TREATING AND REMOVING BOAT BOTTOM BLISTERS THE EASY WAY
Spotting blisters on an unpainted hull is usually obvious. But when the bottom is camouflaged with multiple layers of paint and marine growth, a less labor-intensive approach is needed. Unlike sanding or corrosive chemicals, SodaBlasting boats removes old coats of antifoulant and blisters quickly, without damaging non-blistered, bare gelcoat, and then properly prepares the surface for repair—all in one operation.
Blisters are most often caused by osmotic intrusion of water into the hull. As water molecules enter the hull, they pick up acids and other chemicals that alter their composition and size, making the molecules larger and trapping them inside. Since these molecules are unable to find their way out, pressure builds up and forces the gelcoat to separate from the fiberglass, forming a blister. If the blister breaks while immersed, it allows for greater water intrusion into the fiberglass laminate, and perpetrates the blistering process to deeper levels.
Traditional blister repair involves grinding, sanding or sandblasting the hull. This process is time-consuming, labor intensive and, unless extreme care is taken, can result in severe or permanent damage to the gelcoat and fiberglass laminate. SodaBlast Systems, LLC of Houston, Texas, provides a fast, effective and controlled alternative to these conventional methods.
In the SodaBlasting process, a non-destructive stream of air-driven, specially formulated baking soda under high pressure is first used to strip the antifoulant paint and open the blister. Then, to prepare the surface for repair and repainting, the affected area around the blister is feathered by split-second, swirled “micro-blasting.” This finishes the surface in preparation for repair.
The entire process can be accomplished in 1/10 the time as traditional techniques, resulting in a properly prepared surface that is ready for blister repair and painting. The Genuine SodaBlaster is the favorite choice of professionals.
SodaBlasting Boats is also environmentally friendly, a major concern for repair yards and marinas. Minimal plastic tenting installed around the work area contains the soda and old paint for proper disposal.
SodaBlasting is conducted through a network of specially trained, independent Preferred Contractors who bring their mobile equipment directly to the site. They install the plastic tenting around the boat, perform the SodaBlasting and then wrap up the paint and other residue for disposal.
The actual SodaBlasting step only takes a few hours and, depending on the size of the boat, the entire process can be completed in a day or less.
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