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Dull paintwork

We have a 4 year old narrow boat painted Oxford green with red side panels. The green has lost all of its gloss and become dull and almost chalky in appearance. The red has also lost its gloss. My question is how can the gloss be restored. I've used polish which gives a short term improvement, but what would you recommend to solve this issue?

Asked by: John Phillip Lloyd  | 9.27pm, Sunday 30 April

WW says:

The quick and easy answer to your question is polish, but you have already tried that. You don't say which type of polish it was but I have found Carnuba wax very effective on dull paint. It is also very easy to apply and to buff up. It lasts for a reasonable time but not for ever.
You might find that going over it with T-Cut and then polish produces a slightly better and long-lasting result.
If that doesn't work, you will have to try something more drastic. Clear varnish will restore the gloss but it needs to be a natural varnish like Craftmaster Pale as this is not as brittle as polyurethane types. It is also less likely to give the underlying paint a yellowish hue. It needs to be applied to the same standard as the original paint or you will spoil the overall appearance of the boat. If you are doing it yourself, I can recommend applying the varnish with a small roller and laying it off vertically with a good 3in brush. It's much easier and produces a better result if one person does the rollering and another follows on with the brush. You will also need to re-varnish it every couple of years. If the weather once gets under the varnish, it will craze and the whole lot will have to come off.
Failing that, the only solution is a repaint. I am surprised that the gloss has gone after only four years. I wonder whether the paint was good quality marine paint, or whether the boat is moored in an area of high atmospheric pollution? It might be worth looking at other boats in the area, seeing how their paint is surviving and asking the owner of any good examples what type of paint was used.
After you have finished the re-paint, try to wash the boat regularly to remove airborne contamination, polish it once or twice a year and turn it round occasionally to even out the weathering effect of sun and rain.

Graham Booth  | 2.59PM, Monday 1 May

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