SV Pilgrim - 1979 Morgan 382 - Homeport: Beaufort, NC

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Painting the Interior of the Ice Box - Round 1

As mentioned in the previous post, we have chosen to paint the majority of the ice box interior prior to installing the aft panel.  While this sequence will require a second round of priming and painting for the fiberglass work around perimeter of the aft panel, we believe the overall results will be better than attempting to paint the interior of the ice box solely from the counter top access.

Achieving the durability and high gloss (read - easy to clean) finish we want in the box requires use of two part epoxy paint.  I’m not a big fan of all the chemicals and steps involved in the application of epoxy paints, but the finished product is superior to latex or enamel paints.

The yard at which we are hauled out primarily uses AlexsealPaints for their projects.  A ready supply of Alexseal primers, paints, converters, reducers, etc. at hand made the decision of what paint to use an obvious one.

Preparing to apply the first coat of primer.

One cost saving trick I have learned from the professional painters is to use aluminum foil as a tray liner.  The foil is much cheaper than the prefab plastic pan liners.  The foil can also be used to mask odd shaped objects (i.e. stanchions, cowlings, blocks, etc.).

The Alexseal primer rolled on very well.  Using the foam roller pictured above it did not require tipping to achieve a smooth surface.   I was able to roll on three coats of high build primer in one day.
Three coats of primer on the aft panel

After allowing the primer to cure for 24 hours, I sanded it down with 220 grit paper.

Ice box interior with three coats of primer.

The top coat required curing (12 to 24 hours) and sanding (320 to 400 grit) between applications.  The initial round of top coat application was the most successful. The paint flowed wonderfully off the roller and required little in the way of tipping.  I believe this is due to sheer luck with choosing the correct amount of reducer.

The second coat I added too little reducer and ended up with some brush marks from tipping.

The third coat I added too much reducer and ended up with a few sags.  Fortunately I am working inside an ice box and not along a hull or deck.

Aft panel painting completed.

Ice box interior with painting completed.

Overall I am pleased with the finished product.  Additional practice with the Alexseal topcoat would allow me to become proficient with choosing the proper amount to reducer.  I say “would” because I do not plan on spending a lot of time in my future applying epoxy paints.  Have I mentioned that painting is not my favorite activity?

The next step of the process is to permanently install the aft panel.  Once the aft panel is in place, we will be able to get work done on two fronts… Adding insulation to the lids in the galley and building out the insulation & walls in the cockpit locker.

 More images and notes from this on-going project are available in the Ice Box Rebuild Photo Album


  1. Your icebox is looking really good.

  2. Jeff, I am curious, why did you chose to go the painting route instead of just bonding the interior walls with a Formica product like This Old Boat suggested? We did our work in South Texas. In July/Sept. NOT recommended! Ken

    1. Ken,

      Feel that the large radius fillets on the inside corners and high gloss paint on the interior will make cleaning easier. Plus we wanted to avoid any seams or caulking in box as these are places that may allow water / moisture to seep behind Formica (or similar laminate) and cause mold.