Blistering Paint … Don’t Panic, Yet

A boat is typically a source of great joy for its owners, who understandably want it to stay in mint condition. Unfortunately, most will also experience the initial panic that sets in when blistering paint is first spotted. That unsightly bubble on a beloved boat is like finding a crack in the ceiling of your dream home. It could be a small issue, but it could also be evidence of a much larger, catastrophic problem. Blistering can be a result of moderate or major moisture intrusion. Naturally, our mind often jumps immediately to the latter. Spotting blistering paint on your vessel is not always a sign of more significant damage. However, taking immediate measures can help you be certain and prevent any more harm being done.

What to Do When Blistering Is First Spotted

A boat blister is exactly as it sounds, an ugly, bubbly pustule on the hull of your boat. The causes of these unsightly irritants range from benign to serious. Blisters are actually common and typically a mild cosmetic issue. This is not to say that they can’t become damaging, therefore, any blistering needs addressing promptly. Blistering is most evident when your boat first comes out of the water so this is the time to do a thorough inspection. A few areas of bubbling are not overly-concerning and the fix is generally straightforward. A vessel that has multiple areas of blistering indicates something more serious and should be taken to a professional as soon as possible.

Repairing Blistering Paint

For small areas of blistering, begin repairs by addressing each blister one by one. Having goggles is important to protect your eyes when the blister is popped. This is a good time to tap the surrounding area for the hollow sound that could indicate additional damage. Once each blister is punctured, rinse the hull thoroughly. Once it is dry, the area can be sanded/grinded out. Next vigorously clean with a good brush, making sure to remove any debris. When the former blister is both clean and dry, the process of filling can begin. Mix some quality epoxy and paint the inside of the cavity. Do just one to begin with so that you can approximate the time it will take to cure. Once it is cured (still tacky) you can begin filling.  If the blister is not deep, the epoxy resin should do the trick, but if the cavity is more extensive, adding fiberglass cloth may be necessary. Once the epoxy has cured (preferably overnight) you are ready to clean, sand and finally paint.

Get a Professional Opinion

If you are unsure of the process or the extent of the damage, it is always best to ask a professional. Industry experts like the on-site contractors at Pensacola Shipyard have the tools and knowledge to determine the best route to repair the blistering paint. If the hull has blistering over a large area, all the gelcoat (and possibly some fiberglass) may need to be removed.

A few blisters may not indicate any major damage while large blisters or ones that cover a substantial area can signify a much bigger problem. With our multi-acre property, Pensacola Shipyard has the perfect set up if you want to complete the repairs yourself. Additionally, we also have on-site independent contractors should you choose to leave the work to a professional. Either way, we are the area’s premier shipyard to begin your blistering paint repairs.

Contact Pensacola Shipyard today and let us help you with all your boating needs so you can spend less time working on your boat and more time enjoying it.