Do you need a sand hopper or just stick the end into a bag of sand? Looks like the hot setup!
15whalerSSL posted 02-04-2004 06:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for 15whalerSSL  Send Email to 15whalerSSL     
This is pimpinawhaler but lost my name somehow but anyway what i do is have a 5 gallon bucket with the sand in it also have someone hold the tube to keep a good flow of sand coming hope it works out for you
TomNMiami posted 02-08-2004 11:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for TomNMiami  Send Email to TomNMiami     

How many gallons of Peel Away, and bags of paper did it take to strip your 18? I tried to buy some today, and was told by the West Marine people that hte manufacturer was discontinuing it. I bought all they had at two stores, totalling 3 gallons and 3 bags of that enough?


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