Restoring a boat can be tough work, let alone expensive. Whether you’ve recently bought an old vessel that needs a bit of TLC, or your own boat is starting to look like it was found on the bottom of the ocean, we’ve shared 5 boat restoration secrets below that will save you both time and money.
1. You don’t need to use expensive rust removers!
Forget searching on Amazon for the latest craze of rust removers. Not only can they be expensive but also highly corrosive if used incorrectly. Instead, start searching in the back of your cupboards. A toothbrush coated in a little baking soda, salt or white vinegar will do just the trick and bring your stained fiberglass up to a sparkly finish. Don’t have a spare toothbrush lying around? Try using something of a similar texture. Anything harsher, such as steel wool will only damage the finish of the fiberglass and cause more problems than you set out to resolve.
If you don’t mind investing a bit on some new products, try a little Barkeepers friend for around £3.
2. Laundry detergent is your new best pal!
Believe it or not, laundry detergent not only cleans your clothes whilst out at sea, but also works wonders on cleaning your hull. It can help melt away the most stubborn oil rings and any nasty dark patches lurking around your boat, that are unavoidable when being submerged in water.
Simply lather it up and watch it work. Unlike soap, laundry detergent won’t dry out either whilst you’re cleaning, so it’s much easier to get the hull up to a standard that you’ll be proud to show off. As a tip, try to avoid those detergents that have a pearl gleam to them as these are more likely to contain ingredients that may affect your hull’s surface.
3. Sanding down your woodwork will instantly transform your boat
Using an electric sander to remove the old varnish on your vessel, ready to repaint with a top quality varnish, will work wonders for renewing your boat’s finish. Sanding the surface will also clean up any cracks, discoloration and stains too.
After sanding, simply wipe down the wood with a clean cloth, to remove any dust and use a wood appropriate varnish to make it gleam. Why not continue your sanding efforts into the interior of your boat too and finish up with a little lemon oil. Not only will it renew the look of your interior, but it will also fill your boat with a fresh aroma.
4. The white vinegar in your cupboard will save you a fortune
Once you’ve cleaned up the hull, exterior and interior wood, it’s time to tackle the fabrics. Forget abrasive bleach, pricey fabric cleaners and toxic smelling carpet shampoos. All you need is a bottle of white vinegar.
Grab a soft brush and mix up some white vinegar with some water (don’t dilute it too much) and you’re ready to go. The vinegar will kill off any mould in fabrics, remove musty smells and after a short soak on the carpet and a vacuum, it will clean your flooring up perfectly.
As with most cleaning jobs, the white vinegar method works best if you tackle a manageable section at a time, rather than trying to clean up the entire carpet at once. Let the vinegar mixture sit for a few minutes (longer on those stubborn stains) before rinsing with clean water and letting the area dry completely.
5. Think outside the box with your furniture
Furnishing on a budget? Try your local yard sales to pick up some bargains, or if you’d prefer to invest in some quirky DIY furnishings to go with your new, sparkly boat instead, then look no further than IKEA… yes IKEA!
Not only do they sell cheap, modern and easy to put together flat pack furnishings, but their products are also amazingly versatile. Among the many different things that can be repurposed for nautical use are:
● “LUROY” bed slats: Create a bed or seating area in the smallest of areas on board.
● “MONGSTAD” Mirror : hang on the wall and fold down to transform into a stowaway dining table
● “GRUNDTAL” stainless steel utensil rail; whether you need a towel rail, pot lid rack, rope holder or just somewhere to hang things.
● “BEKVAM” spice racks: use to store spices, jewellery, towels, or hang upside down to store books, clothes or keys.
● Hanging fruits and vegetable baskets for hats and gloves
After completing our five tips above, the rest is really up to you! Whatever you choose to do when spending a little time on restoration, we hope we’ve given you a great start on reviving your boat and getting it up to scratch, ready for an adventure on the water.
For even more tips on how to restore an aging boat, check out our article on 11 Amazing Boat Restoration Hacks over on Boats and Outboards.
Tips provided by Laura Roots at boatsandoutboards.co.uk