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June 21, 2023
9 Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Using ZRC Cold Galvanizing Compound on Boats
Most modern boats are made of a combination of materials that include aluminum and steel, just to name a few. The reason our modern boats are built this way, instead of wood, is because metal fishing boats can essentially last forever with proper and consistent maintenance over the years.
It’s not all good news, though. If boats are left unattended for even a brief period of time, going one or two years without appropriate upkeep, they will rust, deteriorate, and corrode. Putting metal in water, particularly saltwater, leads to corrosion. In addition to this, there is atmospheric corrosion to consider. In marine environments, the air is nearly as damp and salty as the ocean itself! The ocean air contains high levels of moisture and salt, facilitating rapid rust formation.
Neglected rust can and will eventually erode your boat's structural integrity. When metals like steel are exposed to oxygen in both water and air, they undergo oxidation and form oxide, resulting in the formation of rust. Rust replaces the sturdy metal with fragile, flaking residue. Put simply, rust weakens the boat and impacts its seaworthiness.
For this reason, metal boats require money to be put back into them in the form of regular maintenance. Spending a little bit now on rust prevention will save you countless dollars and headaches in the years to come.
If you haven’t yet tackled rust prevention for your boat, you probably have a few questions as to why it’s important, how to go about getting the product you need, and more. Below are the most common questions we’re asked on a regular basis regarding preventative maintenance for boats in particular.
When Is The Best Time of the Year to Apply ZRC for Rust Prevention on a Boat?
ZRC cold galvanizing compound should be reapplied once a year. We encourage you to apply a new layer of ZRC as part of your annual maintenance. Exactly when you apply it is up to you. That being said, many of our commercial marina clients choose to apply ZRC as part of their yearly maintenance that occurs in the winter months when they pull their boats from the water. If you live in a part of the world where you boat during the winter, like South Florida or Texas, you may operate on a different schedule.
How Long Will My Boat Need to Be Dry After I Apply ZRC?
You’re going to need to give your boat some time to dry before you put it back into the water. Late in the evening, when you’re finished boating for the day, pull your boat out of the water. This is the time to get the entire boat or specific area completely dry, as well as scrape off any rust or corrosion that has begun to form.
The next morning, do this surface prep, cleaning all the loosely adherent corrosion. Once you get it clean, you can apply the first coat of ZRC. You can get your boat wet again the following night. In total, you’re looking at the project lasting about 48 hours.
What if I Want My Boat to Be a Color Other Than Gray?
Our products come in various shades of gray or silver. If you want your final product to have a different aesthetic, that’s no problem at all. You can apply a topcoat of any color you desire to ZRC once it is dry without compromising the integrity of the paint.
Can I Put Wax over ZRC?
Yes, similar to adding a topcoat, you can also add a layer of wax over ZRC. Once the compound has dried, you are not risking the rust protection lessening.
Can I Put ZRC on the Propeller and/or Gear Shaft?
Absolutely! ZRC can be used as anti-growth (fouling) agent on any underwater metals on your boats, including the running gear, propeller shafts, propeller, rudder, and trim tabs. Our product is proven to be effective long-term protection for:
- Antifouling for Underwater Metals
- Galvanized Trailer Repair
- Commercial Fishing Gear
- Other Marina Structures
Which Application Method is Best for Boats?
You have the option of whether you want it to be a brush-on or spray-on product. ZRC cold galvanizing compounds offer portable, flexible protection that can be applied in a variety of formats. They’re designed specifically for field and shop repair of hot-dip galvanization, including marine use cases. You have two options:
Spray-On Cold Galvanizing Aerosol Spray
Our cold galvanizing compounds can be administered in aerosol form, or by use of a compressor or airless spray techniques. They offer the same superior performance you would find in the brush-on type. We can promise this because we add propellants and other ingredients so it sprays easily and evenly out of an aerosol can.
This aerosol product makes it possible to spray it on round and oddly-shaped parts, which makes it perfect for boats. The ability to get it into the curves and the cracks means it can be applied directly onto the boat. Metal pieces don’t need to be removed in order to add protection.
On top of that, aerosol is the best product for your project if you're simply touching up an existing corrosion protection solution. Much like a can of spray paint, you can shake up your can of cold galvanized compound and apply it directly to any blemished areas of coating. Aerosol will also work well for new projects that focus on preventing corrosion on smaller surface areas. We also recommend the aerosol spray for marine application, as it is easier to get the product in and on all of the parts of a boat.
Brush-On Cold Galvanizing Paint
Our cold galvanizing paint was the original ZRC product, and is still the industry standard. It is equivalent in function yet superior in convenience to hot-dip galvanizing. Brushing smashes the zinc onto the surface and creates the right amount of contact between the zinc and the metal structure.
Our experts recommend the brush-on applications when you’re undergoing a high-volume project, like the broadside of a large boat. If you have a big job ahead, we recommend liquid paint. This is because you will get more coverage from a gallon of cold galvanizing paint than a spray can.
Remember, proper protection depends on accurate application. When brushing, be sure to cover the intended surface evenly. You will need to apply two coats in order to replicate the performance of hot-dip galvanizing. Professional coatings applicators actually measure the dried film thickness of the zinc-rich coating to ensure that an adequate film thickness exists.
My Boat Is Really Rusty! Do I Just Paint Over the Rust?
No! Painting over rust can jeopardize the metal surface's structural integrity and cause the paint to flake or peel off. Rust is a sign of corrosion, which can weaken and deteriorate metal surfaces over time. Painting over rust does not address the root problem—it just covers it up. In fact, it actually exacerbates the situation over time.
You will need to power wash the area, wipe it down with a solvent, and use a wire brush to remove excess microorganism growth or spots beginning to rust, then recoat it. One coat is enough if it’s done annually. When you’re preparing the surface of the metal, you want to be sure you remove:
- Paint chips
You can learn more about how to prepare for ZRC application in our blog, Frequently Asked Questions on Surface Preparation for Zinc-Rich Coatings.
Will Using ZRC on My Boat Do Anything Other Than Rust Prevention?
Yes! Let’s face it- rust isn’t the only thing threatening the structural integrity of your boat. An annual spray of ZRC cold galvanizing compounds keeps barnacles, algae, and other underwater microorganisms at bay.
Where Do I Buy ZRC?
We make it incredibly easy to get the rust prevention products you need for your boat, because you can order ZRC directly through our website. One of the most significant benefits of making a purchase online is convenience. You can shop for your needed rust prevention products from anywhere at any time, without having to leave your office or home. This saves you time and effort.
That’s not to say shopping online is your only option. In fact, many happy ZRC customers get their products by going directly to a ZRC dealer. This option can provide several advantages, including the fact that they have extensive product knowledge and keep the product in stock, which is incredibly helpful if you need to use it right away.
Order Your Needed Rust Prevention Product Online
You can prevent rust buildup on your boat, especially on the underside of the hull, running gear, propeller shafts, propellers, rudders, and trim tabs. The old saying “prevention is better than cure” applies to your boat. Keeping a sharp eye out for corrosion and taking action early are critical parts of preventive maintenance.
It’s important to note, however, that not just any product will offer the corrosion protection you need for a price you’re happy to pay. ZRC cold galvanizing products are your on-site solution for rust prevention. There are marine-only focused products on the market that came to do the same thing our cold galvanizing compounds do – with a much higher price tag.
With these products, you’re paying for the niche product focused only on boats, when the truth is that our products deliver rust prevention for gates, fences, boats, bridges, transmission towers, and more. Metal is metal, and ZRC protects metal.
It isn’t just the price that’s better. Our unique formula provides a self-healing galvanic film that is impossible for others to match. The ZRC difference is made possible by ZRC’s high zinc content (95% by weight in the dried film) of “ultra-pure” zinc dust (ASTM D520 Type III) and proprietary, non-encapsulating binder. To learn more, and see how it applies to your specific situation, we encourage you to read about our successful work with marinas and the hard data that backs up our claims.