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Old 02-01-2014, 09:48 AM   #1
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Painted boats: to buy or not to buy?

That is the question. I know some high-end boats like Hatteras come that way from the factory, but I'm curious about boats that started life as gel coat and were later painted for whatever reason. I worry about obligating myself to a future major expense when it would inevitably need re-painting. Also, I'm not sure of how much abuse Awlgrip or the like can take vs gel coat. So my inclination is to look for well-maintained gel coat and try to keep it that way. But I'd like to know what others think. Would paint be a deal- breaker?
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Old 02-01-2014, 10:00 AM   #2
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Not for me, the two part epoxy paints are as tough or tougher than gel coat, and many high end builder offer this as an option. On older boats, the before painting prep is the key to a first class job. Look very close at the details, as was the teak trim removed before painting or just taped off, dings filled and faired , etc.
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Old 02-01-2014, 10:03 AM   #3
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Greetings,
Mr. 99. We are currently in the process of a re-paint. Reason? Checkered gelcoat, removal of numerous redundant fasteners/clips/mounts with resultant patches and a general clean-up (make her look purty). I can appreciate the anticipated large expense you suggest but for me paint is not a deal breaker. Over the years, gelcoat will become nicked and scratched and need SOME sort of repair so unless one does the repair perfectly any "new" gelcoat will be visible.
I guess it all depends on your level of acceptance. Do you want a 10' boat or a 75' boat? (looks good from 10' away or 75' away)?
Don't forget, Awlgrip can be waxed as well.
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Old 02-01-2014, 10:07 AM   #4
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A recently painted later model (since Katrina) boat is a little bit of a red flag to me.
A properly prepared and painted hull is not a problem in itself (unless it`s dark blue )
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Old 02-01-2014, 10:55 AM   #5
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As my boat is approaching 10 years old, I have decided to paint the black hull to bring it back to its new luster. You can only polish gelcoat so many times. It will be repainted the same color because I like it. Here is the paint that I plan to have applied.

Alexseal Yacht Coatings: Yacht Paint, Primers & Fillers for the Marine Environment | Alexseal Yacht Coatings

It can be waxed and even touched up unlike Imron or Awlgrip.

We are fortunate on this forum to have some great professional resources. Because he is in South Florida, and is affiliated with a large reputable yacht yard (Bradford Yachts). I asked Tucker Fallon (Yachtbrokerguy) about this paint. He was kind enough to ask their paint guy who has been with the yard 30 years. He gives a big thumbs up to this paint. Thanks Tucker.
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Old 02-01-2014, 11:56 AM   #6
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If you can find the boat you want that has gel-coat, that you know is in good condition and was not just waxed, great, but boats that are 20 years old or so, typically, the gel-coat has oxidized to the point to warrant painting or there are scratches, dings and visible repairs.

Hobo was gel-coat and then painted. When we bought her, the paint was six years old. We repainted her in 2013 after 12 years with Awlcraft 2000. We could have gone longer but we were in the place to get it done. It's not as hard as gel-coat, but easy to repair. We should get another 12 years or so and the way I look at it, the new owners will be repainting it next time.
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Old 02-01-2014, 01:08 PM   #7
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I prefere paint

I am currently working on a thirty foot sail boat with stunning fresh black gelcoat, I'm in the process replacing the deck wood and some of the interior. A crew of three spent four weeks full time stripping and applying new gelcoat to the hull. This is a fairly small boat. More time was spent finish sanding and buffing than stripping and application of gelcoat.
My boat has a 9 year old Sterling paint job that still looks wet . It has never had a buffer or wax applied. I expect at least another 10 years out of the paint.
That black gelcoat will need buffing at least once a year, and wax at least twice to remain looking nice. On a thirty foot sailboat, a chore, but not the ordeal of buffing and waxing a 50' boat.
If your maintaining your own boat, can you imagine how many hours it would take to buff and wax a 50' trawler.
High quality paint is wash and wear.
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Old 02-01-2014, 01:10 PM   #8
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That looks really, really nice Larry!

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Old 02-01-2014, 02:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scary View Post
...High quality paint is wash and wear.
Pretty much what we have experienced.

However, on the last paint, which was Awlgrip, we did apply Awlcare after 9 years. We did notice the benefit at the boot stripe (blue), stern from the engine exhaust and where the AC discharge splashes against the hull. The Awlcare made cleaning these areas much easier.

http://www.awlgrip.com/products/main...e/awlcare.aspx

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That looks really, really nice Larry!

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Thanks!
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Old 02-01-2014, 02:59 PM   #10
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++ for Sterling. See posts in the archives
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Old 02-01-2014, 03:13 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by angus99 View Post
That is the question. I know some high-end boats like Hatteras come that way from the factory, but I'm curious about boats that started life as gel coat and were later painted for whatever reason. I worry about obligating myself to a future major expense when it would inevitably need re-painting. Also, I'm not sure of how much abuse Awlgrip or the like can take vs gel coat. So my inclination is to look for well-maintained gel coat and try to keep it that way. But I'd like to know what others think. Would paint be a deal- breaker?
Not a deal breaker for me. My neighbor has an old gulfstar he painted with awl grip 10 years ago and she looks better than all of the gel coated boats on the dock. Made me actually paint mine but I went with Alex seal. Paint is much easier to keep looking good.

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Old 02-01-2014, 04:10 PM   #12
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I had an Albin 25 for 6 years and for the first 5 didn't know it was painted. Found out when I asked a detailler to buff my topsides. I told him I wanted to protect my gelcoat. As soon as he told me it was paint I could see it right away. I'd giv'in it 5 years of normal cruising semi-abuse and it looked great but I had the boat out of the water and ....... . I felt foolish of course but I'd sure like to know what that paint was. Probably a 2 part Polly. Anyway it showed me how great paint can be.
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Old 02-01-2014, 04:55 PM   #13
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the boat we hav enow is Awlgriped. the previous boats were gelcoat. the Awlgrip is sooooooooooooo much easier to clean..........
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Old 02-01-2014, 05:10 PM   #14
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Thanks for the perspective. All my boats have been gel coat so it's good to know how many of you are happy with paint. I won't rule out a painted boat automatically. (Larry, the Awlgrip looks terrific.)
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Old 02-01-2014, 05:13 PM   #15
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As stated earlier if applied correctly ( fittings removed not taped) you can't go wrong.

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Old 02-01-2014, 06:17 PM   #16
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I've been giving some thought to painting our Tug lately and have been doing a fair bit of reading etc. now I just need to find the right outfit to do the job. Any suggestions???
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Old 02-01-2014, 10:28 PM   #17
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jukesy,

No city or even state under your avatar so no idea.
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Old 02-02-2014, 12:04 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by angus99 View Post
Thanks for the perspective. All my boats have been gel coat so it's good to know how many of you are happy with paint. I won't rule out a painted boat automatically. (Larry, the Awlgrip looks terrific.)
Correct conclusion there, for sure. The gelcoat on our Lotus had been repainted once at least, by a PO himself I suspect, and after several years was not looking good. We took the plunge and for $7000, had it done again professionally, taken right back and two-paced with International (Interlux) Perfection, and the finish is absolutely brilliant. It will definitely have added to the resale…in fact, as others have mentioned, it is regarded by the professionals that a good two-pack paint is superior to gelcoat, and some new boats are finished this way on purpose.

Here is a shot 3 yrs down the track from the hull repaint, (just washed - never polished yet), and we went with black new Micron Extra anti foul this time, rather than blue.
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Old 02-02-2014, 01:30 AM   #19
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I've got to admit to a bit of paint envy seeing these photos of glossy painted hulls. My 45 year old gel is still in great shape thanks to being boathouse kept its whole life but doesn't hold a candle to these painted finishes.

I had better stay away from this thread as all this boat porn is giving me expensive ideas.
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Old 02-02-2014, 01:53 AM   #20
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You can buff paint, and gelcoat, but paint is thin, keep the gelcoat for as long as it responds to renovating techniques.
The first paint job is usually the worst in terms of effort and cost, because the surface needs filling and sanding all over before painting, needs lots of labour.
Last haulout I had the topsides buff polished, well worth doing. 2 years back I had some painting done, mainly inside the bulwarks all round and the FB supports inside and out, and noticed the comparative dullness of the paint on the cabin sides. I took to it by hand, using 3M gelcoat restoring polish on the more exposed oxidized parts. They either had to come good or be repainted,fortunately they came good, that 2 pack paint is tough stuff.
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