How To: Preventing a chink in your armour: coating with epoxy
No matter what material your boat is built from, just a single chink in its armour is enough to reduce its lifespan. A weak coating can be a big financial mistake and affect your vessel’s longevity. Gary Thompson, WSI Technical Expert, explains why defending your boat with epoxy is the best form of attack.
Time and time again, we see boats with damage that could have been prevented. Maintenance costs are enough on their own, without adding any extensive repair work on top. Repair work that could have been avoided entirely can often end up costing far more than the initial maintenance work would have done and the boat is never quite back to its old self.
Water damage is often the cause of many of these problems. Alongside rot in wooden boats and osmosis in GRP, water damage can even threaten the boat’s structural integrity.
But these issues can be easily avoided.
Coating minimises the risk of water ingress and associated damage, both above and below the water line. For this application, manufacturers use products which are extremely strong and highly water resistant to deliver the most durable, moisture-resistant boats for their customers.
Unbeatable moisture resistance
Coating requires a product which delivers unbeatable water resistance. A lot of people will reach for traditional varnishes which, although popular, are only between 50-55% effective in resisting moisture ingress. In case you were wondering, polyester and vinyl-ester resins are next up, with a 65% effectiveness. But a specialist, marine grade pure epoxy, like WEST SYSTEM® epoxy, offers an unbeatable 97% moisture resistance.
So epoxy can protect components for much longer than other coating materials, which means you can spend less time in the boatyard and more time on the water. This also means that those opting for traditional varnishes are, at worst, leaving themselves open to rot, osmosis and extensive repair work and at best, choosing twice as much maintenance time than those using epoxy.
What’s more, this 97% effectiveness can actually be increased. By adding a specialist coating additive such as WEST SYSTEM 422 Barrier Coat Additive, the aligned aluminium and mineral flakes create one of the best moisture barriers available on the market today.
Armour clad for longer life
With moisture resistance comes durability. While your first thoughts might be that you won’t have to do any further coating maintenance for another season, what you should be congratulating yourself on is extending the lifetime of your boat.
By providing a stable base coat, epoxy can extend the life of final finish coatings. Once an effectively prepared epoxy coating is varnished or a final finish applied, the epoxy is then protected against UV thus furthering the life of the epoxy coatings. Together, epoxy barrier coats and finish coats provide a protective system that is far more durable than either coating by itself.
So you can add durability to the ‘epoxy coating benefits’ list too, alongside giving you a truly excellent, worry-free coating, improved durability, and excellent adhesion to a wide range of materials. Need I say more?
Follow in the leading manufacturer’s footsteps and pick the best armour for your boat.