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Richard D
Richard D

Posted: Sat Mar 06, 2010 5:51pm

Post Subject: Paintwork repairs and rust treatment.

Hi. I am looking for some advice on paintwork repairs and treating rust. I have recently bought a used narrowboat and although the cabin exterior paintwork is generally in fairly good condition there are a few rust spots and worn areas. Can you advise on how best to treat and re-paint these areas? Unfortunately, I donât know the make/shade of the original paint used so also need to try to find some matching paint. In addition, there are more serious rust problems inside some of the bow and stern lockers. What is the best way to treat these areas to prevent them getting any worse? Thanks in advance for your advice.

Tony-B
Tony-B

Posted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 11:19am

Post Subject: Paintwork repairs and rust treatment.

Dear Richard, I am not a paintwork expert and am replying because often paint questions on the forum only get answered by an expert in the magazine. I think we need to answer this question into two parts. First the lockers. The cosmetic appearance of these has little importance so may be the easiest to attack first. The rusting may be far less serious than it appears because rust takes up between 8 and 10 times the volume of the steel it replaces. You need to remove as much of the rust as possible. I would suggest a flat and a dished steel Knot Brush in a small angle grinder but it will be VITAL that you wear goggles and a dust mask. Very tough gloves will also not go amiss. Use ordinary wire brushes in an electric drill to get into the odd corners the knot brushes are too large for. Vacuum out the dust and then I think you need to key the surface so I always put a course sanding disk on the angle grinder and give the surface another going over. Re-vacuum it use a tack rag to remove the residual dust. There will be rust in the base of rust pockets all over the surfaces and as paint is porous this needs treating. I would suggest Vactan or Fertan. Apply as detailed by the product. They a coat of rust inhibiting primer followed by a bilge & locker paint system. I happen to use Blakes because I like the colours it's available in (Its now called Hemple). The cosmetic appearance of the cabin sides is important and I doubt you will get satisfaction by by touching in locally. Not least because the paint will have faded and even if you can find the make and colour it will not match the existing paint. If the paint scheme is in panels you might get away with just repainting a whole panel rather than the whole cabin side. I think a professional would want to repaint the whole cabin taking the windows out and stripping the paint back to bare steel to start again. However If you decide to try local touching in I would suggest you proceed in the following manner. This time its a lot of manual work rather than machines. using a course abrasive "paper" like emery paper rub the rusty areas away (you will still have pits in the steel)and the use progressively finer paper (possibly wet and dry paper) to feather the edges of the bare patch so you can see each layer of paint as distinct rings perhaps 3/16" wide. Fell with the tips of your fingers to ensure you can not feel a paint edge and that the whole surface is smooth (apart from the rust pits). At this stage assess the depth of the pits. If they are only superficial use an angle grinder to totally remove them but I expect they will be too deep. In this case get some rust killing fluid. The type that eats the rust away - not the type that converts it or covers it up - and work at the pits with it. I find a small stone or burr in a Dremmel type machine helps here. When you are sure all the rust has gone neutralise the area as detailed in the instructions that came with the fluid and dry. Coat the whole area in anti-rust high build primer if you can get it. When dry coat the area with undercoat and allow to dry. Now start to use a medium wet and dry paper (probably wet) to cut the undercoat back to expose any pits. If they are superficial you can cut the high build primer back as well. Repeat until all the pits are filled and you have a smooth area. If you have deep pits you can fill them with car body filler and then cut the body filler back to a smooth surface but do NOT cut back wet because body filler may be porous. Once you have a smooth surface apply a paint system of primer, undercoats (two or three) and topcoats again two or three)cutting back with fine paper so you do not leave a raised edge between coats. After the final topcoat lightly cut back with (say) 1000 grade wet and dry followed by a good hard rub with cutting compound over the whole area so the repair blends into the surrounding paintwork. Good luck - Tony Brooks

Richard D
Richard D

Posted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 6:29pm

Post Subject: Paintwork repairs and rust treatment.

Thanks very much Tony. I will give this a try. Richard

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