Matte Black Boat

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by mhooker, Jan 15, 2008.

  1. mhooker
    Joined: Jan 2008
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    Location: florida

    mhooker New Member

    Hey I just got a new 23' boat and I would like to paint it or get it painted matte black. Does anyone know how I would go about doing this.
  2. Verytricky
    Joined: Oct 2005
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    Verytricky Large Member

    The coast guard are gonna have you every time you put to sea!
  3. tspeer
    Joined: Feb 2002
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    Location: Port Gamble, Washington, USA

    tspeer Senior Member

    There was a great satire of the SORC published in Yacht Racing in the late 70's called "The Year of the Black Deck." It concerned a hot-shot racer who ordered a new boat with a white deck and black hull. When it was delivered it had a black deck and a white hull. But they didn't have enough time before the first race of the season to correct it, so they accepted it anyway.

    It was miserable, of course, but they started winning anyway. As their success was noticed other owners started painting their decks black. Whole industries sprung up making special under-deck insulation because the boats were so hot inside. Articles were published in magazines talking about how the "collateral end-plate effect" of thermals rising off the deck made the rigs
    more effective.

    By the end of the season, the new boat had won the championship and most of the fleet had gone over to black decks.

    The next year the reigning champion showed up with yet another new boat. It had a white deck and a black hull.
  4. mhooker
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    mhooker New Member

    I live on a lake so i dont care about the coast guard, i just want matte black to be fly.
    Tspeer. Thank You
  5. Jratte
    Joined: Jul 2007
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    Jratte Junior Member

    Some of the less flashy (read: rat rods) hot rodders go for the primer look. But it is my understanding that they actually use automotive paint that is made to be a flat primer like color as opposed to actually using primer which would not last. Hope that helps.
  6. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    There is flat black paint available which isn't primer, but a finish coating. You could also use a flattening agent in a semi gloss black or paint a full gloss (which will have the best moisture vapor resistance) and wet sand it with a very fine grit (like 1500) to knock down the gloss.

    Frankly, living in Florida myself I couldn't imagine wanting a flat or other wise dark color on the hull or topsides. Using dark colors, particularly black, can increase the on deck temperatures by dozens of degrees and below decks you might be able to actually cook things (literally). This also can have adverse affects of some types of adhesives (coming unstuck). Yep, it might look cool, but it will not be aboard. I've been aboard black and dark colored hulls and it can be quite a difference, usually difference enough to warrant painting to a lighter color or not using the boat.
  7. alan white
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    alan white Senior Member

    I would look seriously into the question of longevity of a fiberglass hull painted matte black, the hottest color available. On a hot bright day, especially with reflections adding to normal sunlight, the surface could get so hot that a person couldn't even touch it.
    Now that you know all this, if you still want to paint the boat matte black, I'm sure you'll get a lot of good advice here, and I hope it's worth it to you.

  8. mhooker
    Joined: Jan 2008
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    mhooker New Member

    what about another matte color thats not black?
  9. rwatson
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    Location: Tasmania,Australia

    rwatson Senior Member

    Matte white gets dirty very quickly, and looks grey. Maybe Matte Grey is the go! Personally, I find anything anything Matte keeps a lot of **** and grime close to it, and is a pig to clean. But if you want to be 'fly', then grime is what attracts the flies - so bingo :)
  10. alan white
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    alan white Senior Member

    Lighter colors are more practical. Matte finishes are harder to keep clean. I had a kitchen wastebasket that was a matte white poly plastic. It was so much work to keep clean, I just recently threw it out and bought a smooth glossy one to replace it. Much better.
  11. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Another thing to consider is that most flat paints absorb moisture, which also means they absorb things spilled or splashed onto their surfaces, likely the reason they are so hard to clean. The matte surface is actually just quite rough, which traps dirt and disperses light unevenly making it appear flat. Gloss on the other hand has a much smoother surface which reflects much more light and appears shinny.

    You can paint any color you want, but the darker the color, the more issues you'll have. Even just "soft" colors like tans and grays can dramatically increase surface temperatures.

    Personally I'd "de-gloss" a high gloss paint job, rather then apply a true flat paint.
  12. Brent Swain
    Joined: Mar 2002
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    Location: British Columbia

    Brent Swain Member

    Black stops UV penetration completely. You can put another colour over it if you want.
    When my boat was white , lockers got musty. Painted her dark green and when she is frozen in ice at minus 12C the hull feels warm to the touch, and the lockers are bone dry. I'll paint her white again when I go south of Cabo.
    I painted my fibreglass dinghy black to keep the UV out, then used other colours over that.I plan to paint my sails black before heading south ,for the same reason.
  13. Jimbo1490
    Joined: Jun 2005
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    Jimbo1490 Senior Member

    Dead flat black is possible with most if not all marine finishes by adding flatting agent. For Awl-Grip it works out to a 1:1 mix with the base paint. You must adjust the catalyst ratio accordingly. Please note that the Awl Grip branded 'flat black' (a recent invention since the Akzo-Nobel takeover) is not really very flat, certainly not 'dead flat'. For that, you will have to mix universal flatting agent (available in several manufacturer's catalogs; they all work) as outlined above. The Awl-Grip packed 'flat black' still has considerable sheen viewed at long angles. Ditto for sanding with 1500 sandpaper or even red Scotchbrite pads which are 360 grit, BTW.

    I have a client that paints their vehicles two-tone dead flat gray ala USAF guidelines, so I've mixed about a hundred gallons of dead flat Awl-Grip and Sterling over the last few years. They have rejected two of my paint jobs; one painted with the recent factory pack Awl-Grip flat gray and another which was 'sanded' flat with Scotchbrite after another paint vendor mistakenly shot the job gloss. Both had to be repainted as they were nowhere near as flat as 1:1 Awl-Grip/universal flatting agent.

    Your dead flat black will reach ~170*F in bright sunlight so the Tg of the resin from which the boat is built WILL be exceeded in some areas, like the decks and gunwales. You may experience sagging (creep) in these areas over time. A catastrophic failure of some type is also a remote possibility.
  14. Pericles
    Joined: Sep 2006
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    Pericles Senior Member

    Science to the rescue

    The "darkest ever" substance known to science has been made in a US laboratory.

    The material was created from carbon nanotubes - sheets of carbon just one atom thick rolled up into cylinders.

    Researchers say it is the closest thing yet to the ideal black material, which absorbs light perfectly at all angles and over all wavelengths.

    The discovery is expected to have applications in the fields of electronics and solar energy.


  15. ted655
    Joined: May 2003
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    Location: Butte La Rose, LA.

    ted655 Senior Member

    Jimbo 1470 has the answer. I've painted a lot of things flat black in Phoenix & thats how you do it, for the reasons you express.
    NOW, grow the ponytail & pierce the ol nose & tongue, so you can drive the whole area nuts, wondering what your up to. :D
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