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Repair and re-paint your deck or cockpit floor

Supplies and colour matching 400

by Marc Robic

After 27 years of sun and traffic, the cockpit floor on Aquaholic was starting to look faded and had many small pinholes and minor surface cracks. These pinholes are mostly caused by small air pockets that lay just below the gelcoat surface. Of course, this is exacerbated by particles such as small rocks or debris under shoes, dropped winch handles, etc.

Luckily, Catalina Yachts is still very much in business and are very helpful when owners have questions or need parts. I ordered a small quantity of original formula Catalina grey and white gelcoat for my model and year.

After haul-out last fall, I used the grey gelcoat to fill in all the pits and pinholes all over the cockpit floor and the swim platform, using a small paintbrush, making sure to fill in each hole completely. With the original colour faded, it was easy to spot these repaired areas and to do any additional touch-ups where needed.

Pit and pin holes 400Come spring, I cleaned and vacuumed the floor. Then, using rough scouring pads, I scuffed the surface everywhere. To complete the surface preparation, I cleaned and vacuumed once more and wiped the entire area about 3 or 4 times with acetone, making sure there was no surface contamination that could affect proper adhesion of the topcoat.

Pit and pin holes

I then carefully masked all the surrounding area. For this, I did not skimp on the quality of the masking tape. The finished look is simply too important to me.

After spending time mixing and testing various formulae for the colour I wanted, I mixed the quantity I needed for my topcoat. In my case, I used 10 parts of Interlux’s (Akzo Nobel) Interdeck (grey) and 6 parts of Interlux Brightside (white). Small disclaimer: please note that mixing Interdeck with Brightside was my idea and at my own risk. But the compatibility and adhesion tests I did as well as the overall finish, were very good.

Easy to spot repair areas 400To paint the cockpit, I used a foam roller, which provided great coverage, easily coating the deeper grooves and making up the anti-skid diamond pattern. Thin coats are best and will settle/level well. I waited about 4 hours before applying the second coat.

Easy to spot repair areas

To get a good finish, be sure to roll in the diagonal directions of the pattern, alternating direction. Remember also to spread it thinly and have a small paintbrush on hand to get into deeper areas or around edges and objects, such as the helm pedestal.

The finished surface looks great and removing the masking tape the next day was super easy, leaving nice clean edges.

Next step, in about two weeks or so, I will apply a good long-lasting wax to protect it from the UV rays. Maybe even two coats!

One big recommendation I can share is to get yourself a copy of the latest edition of Interlux’s Boat Paint Guide. It is filled with many “how-to” instructions and hints and product information for everything onboard, from cabin top, deck, hull and keel; it’s one of the best I’ve seen yet from a manufacturer. Get one at your local chandlery or at www.interlux.com. When visiting the website, be sure to choose United States or Canada, as not all products are available in both countries.

Surrounding areas taped 1 400To see a video of the above process, go to:

(1) Repair & Repaint your Deck or Cockpit Floor – YouTube

Surrounding areas taped

INFORMATION about the writer:

Marc is a member of the Canadian Power & Sail Squadrons. He and his wife sail their Catalina 270, Aquaholic 3, out of the Ile-Perrot Yacht Club in Montreal, where Marc spent 16 years as Harbour Master. They are regular Caribbean bareboat yacht charterers. With over 40 years of experience, Marc is also an avid onboard do-it-yourselfer.

Marc Robic | mrobic@aol.com

below left: Finished results

below right: Great read

Finished results 400 Great Read 400

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