Zolatone 20 & Preparation

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Zolatone 20 & Preparation


Post by ehsvp » Tue Nov 22, 2016 7:38 am

Hi All,
I'm trying to wrap my head around the correct sequence of paint and techniques for applying Zolatone 20 the interior of my boat. I've reviewed the website numerous times but I think there is some conflicting information there. One of their documents recommends a primer that I believe has been discontinued. Here is my best knowledge at this time for the painting sequence. Step one, clean the metal with a suitable solvent and degrease with soap and water where necessary. Either sand or etch the metal in preparation for priming. Prime the metal with Zolatone PE480 Grey Primer. Top coat with Zolatone 20 then clear coat over that. I'd be curious to know if this is what the boat builders do for their Zolatone painting. I just want to be sure I'm doing this painting correctly as I don't want to do it over. Thanks in advance,


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Re: Zolatone 20 & Preparation


Post by kmorin » Tue Nov 22, 2016 1:01 pm

Bob, a step back and review to summarize some of the previous discussions.

All paint films have to attach/connect/adhere/'stick too' aluminum via one of two methods or a combination of the two. First method, is mechanical attachment where the surface of the metal is disturbed by some form of abrasion to create something called the "anchor pattern" in paint film jargon. The second method is chemically bonding where the aluminum oxide is removed and replaced with a primer paint sticky oxide (chrome oxide for example).

The best way to get a good anchor pattern is to blast, but a second method is to use a buffing/sanding rotary pad sander. The best chemical method is to acid etch and add allodyne but, self etching primers exist because of the work and cost implied by the first liquid method. Both methods can be combined so the surface has both a chemical and mechanical adhesion, but that is probably reserved to those boats done by the owner, where cost is mainly their own labor, or by higher end yacht class boats.

The best of both worlds is to sand blast (where sand is many different types of media) and then to etch and convert to chrome oxide surface. However, sanding and using self-etching primer cannot be ignored as a combination method that rates consideration?

The idea of the mechanical adhesion is like taking a flat plastic sheet and painting it. Paint may not stick but if the sheet were hook-and-loop type of "loop" surface? then the paint would dry trapping all the loops and that is what an anchor pattern does.

Chemically, the previous plastic sheet may not hold or adhere paint but IF... you used some paint that was a solvent of that plastic.... there would be a chemical bond that would adhere well. Since one of the two methods have to be used to get a decent coating on aluminum; their relative costs and impact on your build need to seen in light of the methods and their results? (IMO that is a summary of the questions involved)

Inside your hull; in most hulls (I don't know your build well enough to make this statement), liquids will run out but sand blasting sand will be more work to thoroughly clean up if you blast. The chemical (liquid) handling will be easier to spray (while avoiding personal injury) and clean up inside the hull's various compartments than blasting. The dust from blasting in a closed space is a non-trivial work condition requiring a fully supplied air type of (medically clean) air to breath, visibility is sometimes challenging and the need for a work crew is common sense.

In the case of Zolatone Primer (not sure I've used the specific number you list?), I'd say it adheres fairly well to a sanded/buffed surface and that blasting was not needed. But, chemically stripping the oxide will give the primer at least a chance to adhere by comparison to the mill scale shiny film on new material. The last time (early '90's) I did the entire interior and exterior of a boat; we etched, allodyne coated and then went with the primer, Z'tone and clear coats. That paint job is intact after 20 years.

One way to make more informed decision will be to make up some test samples of the metal with various finishes and see what "sticks" best.... where best is your knowledge of the level of effort compared to your destructive removal testing. One or another method my show you the level of adhesion you'll accept for the accompanying level of effort?

Just wanted to add some perspective and firm up the terminology in
ehsvp wrote:Either sand or etch the metal in preparation for priming
the overall film coating aluminum discussion.

Kevin Morin
Kenai, AK

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Re: Zolatone 20 & Preparation


Post by ehsvp » Wed Nov 23, 2016 6:11 am

Kevin, thanks again for all your good information that was posted here.


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Re: Zolatone 20 & Preparation


Post by alumioforte » Sun Nov 27, 2016 8:09 pm

If you have the time or patience to go full tilt, i agree with the sand blast - it gives a mechanical anchor bond.

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