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Narrowboat painting

Our 50 foot cruiser stern narrowboat will need painting next year or 2015. Some painters I'm talking to for estimates, etc. say they'll use spray paint, others hand painting.
Is one better than the other? What would you recommend?

Asked by: Paul Taylor  | 6.56pm, Monday 4 November


WW says:

My personal preference would be for hand painting.
Spray painting can look fantastic when it is first done but each coat is generally thinner than with hand painting so you need more coats to give a reasonable film thickness. It is also more difficult to touch up scrapes and scratches.
Even the best hand painting will show some brush marks and these make it easier to touch up satisfactorily provided you work 'with the grain'. They also demonstrate that the work has been done by a human hand which I find more satisfying.

Graham Booth  | 10.17PM, Monday 4 November

One area that needs special attention is the cabin side around the windows/portholes. Some builders fix the windows before the full paint system is applied so rust builds up under the frame and creeps out to the surrounding cabin side.
The only answer is to remove the windows and paint right up to the edge of the opening before replacing them. Many painters do this but, naturally, it adds considerably to the cost. You should find out what the painters intend to do about this so that you can make a proper comparison of the quotes. You should also determine whether they will just rub down the existing paint and paint over it or whether they intend to take the boat back to bare metal and start from scratch.
Another thought is that all glossy paint jobs tend to show up ripples in the steel work that were never visible before, and very few narrowboats are free of some ripples. Because spray paint gives such a 'perfect' finish it might show up these ripples slightly more than a hand painted finish.

Graham Booth  | 10.22AM, Tuesday 5 November

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