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S&S Swan Maintenance - General (Toerail) Maintenance
20 October 2016 - 17:42
Join Date: 20 March 2016
Posts: 16

General (Toerail) Maintenance

I am noticing major pitting of the toerail. I would like to put a protective coat to protect it and make it look nicer. This is urgent and I do not wish to remove the toerails as it is not necessary. I am looking for some sort of spray-on or paint-on finish that will protect what I have, stop any further corrosive or galvanic activity, and make my toerails look nice. Any links or contacts would be appreciated. Thank you.

20 October 2016 - 19:30
Join Date: 29 January 2007
Posts: 1018

Dear Diogenes,

please do not forget our toerails are anodized, and painting does not go very well with it. All the friends who applied paint on the toerail, are obliged to do the painting very often.

Onboard Libelula (65/033) they did a very good job with a grey paint, but I am pretty sure they will from now on do it every year.

Is yours so bad? Are you sure it is not just cosmetic or slightly corroded only on the surface? Do not forget it took 30/40 years to corrode just as it is now, so, it's likely it will take about the same time to corrode more deeply!

Fair winds!

matteo (47/069 Vanessa)


21 October 2016 - 00:47
Join Date: 20 March 2016
Posts: 16

Thanks for the clarification. In reviewing this, I need a brush on anodize repair, not paint. A brush on chemical conversion coating which would convert the surface to provide a similar, though generally thinner and not as durable type of skin, for corrosion resistance. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.

21 October 2016 - 13:45
Join Date: 02 January 2008
Posts: 1547

Dear Diogenes

The problem here is that the anodizing layer in the toe rail bolt holes has been broken, and galvanic corrosion now occurs between the rail and the bolts, With the time this creates small crevices collecting water around the bolts, and these crevices stay wet the longer the deeper they are - a vicious circle. The anodizing can not be restored without removal of the rail.
Preventing water from standing there would stop this, and additional cathodic protection can be provided by using an anodic substance for filling the crevices. Duralac is well known, but yellow in color, and it might be preferable to use a grey paint with a high zinc content, for example International Interzinc 22 with 85% zinc dust.
The crevices should be flushed with fresh water before they are filled, in ocean water the recommendation is to do it just before the treatment, and blow the crevice dry, 
This is a brush-on prevention, do you feel it would be possible to fill the crevices as proposed? The recommendation is to also fill the screw head slots, and cover the heads if they are lower than the rail surface, so water will drain off from these spots. 
Will require some time spent on deck though.
Kind regards

28 October 2016 - 13:41
Join Date: 02 February 2007
Posts: 126

This is an interesting and important subject for many of us. When i first viewed Tigris pre purchase the inside of her rails had been painted with white epoxy which was peeeling off. It looked horrible and i had it removed which turned into an enormous job in terms of hours for Jamestown Boatyard. Next we tried an alloy primer and grey paint and it looked like it was, a poor paint job so we removed that and tried another approach. What we do now is sponge on a Nano technology coating called Permanon twice a year which provides protection for the raw alloy but as it isnt. Surface finish it all looks the same and it doesn't bubble off. I have been doing this since 2011 and its easy to do and the corrosion looks the same. Long term future will be teak rails, but that's another subject and fuctionally what we have now is good.


29 October 2016 - 19:11
Join Date: 02 January 2008
Posts: 1547

Dear Gavin

Thank you for this interesting information.
It appears this treatment attaches to the surface, and prevents water from reaching it. This will stop the galvanic corrosion. 
Are there crevices around the toe rail screws, and does the treatment also fill them?
Kind regards

31 October 2016 - 18:26
Join Date: 02 February 2007
Posts: 126

Lars, you mix the Permanon with water for application and so it has a similar viscosity to that of water and it goes everywhere. I find it hard to judge what it does and the finish is invisible, but I have noticed that the telltale spots of corrosion don't appear after it has been applied.


01 November 2016 - 21:11
Join Date: 23 October 2011
Posts: 150

Dear Gavin,

thank you, your post is very interesting.

I have looked for Permanon in the web and I have found that there are many products.

I have not been able to be sure for which should be the right product.

Do you remember the name of the specific product?

Thank you very much,


Grampus 47/016



02 November 2016 - 11:24
Join Date: 02 February 2007
Posts: 126

I am away at work at the moment so can't see the bottle. From memory the Permanon is a pale blue colour in the bottle and it uses Nano technology. I hope this helps identify the right one.  Gavin

19 November 2016 - 20:08
Join Date: 27 August 2014
Posts: 17

My S&S had the same issue.   I was told two part deck cleaners may have damaged the anodizing.  

Our solution was to wire brush any corossion, zinc chromate any bare aluminum, than prime, fair and paint the entire toe rail with matte finish Awlgrip Gray paint.  We did not remove the stantion bases.  

That has lasted nearly 30 years and looks great.  Every 8 to 10 years we touch up around the stantion bases where water pools and there may be some galvanic coroissions between the aluminum rails and the stainless steel stantion bases and fasteners.   

This year we are hand sanding the entire toe rail and painting the entire rail.   Entire job cost is about $3500.

12 December 2016 - 04:18
Join Date: 20 March 2016
Posts: 16

Thankyou everyone for your great information. It has really helped, BIG TIME :D

I will post some before and after photos soon along with the procedure I decided upon , which includes a mixture of all the advice .


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