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Applying VC-17 Bottom Paint

Each spring certain tasks are necessary to commission your boat. Painting the bottom is a common one. This article covers the application of Interlux's VC 17 anti-fouling paint.

VC-17 is always available at special prices in our Ship’s Store.

VC-17 is one of the easiest anti-fouling paints to apply, and to maintain, but like any other anti-fouling system, there are some things that have to be done both at the initial application and as part of an annual maintenance program. 

There are three basic application situations that will be encountered. Let’s take them one at a time.

First is the new application  
This means applying VC-17 to a new boat or a boat that has recently had a different anti-fouling system on it that has been removed. Essentially a clean fiberglass hull. If it’s a new hull, it must be de-waxed completely to remove any residual mold release wax. This should be done with the Interlux YMA-601 followed by a wipe down with 202 Fiberglass solvent. We recommend using a two-rag system. One to put the solvent on the hull, another to wipe it clean. Change both rags frequently and remember not to dip the application rag back into the solvent container, thereby contaminating it.

When you’re done with the entire hull, take a hose or container of water and wet down portions of the hull. If the water beads up, there’s still wax on the hull and the process must be repeated. Failure to remove the wax can prevent the paint from adhering to the hull. Also please note, this must be done before sanding the hull so as not to imbed the wax in the gel coat during the sanding process. Thoroughly dry the hull.

When you are sure you’ve removed all the wax from the hull, the next step is to sand the entire surface to be painted with VC-17. This is a must. You must abrade the hull to provide a profile for the paint to stick to. Failure to do so can result in the paint detaching from the hull. The hull should be sanded with 320-grit sandpaper.

After sanding, rinse with fresh water and wipe the hull down with 202 Solvent. Wash again to remove sanding residue. Some boat manufacturers aren’t in favor of sanding hulls or limit sanding to 180 grit or smoother because they feel this may increase the likelihood of warranty problems. We know of no evidence to support this, but check the manufacturer’s warranty. In this case there has been some success reported using a coarse Scotch Brite Pad to scrub the hull. This can be done with the 202 Solvent Wash. You must be sure to leave a visible scratch in the gel coat.

After cleaning and abrading the surface, you’re ready to apply the paint. Pick a day that isn’t raining, and is above 50 degrees F. You’ll notice that under the hat on the VC-17 can there is a bag of copper. This must be mixed into the paint. Use a scissors or razor knife to cut a slit in the bag. DON’T try to pull it apart! Please be careful doing this as the copper is very fine and will fly around. (Use a sanding mask). Copper is what provides the anti-fouling. You’ll notice the can is short filled to allow you to add the copper and stir it in without spilling. This does NOT mean that the can should be filled with a solvent. Thin only if spraying or if

the VC 17 is drying too quickly. The paint is best applied with a roller or by spray. Boat yards have safety and environmental rules to be followed when spray painting. IF the yard you’re in allows spray applications. If you’re going to roll, any solvent resistant short nap roller cover will work. Foam rollers are not recommended.

The recommended system is to start from the bottom of the hull or keel, and roll upwards. Do not over roll or attempt to “smooth” the paint out. It’s self-leveling and will do that itself. Just make one pass up to the waterline tape then start over at the bottom. Keep the roller well filled with paint, but not to the point that it runs off onto the ground or your arm.

A word of caution, this paint dries very quickly. Do not pour the entire can into the tray. It will evaporate. Pour in just enough to fill the roller, and then add more to the tray when you need to refill the roller. Work your way around the boat working back to the place you started. During an initial application, ALWAYS apply two or three coats. The second coat can be applied after the first coat has dried, in about 10 minutes under most conditions (70 degrees). Remove the tape and the boat can be launched about 30 minutes after painting.

Second application type  
You already have VC-17 on the boat. Reapplication is one of the joys of this product. Assuming the boat was pressure washed and stored relatively clean, all that is required is to wipe the hull down with a damp rag to remove any dust or particles that may be on the hull. Inspect the bottom to insure there are no abrasions or flaking spots. If there are, these areas can and should be touched up lightly with 180 grit on a sanding pad. Just feather in the affected area, wipe to remove any dust and repaint. There is no need to sand the entire hull, in fact, it’s not recommended. If you do, there a danger of sanding through, which would require applying two coats again. Applying the paint is the same as above described procedure and once again, the boat can be launched in about 30 minutes. That’s all there is to it!

The third instance  
Applying VC-17 over a new epoxy barrier coat. In this case apply the barrier coat according to the instructions. Application of VC17 requires at least one extra coat of barrier coat as this with get sanded away later. After applying the last coat of barrier coat epoxy, allow to cure for at least 24 hours, or until hard, then sand with 320 / 400 grit paper. Wipe it down and you’re ready to apply VC17. The second and third coats of VC-17 can be applied when the first has dried, in about a 10 minutes at 70 degrees.


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