Painting the Cabin

One of the first tasks I performed after buying the boat was painting the walls of the cabin, and it made a tremendous difference right off the bat.  The walls were peeling paint, especially around the portlights.  Here are some pictures - you'll see what I mean.

After emptying the cabin, I sanded everything with an orbital sander (5"), a sanding block and a folded up piece of sandpaper, all 120-grit.  I started on one side and worked my way around to the next side, reaching back almost to the transom.  What a job - it took four hours.  My arms were killing me and I was tired of banging my head on everything.  It was important to get off all the flaking paint - I just left the stubborn paint where it was and just sanded the heck out of it.  I was able to get back pretty far by laying on my back on the quarter berths and actually painting upside-down with my arms outstretched.  Not a comfortable position, but it worked.

In the meantime, the paint I decided on was Pettit Dura-White #3121 - it's now called "EZ Cabin-Coat".  It's mildew-resistant, and it's possible to have it tinted any color.  Taking advantage of that feature, I decided to have the interior color matching the exterior color - a light green.  It's just a nice color, and I wanted to try something other than white.  I bought two quarts - just the right amount, as I eventually found out - and had them both tinted at Benjamin Moore for a whopping $5.00.  That's all it cost, since they only charged me the cost of the tint.

After vacuuming the entire cabin, I set to work, painting with a small roller and a foam brush.  Boy, did that roller save my life.  It probably cut my time painting in half.  Again, it took about four hours, painting from stem to stern.  I was very happy with the result.  I ended up going back and putting on a second coat around the very visible areas, and that gave me a chance to touch up spots that I had missed the first time.  Due to the lighting in the boat, these two pictures look like they have different colors; the first picture gives the best representation of its true color.  (I didn't paint the v-berth or anything else except the walls, as they were going to be covered by cushions anyway.)

A few lessons learned:

• Use a good respirator - not just one of those dust masks.  This stuff stinks of ammonia when it's going on - much like Kilz.  After all, they're both very similar products.  My respirator didn't quite have a tight fit over my face because of my beard, and I felt a little funny for a short time after I got out of the boat.  Not good.  Once dry, though, the paint doesn't smell at all.  It's great stuff.

• Wear a paint suit that has a hood to cover your head.  I didn't have one that had a hood, and after squeezing myself into the quarter berths to paint all the way back to the transom, I ended up having to get a hair cut the following day.  No joke.

• Have plenty of paper towels handy to wipe up and spills and drips.

• It helps to have a fan going to get the fumes out of the boat.

• Bring a radio - you'll be in there for a while.

If you have any questions, just let me know!  It was certainly a task worth doing, and it should last for a very long time.  You'll be very happy, especially if you plan on cruising for a weekend.