Arke Stairs
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Painting the Dock’s Metal Roofing; Dock Update Number Two

What a beautiful weekend we had to begin the dock renovation.  Several sections of metal roofing on the fish house had to be replaced following a fall storm. Upon further inspection many of the panels that were still in place had to have new roofing screws installed and old screws refastened.  The windward panels had begun to lift up, so I refastened those with additional screws along the exposed edge.  Be sure and check these panels as they receive the most wind during storms and are most susceptible to failure.  Also I noticed where the original installation did not take into account wind direction.  By overlapping edges of the metal roofing so that the windward panel rest on top of the leeward panel you can lessen the wind load by allowing the wind to slide over the panels without catching on exposed edges of panels.

The roofing over the boat slip is a large area, 26×40 feet. The roofing here is galvanized and original going back to 1972. Several coats of roofing material have been applied over the years and after prepping this area, a primer was needed to allow the new topcoat to have a surface it could bond to. I used ValSpar’s exterior oil based primer. It took  five gallons to cover this area.  I know the math says five gallons would cover more square footage than this, but trust me, if I had 10 gallons of primer I would have used all of it here.   For the top coat I used ValSpar’s Duramax Exterior Semi-gloss.  Of all of the available paints I have tried, the Duramax has performed well enough to use in this application.

Using the Milwaukee Spray Paint System, I was able to apply the paint quickly.  I had attached a 50 foot section of Graco hose to allow additional length and fewer relocations of the paint system. Basically once I had the paint system primed and the hoses hauled up to the roof, I didn’t want to come down until I was finished.

A few things to look out for when painting roofs on docks or on boat slips or boat houses.

A) Ensure the roof can support your weight safely

B) On docks ladder safety is  primary. On floating docks, passing boats can create waves and cause your ladder to slip. Secure your ladder to prevent this.

C) Working on elevated areas around water you should wear a personal flotation device. If you fall you may be knocked unconscious or injured and unable to keep yourself afloat until help arrives.

D) Working on roofs is extremely hot, prevent dehydration by drinking plenty of water and take care to avoid excessive sun exposure by working in early mornings or late afternoons, using sunblock and common sense.

If you are using a sprayer on corrugated roofing, ensure full coverage by proper gun alignment. Using a 619 tip, I was able to coat all faces of the roofing by aiming at the center of the valleys. The raised edges of the corrugation were also covered in one pass when using this method. This saved paint and time.  I wanted to have the painting finished before the heat of the day. So as soon as the dew had cleared I began painting.  Be sure and check your paint’s label for proper paint application temperature ranges.

The painting went well. I used more paint than expected, but other than taking a nasty fall from the ladder I had no surprises.  What a difference a fresh paint job made.  By using a quality paint, primer and proper preparation I hope to avoid painting this area again for many years.  I painted the boat slip roof a sky blue.  I painted its underside the same sky blue.  I don’t know whether there is any truth to the theory that sky blue eaves and areas that are exterior but covered confuses wasps and dirt daubers.  But I decided to give it a try and will let you know how effective the sky blue theory is.

Our next step will be to begin the prep work on the lower steel structures. There is a lot of loose rust and flaking paint that must be removed before those areas are rust converted, cleaned, primed and painted.  Several companies have asked us to take a look at products in this area and we will try those out and see how they perform.  Thanks to Lowe’s and Milwaukee Tools for sponsoring this portion of the dock renovation.

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