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Awlgrip Application Guide - Below Waterline


The Awlgrip Application Guide is in five basic parts:
  1. General Guidelines - Includes recommendations and tips for:
    • Surface cleaning.
    • Application equipment selection.
    • Air compressors and compressed air.
    • Sanding and masking materials.
    • General paint environment.
  2. Above Waterline Application Systems
  3. Below Waterline Application Systems
  4. Troubleshooting
  5. General Information - includes
    • Glossary of Paint Terms
    • Maintaining the Topcoats
Complete Application Guide in .pdf format
Requires Acrobat Reader available from Adobe
If after reading the material you still have specific questions, call, fax, or write the Customer Service Department

  • United States
    1 East Water Street,
    Waukegan,
    IL 60085,
    USA
    Telephone: +1 847 599 6212
    Fax: +1 847 599 6209
  • Europe
    Bannerlaan 54
    2280 Grobbendonk
    Belgium
    Telephone: +32 (0)14 25 77 70
    Fax: +32 (0)14 23 08 80
  • Australia
    Unit E54
    Gold Coast City Marina
    76 Waterways Drive,
    Coomera,
    Queensland 4209,
    Australia
    Telephone: +61 7 5573 9655
    or 1800 007 866
    Fax: +61 7 5529 9329
  • Singapore
    449 Tagore Industrial Avenue,
    #01-03 Greatland Industrial Building,
    Singapore 787820
    Telephone: +65 6453 1981
    Fax: +65 6453 1778


Application Guide - Below Waterline
Application Systems


  1. Below Waterline Systems
  2. Surface Preparation and Priming
  3. Fiberglass/Gelcoat
  4. Steel
  5. Wood
  6. Standard Primer System
  7. Maximum Water Barrier System
  8. Ecomony System
  9. Awlstar Gold Label Application
  10. Hardware
  11. Osmotic Blister Prevention, Treatment, Repair
Next Chapter - Troubleshooting
Previous Chapter - Above Waterline Application Systems


Back to top of pageBelow Waterline Systems
Awlstar Gold Label is a tin-free ablative co-polymer type
antifouling designed to provide multi-season protection from fouling when applied according to specification. An ablative antifouling performs by the movement of the hull through the water, gradually wearing away the coating. As a result a fresh, fully potent layer of antifouling is always exposed to the water.

Awlstar Gold Label is a very versatile product. It performs in both warm and cold water, on sail and power craft. It is hard enough to stay on high speed power boats but burnishes easily for racing sailboats. Truly static boats may be better off with a hard, leaching type antifouling.

Awlstar Gold Label is:
  • Available in 5 bright colors and White Lightning.
  • Recommended on fiberglass, steel, and wood.
  • Recommended for extended dry docking. Take the boat out of the water as often as you like for as long as you like. Awlstar Gold Label will maintain its antifouling capability.
  • Must not be used on aluminum.
Awlstar Gold Label is designed to be applied over a Hull-Gard Primer. The Hull-Gard Primers protect the hull from attack from water while providing an ideal surface for which to apply the Awlstar Gold Label. A key element of any Awlstar Gold Label System is applying the first coat of the Awlstar Gold Label when the last coat of Hull-Gard Primer is barely tack free. This procedure ensures bond of the two coatings, providing the basis for multi-season performance.

Three application systems are included. Each is suitable for fiberglass, steel, and wood. Many owners of wooden boats prefer to apply an anti-foulant directly to the wood. This is not practical with Awlstar Gold Label. Awlstar Gold Label will not bond to wood.

Each system provides a minimum of 12 dry mils of Hull-Gard Epoxy Primer overcoated with 6-12 mils of Awlstar Gold Label Antifouling.
  • Standard Fast Recoat System
    This is the simplest and most popular system. Just two products: Hull-Gard E.R. and Awlstar Gold Label - Three coats of each.
  • Economy System
    Has the least number of coats and the least amount of labor. This system uses Hull-Gard E.R. as a base primer then utilizes the high film build characteristic of Hull-Gard W.B. to quickly get to 12 mils DFT of Hull-Gard Epoxy. Two medium coats of Awlstar Gold Label will achieve 6 mils DFT. Plenty of protection for boats which are not in the water year round. This system can easily be upgraded for year round use just by applying more Awlstar Gold Label.
  • Maximum Water Barrier System
    This system combines 545 Primer, Hull-Gard E.R., Hull-Gard W.B. (to provide 20-24 mils of epoxy--maximizing resistance to water), and Awlstar Gold Label.
There is no system recommendation for aluminum hulls. Awlstar Gold Label must not be used on aluminum.





Back to top of pageSurface Preparation and Priming

Fiberglass/Gelcoat: New and Aged, Bare Sound Surfaces.
Below waterline gelcoat with very minor surface crazing and no other cracking, blistering, or impact damage is a sound surface. Surfaces with crazing penetrating deep into or through the gelcoat are heavily crazed. These surfaces must be repaired before applying an Awlstar Gold Label Antifouling Bottom System.
  1. New surfaces must be clean and free of any waxes or mold release components.

    Aged surfaces must be clean and free of any dirt, grease, grime, wax, or other foreign material.
    • New Fiberglass/Gelcoat
      To remove mold releases use a commercial detergent or a powdered household cleanser. Scrub with a sponge, soft brush, or Scotchbrite pad as necessary. Rinse surface thoroughly to remove all soap residue. Repeat process until rinse water "sheets out" over the entire surface with no breaks or holes in the water film. Allow to dry.
    • Aged, Sound Fiberglass/Gelcoat
      The surface must be clean, free of any dirt, grease, grime, wax, or other foreign material. Hand wash with commercial detergents, steam cleaners, or pressure washers. Be sure all detergent residue is rinsed from the surface.

      Repeat process until rinse water "sheets out" over the entire surface with no breaks or holes in the water film. Allow to dry.
  2. Wipe surface with Awl-Prep or Awl-Prep Plus using the Two Cloth Method. Change cloths frequently. Allow to dry.
  3. Lightly machine sand the surface with 100-150 grit paper. Sand just enough to remove the gloss from the surface.

    Caution: Do not sand excessively. This will create porosity in the surface that will have to be filled.
  4. Blow off the surface with clean, dry, compressed air while dry wiping to remove sanding dust and residue. Then wipe with Awl-Prep or Awl-Prep Plus using the Two Cloth Method.
Select an Awlstar Bottom System.





Back to top of pageSteel
  1. Thoroughly clean and degrease the surface. Use commercial detergents, steam cleaners, or pressure washers. Be sure all detergent residue is rinsed from the surface. Use Awl-Prep Plus as a final wipe down of the surface.

    Important: Plan your work schedule carefully! Any area which is ground or blasted per Step 2 must be primed during the same work shift. Preferably within 4 hours.
  2. Sand blast to white metal in accordance with SSPC-SP5-85 to a 3 to 4 mil profile or power grind with a 24 to 36 grit disk to obtain profile. If profile is particularly jagged, grind to remove "spikes", providing a more uniform surface.

    Blow off the surface thoroughly with clean, dry, compressed air to remove all blast/grind residue and any dust or dirt. Use a brush or broom if necessary.

    Caution: Do not use rags to clean this surface. The sharp metal will snag fibers from the rags. These fibers can act as wicks for moisture or other contamination to enter the paint film. This can lead to premature failure of the Awlgrip Coating System.
This surface must be primed within 4 hours. The Maximum Water Barrier System is recommended.





Back to top of pageWood
  1. The wood must be clean, dry, and well seasoned. Never paint wet or green lumber. Painted wet or green lumber will blister. Sand the surface smooth with 80-120 grit paper. Blow off sanding dust and residue with clean, dry, compressed air. Solvent wipe with Awl-Prep or Awl-Prep Plus using the Two Cloth Method. Allow surface to dry.
  2. Fill seams with high quality marine seam sealer such as polyurethane or polysulfide. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for application and cure of the seam sealer.
Select an Awlstar Gold Label Bottom System.





Back to top of pageStandard Primer System

Standard Fast Re-Coat System for Fiberglass, Wood, and Steel.
  1. Apply multiple coats of Hull-Gard E.R. to achieve 12 mils DFT. Twelve mils of DFT requires one gallon of Hull-Gard E.R. for each 60 square feet of below waterline hull area. If applied by airless spray, 3 to 4 coats will be required. The additional reduction required for air atomized or roller application may require 1 to 2 additional coats to achieve 12 mils DFT.

    Allow 2 hours between coats at 77°F/25°C, 50% R.H. Hull-Gard E.R.'s extended recoat capability allows recoating with itself at any time up to 8 weeks without requiring sanding. The aged Hull-Gard E.R. must be thoroughly cleaned and free of all foreign material before recoating with additional Hull-Gard E.R.
  2. Apply Awlstar Gold Label Antifouling as soon as the last coat of Hull-Gard E.R. is barely tack free, about 2 hours at 77°F/25°C, 50% R.H. Three coats (12 mils DFT) is recommended.




Back to top of pageMaximum Water Barrier System

Maximum Water Barrier System for Fiberglass, Wood, and Steel.
  1. Prime with 545 Epoxy Primer-Gray to cover surface profile. This may require 2 to 3 coats. Apply 1 mixed gallon (combined base and converter) for every 180 square feet of below waterline hull area. Allow one hour minimum between coats at 77°F/25°C, 50% R.H. Allow to cure 12 to 14 hours. If the 545 cures more than 24 hours, it must be sanded with 150-180 grit and the sanding residue removed before proceeding to step 2.
  2. Apply a smooth, even coat of Hull-Gard E.R. Apply at 8 to 9 mils wet film to yield 4 mils dry film. Allow to cure to tack free, minimum 2 hours at 77°F/25°C, 50% R.H.

    A one gallon kit of Hull-Gard E.R. is required for every 180 square feet of below waterline hull area to achieve 4 mils DFT.
  3. Within 24 hours of completion of the Hull-Gard E.R. application, apply the first coat of Hull-Gard W.B. Two to 4 coats may be required depending upon reduction and method of application. A total DFT of 16 mils is required. The wet to dry film yield is 3 to 2, (i.e., every 3 mils of WFT will yield 2 mils DFT). Allow a minimum of 4 hours between coats at 77°F/25°C, 50% R.H. Hull-Gard W.B. can be recoated with itself without sanding for up to 30 days. Use of a wet film thickness gauge to determine applied film thickness is recommended. A one gallon kit of Hull-Gard W.B. is required for every 65 square feet of below waterline hull area to achieve 16 mils DFT.
  4. Apply Awlstar Gold Label Antifouling as soon as the last coat of Hull-Gard W.B. is barely tack free (i.e., approximately 4 hours), but still soft enough to allow indentation with a fingernail. 3 coats (12 mils DFT) recommended.




Back to top of pageEconomy System

Economy System for Fiberglass, Wood, and Steel.
  1. Apply a smooth, even coat of Hull-Gard E.R. Apply at 8 to 9 mils wet film to yield 4 mils dry film. Allow to cure to tack free, minimum 2 hours at 77°F/25°C, 50% R.H. A one gallon kit of Hull-Gard E.R. is required for every 180 square feet of below the waterline hull area to achieve 4 mils DFT.
  2. Within 24 hours of completion of the Hull-Gard E.R. application, apply the first coat of Hull-Gard W.B. Two coats may be required depending upon reduction and method of application. A total DFT of 8 mils is required. Allow a minimum of 4 hours between coats at 77°F/25°C, 50% R.H. Hull-Gard W.B. can be recoated with itself without sanding for up to 30 days. Use of a wet film thickness gauge to determine applied film thickness is recommended. A one gallon kit of Hull-Gard W.B. is required for every 130 square feet of below waterline hull area to achieve 8 mils DFT.
  3. Apply Awlstar Gold Label Antifouling as soon as the last coat of Hull-Gard W.B. is barely tack free (i.e., approximately 4 hours), but still soft enough to allow indentation with a fingernail.
Note: Economy System requires only 2 medium coats (6 mils DFT) of Awlstar Gold Label.





Back to top of pageAwlstar Gold Label Application

New Applications
Awlstar Gold Label is designed to be applied over a Hull-Gard Primer. The first coat of Awlstar Gold Label must be applied when the last coat of Hull-Gard has dried to a barely tack-free state, but not cured hard. At 77°F/25°C, 50% R.H. Hull-Gard E.R. reaches this point in approximately 2 hours, Hull-Gard W.B. reaches this point in approximately 4 hours.

Awlstar Gold Label can be applied by airless spray, brush or rollers.

For maximum antifouling performance and protection, apply a minimum of 3 coats of Awlstar Gold Label at a wet film thickness of 9 mils (225 microns) per coat to achieve 4 mils (100 microns) dry per coat. Allow a minimum of 4 hours at 77°F/25°C, 50% R.H. between coats.

Optimum performance is achieved at a total dry film thickness of 12 mils (300 microns). One gallon (3.785 liters) of Awlstar Gold Label is required for each 65 square feet (6.04 sq.m.) of below waterline hull area to achieve 12 mils (300 microns) DFT.

To provide a built-in indicator of when it is time to renew your Awlstar, apply the first coat in a different color from the remaining coats. When you can see the first color showing through, it is time to renew.

Extra protection and more uniform wear properties result when 1 or 2 extra coats are applied to high wear areas, such as the bow, rudder, leading edge of the keel, stabilizers, cavitation plates, propeller cavitation areas, and trim tabs.

Allow a minimum of 5 hours at 77°F/25°C, 50% R.H. after the application of the last coat of Awlstar Gold Label before launching. Allowing 24 hours before launching is preferred.

Cooler temperatures will require longer cure times between coats and before launching. DO NOT apply or attempt to cure Awlstar Gold Label or Hull-Gard products at temperatures below 50°F/10°C.

Renewing Awlstar Gold Label
Awlstar Gold Label that is wearing thin can be easily renewed. Wash down the hull, using a high pressure, clean water wash as soon as possible after hauling. The surface must be clean, dry, and free of all oil, grease, salt, dirt, corrosion, or other surface contamination.

Sanding with 80 grit paper is advised under any of the following conditions:
  • If the hull was not power washed while it was still wet from hauling.
  • Anytime the cleanliness of the surface is in doubt.
  • Faster, high use boats where the Awlstar has ablated to a slick surface.
  • Sailboats recently burnished.
Painting over other antifoulants
Although Awlstar Gold Label will work over some existing antifoulings, Awlgrip cannot endorse this practice. We have no control over other antifouling manufacturer's quality control or formulation. Awlstarwill not perform over any of the tin-copolymer/organotin antifoulings, soft conventional types, or vinyls.

Awlstar Gold Label will perform adequately over hard conventional type antifoulings, and tin-free ablative copolymer antifoulings that contain copper. The most common problem encountered with these applications is mudcracking. A test application should be made before recoating an entire hull unless all other anti-foulant is removed.

Do not apply primers over old antifouling paints. If the test application indicates a compatible situation, sand the surface with 80 grit, then apply 3 coats of Awlstar Gold Label.

Special notes about White Lightning BP802
White Lightning is based on the same technology as other Awlstarcolors, however the white color limits the amount of cuprous oxide in the BP802 formula. Therefore, the antifouling capability of White Lightning is slightly less than other Awlstar Gold Label colors.

The most noticeable difference will be in static performance with the waterline areas requiring a little extra attention to avoid algae and scum build up. In general, low use and slower boats moored in warm water will require the most attention. Awlgrip recommends applying 2 to 3 extra coats of BP802 to the waterline area of the boat. The extra coats will allow the waterline to perform at the same rate as the rest of the hull.

Cleaning agents and other chemicals may stain or discolor White Lightning. White Lightning that has been completely out of water for extended periods, will oxidize to a blue/green color. Repainting will be required to restore the white color to stained and oxidized areas.





Back to top of pageHardware
Below waterline hardware can be difficult to coat for a variety of reasons. Two primary problems are:
  1. The difficulty in obtaining good surface preparation.
  2. The specific metal alloys used for below waterline hardware. Brass, bronze, and stainless steel do not hold paint very well.
Awlgrip Corporation has had good results with the following system. Please note that it is critical the metal be primed immediately after grinding or sand blasting and great care should be used on rotating parts, such as shafts and propellers. Uneven grinding could take a shaft or propeller out of balance.

Remember Awlstar Gold Label is an ablative coating which wears away in use. It will perform satisfactorily on a rotating shaft, but would wear away very rapidly on a propeller.

Note: This system must not be used on aluminum hardware of any kind.
  1. Thoroughly clean and degrease the surface. Use commercial detergents, steam cleaners, or pressure washers. Be sure all detergent residue is rinsed from the surface. Use Awl-Prep Plus as a final wipe down of the surface.
  2. Power grind with a 60 grit disk to obtain profile. If the profile is particularly jagged, grind to remove "spikes" providing a more uniform surface.

    Blow off the surface thoroughly with clean, dry, compressed air to remove all blast/grind residue and any dust or dirt. Use a brush or broom if necessary.

    Caution: Do not use rags to clean this surface. The sharp metal will snag fibers from the rags. These fibers can act as wicks for moisture or other contamination to enter the paint film. This can lead to premature failure of the Awlgrip Coating System.

    This surface must be primed within 4 hours.
  3. Apply a minimum of two coats of Hull-Gard E.R. to achieve 6-8 mils DFT. Six mils DFT requires one gallon of Hull-Gard E.R. for every 130 square feet of surface. If the schedule allows, 3 full coats at 12 mils DFT would be preferred.

    Allow 2 hours between coats at 77°F/25°C, 50% R.H.

    Hull-Gard E.R.'s extended recoat capability allows recoating with itself at any time up to 8 weeks without requiring sanding. The aged Hull-Gard E.R. must be thoroughly cleaned and free of all foreign material before recoating with additional Hull-Gard E.R.
  4. Apply Awlstar Gold Label Antifouling as soon as the last coat of Hull-Gard E.R. is barely tack free, about 2 hours at 77°F/25°C, 50% R.H. Apply a minimum of two coats of Awlstar Gold Label Antifouling. If the schedule allows, three coats is preferred<




Back to top of pageOsmotic Blister Prevention, Treatment, Repair
In recent years, discussion regarding the repair and prevention of osmotic blistering on fiberglass or gelcoat hulls has generated controversy among applicators, owners, builders, and resin suppliers.

A consensus has resulted. Fiberglass/gelcoat hulls that are in the water much of the time require extra protection to prevent eventual attack and blistering.

Prevention
The maximum water barrier application system detailed in the fiberglass/gelcoat application below the waterline section has proven to be effective in preventing osmotic blistering when properly applied and properly maintained on new or unaffected hulls.

Treatment
The most effective and prudent procedure must begin with the removal of all the below waterline gelcoat and any water damaged laminate.

Before removal of any gelcoat, a moisture meter should be used to determine the moisture content of the hull. Readings should be taken both above and below the waterline.

Procedures that only expose damaged areas without removal of the water damaged laminate make drying the hull difficult or impossible. Inadequate removal results in only a temporary, cosmetic solution. The problem quickly reappears, often worse than it was originally.

After removing the gelcoat and any damaged, swollen laminate, the exposed laminate should be thoroughly flushed with fresh water.

Laminate damage and the quantity to be removed will vary with each hull. There is no reason to remove sound, intact, tightly bound laminate.

The laminate of a blistered hull can contain a wide variety of chemical contamination. These contaminates affect the adhesion of the repair and in most cases will cause blistering to reoccur. The laminate must be scrubbed with commercial detergent and thoroughly rinsed to remove all chemical contamination and detergent residue.

Next, the hull must be dried. Refer to the moisture readings taken before the removal of the gelcoat. Check them again and establish regular periods of re-checking. There is debate regarding a correct moisture level. A definite minimum is to obtain the same readings above and below the waterline, provided there was a difference initially. A reading below the waterline of 5 or less on a Sovereign Meter is considered sufficient. While a hull may be too "wet" it can not be too "dry".

On boats with severe blistering above and below the waterline, especially those produced using "fire resistant resins", effective treatment and repair may be impossible. Having the boat surveyed before beginning treatment or repair of osmotic blistering is recommended.

Repair
After the removal, flushing, and drying of the laminate, begin repair or restoration of the hull. This process includes four steps.
  • Sealing of the exposed laminate.
  • Application of fairing compound to restore the form of the hull.
  • Sealing the fairing.
  • Application of a water barrier and antifouling coating.
  1. Apply 2 or more contrasting color coats of 545 Primer-White and 545 Primer-Gray. These materials must be mixed without reducer and applied by brush or roller to force the material into the laminate, sealing voids and pin holes.
  2. Apply AWL-FAIR L.W. Epoxy Fairing Compound to restore the shape of the hull.
  3. Seal the fairing. Apply contrasting color coats of 545 Primer to seal the AWL-FAIR L.W. Mix the 545 Primer full bodied (i.e., no reducer) to avoid solvent entrapment in the system.
  4. Apply the Maximum Water Barrier System.

    The preceding is an outline of a repair system. This procedure should not be viewed in the same light as the specific application systems. It is only supplied as a guide. No repair of the osmotic blistering should begin without a complete survey of the hull to accurately assess the problem. The project should be directed by someone with experience in such repairs. After a hull survey has been completed, please contact our Technical Service Department in St. Louis.
Note: Osmotic blister repairs receive no warranty either expressed or implied from Awlgrip Corporation.


Original article from Awlgrip

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