Open Your Eyes to a Far Simpler and More Cost Effective Refit Season


11 Oct Open Your Eyes to a Far Simpler and More Cost Effective Refit Season

We had a fantastic show this year at Monaco. Thank you to all attendees. The next Rock Your Refit Event will be in Palma on the 3rd and 4th November. Click here to register and find out more…

Clare Hoar, Marketing Director of Wild Group comments,

​’​Rock Your Refit ​was a great success at Monaco this year.  

T​he event​​ that pulled together a panel of refit experts ​proved to be a great initiative and we have received very positive feedback from both attendees and participants. It gave us an opportunity to answer some of those frequently asked questions to a very targeted audience. 

We look forward to the next event in Palma,”​

For those that didn’t make it please read on below for FAQ’s, covering many questions and offers solutions.


What is the Durability under UV?

The real durability of a product depends on a large number of parameters, including, among others, the quality and the preparation of the substrate, exposure (environment, climate, exposure angle), the maintenance of the vinyl and the amount of pollution.

The degradation of the materials (such as the slight and progressive change of the colour and the gloss) is a natural and unavoidable phenomenon for both vinyl and paint.  

Because of the great variety of substrates and possible application methods the installer must examine the suitability of the media for each application.

The pigments (colouring) of the PVC film influence the durability of the colours.  An estimate of the durability is obtained by aging tests of the cast vinyl under UV-rays and by natural exposure.  Based on a vertical exposure, White and matt blacks (vinyl) can last approximately 10 years in a central European climate, considerably longer than the paint alternative for these specific paints.

Colours, other matts and gloss tinged vinyls have an indicative durability of eight years.  Structured effect vinyls (carbon, alligator, sequin, leather, brushed aluminium) have an expected five years durability and metallic (gold, silver and chrome) four years.  

Other positions accentuate the climatic impact and an alteration of gloss, colour and even a slight powder effect may occur.  A vinyl application on an engine hood for example is particularly harsh because of the horizontal exposure and the heat coming from the engine.

What is the longevity of the vinyl?

As with paint, this depends on what you are asking the vinyl to do.

On exterior work vinyls have a great resistance to UV but will be damaged by coming alongside with no fenders down.

If left alone (no hitting pontoons) vinyl can be as stable as the best paints and is certainly better than gel coat.

For reasons that we have not worked out, vinyl fairs very well against fender wear.

What is the durability of the film?

Paint has been argued as being more durable and tougher than a film, however, this depends on the quality of paint and vinyl being compared, one thing that can not be argued is that paint is less convenient, costly to repair and suffers considerable Health & Safety/Green issues compared to vinyl.

In order to get the best durability, vinyl selection is very critical because some films perform better in certain situations than others. On one end of the scale there are industrial films used on floors in production plants and shopping centers and at the other end there are delicate decorative films for walls, there are films on planes, cars, trains, busses.. and boats so it is difficult to talk about ‘durability’ across the board – however we would expect a correctly selected film to give very good durability.

How easy is it to repair damaged vinyl?

There are 2 levels for repairing vinyl.

The first is owner/crew repairs, which are carried out on the fly, this usually involves a ‘patch’ over a damaged area (in the same colour) to give colour consistency in that area. This is a very convenient solution for small areas and while the boat is out in service.

The second level is for larger damaged areas, and these is best repaired by skilled fitters.

How big can the vinyl go?

Vinyls come in different roll lengths and widths, however, the norm is 50m long x 1.5m wide. This is for the main reason that vinyls wider than this are difficult to manage on site.

Will I see any joins?

Only if you are looking for them.  We generally say unless you know the joins are there you won’t see them as they are disguised over features like chines/cavita lines/stripes and so on. A skillful fitter will put joins in places where light changes on the boat and so they are difficult to see.

“People always ask are there joins as the current thoughts are always in paint.   We want to work with designers with the intention of using vinyl so we can then provide the correct platforms to disguise the joins. “ comments Greg Hoar

Does my yacht need to come out of the water?

This is a question commonly asked on full hull wraps, and in this instance the answer is ‘Yes’, but there is a lot of work that can be done in the water – interior work being the obvious example, however, work on super structure and detailing may also be able to be done in the water.

How do I maintain a vinyl finish? Do I need to Buff?

Do not buff vinyl. Keep it clean by using water and cloth.

It is a good idea to use products like ToughGuard and frequent use polish to help keep the vinyl looking as good as it possibly can be.

How long will it take to install?

This depends on the size and complexity of the project. Vinyl has the advantage of being quicker than paint because the job only needs doing once, here is an example.

To paint a waterline stripe you have to

  1. mask the stripe
  2. prep the surface
  3. spray a primer
  4. spray a 1st coat
  5. spray a finish coat
  6. remove masking

so you are going down the boat 6 times.

To apply a vinyl stripe you only go down the boat once, and at most twice if the stipe is tapering.. it is not that vinyl is cheaper but rather that you do the job fewer times.

Is it easy to remove?

Yes, far easier than paint!

Its not a fun job but essentially its just a case of peeling the vinyl back. Subject to how long the film has been applied it may leave some adhesive residue behind. This is easily removed with a mild solvent and elbow grease.

Here is a big advantage for vinyl films, you can buy a new boat in white, colour it in vinyl and when you come to sell strip it back to white – revealing a brand new gel/painted surface to potential new owners.

How important is the fairing/ straightness?

It is particularly important for vinyl or foils as these are a constant thickness layer of film that follow the contours of the yacht.  Vinyl film does not have the filling properties that paint has.

How important is the quality of the film used?

Wild Group only use the highest quality selected marine coated vinyl film and cannot emphasise enough the importance of this.  Incorrect vinyl selection may lead to shrinkage, adhesion failure and premature breakdown of the film.

Does vinyl offer the same deep coat finish as paint?

It is important to note that vinyl is not comparable to paint but an alternative method with varying advantages and disadvantages so in order to set expectations it must be noted that Vinyl film does not offer the deep finish that paint can offer but it does offer a host of colours and effects for interior and exteriors as well as solutions for problems that arise in paint such as more durable matt finishes and intricate detailing that are simply too complex for a sprayer.

How do paint and vinyl compare when it comes to Matt finishes?

Matt paint is very difficult to apply and touch up as it can’t be buffed or polished in the way that gloss can.  The majority of problems occur with suncream/ oil based spillage marks which soak into the paint and cannot be buffed out, similar to marks made when coming alongside pontoons.  By buffing the paint becomes glossy and uneven in tone to the rest of the matt coat often resulting in the costly option of a total coat re spray to maintain the consistent finish.

Matt or textured vinyls lend themselves to a vinyl finish as they are considerably easier to repair.  Vinyl is also a great solution as a ‘touch up’ for a paint finish proving an exact match for matt black such as in the case of MY Air.

True matt black vinyl marks easily so satins are advised as these are more durable.

What Health & Safety issues are there to consider?

With vinyl it is important to follow the standard health & safety procedures but you do not need the extensive equipment (breathing equipment, eyewash stations, technical clothing, extracts) or carry the same risks as with a paint job.  There are no fire and explosive hazards.

Would you consider it a greener option than paint?

Yes because the solvents are locked in.

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