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Old 05-01-2012, 01:08 PM   #1
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Paint w gelcoat ???

A fisherman here in Thorne Bay is about to paint his boat w gelcoat. As I recall there is a serious downside to that. If so what is it?

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Old 05-01-2012, 01:37 PM   #2
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Is his boat fiberglass? If so, the boat can be re-gelcoated but it's very expensive and has to be done exactly right for it to look good. Most of the time when the gelcoat is shot on a boat--- like on ours--- the cure is not to re-gelcoat it for the reasons stated above but to prep the surface and paint the boat. A lot of high-end fiberglass boat manufacturers are not using gelcoat at all anymore but are simply painting their boats from the outset.

Advantage of paint is that it can be easily touched up if it gets scratched. Gelcoat chips and dings and the repair for these is a lot more exacting and time-consuming than a quick paint touch up, and you still have the task of applying and blending new gelocat on top of the repair.

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Old 05-01-2012, 04:49 PM   #3
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I marine yard I used to do business with had a guy that would roll on the gelcoat with a roller. Overspray with a setting agent and then buff everything out with rubbing compound after the gelcoat hardened. He learned it from a pickup camper shell place that made fiberglass shells and then sprayed the gelcoat. I can't tell what or who's products he used but it looked pretty darn good.
I thought about trying the gelcoat route when I did Scout but convinced myself a good 2-part paint was the way to go. I made the right decision.

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Old 05-01-2012, 09:58 PM   #4
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There is a resurgence here on the East Coast for re-gel coating...the arguement is that compared to some paints it is easier to fix....and if thick enough after 5 year intervals...can be buffed out again for another 20-25 years whereas paint after ten years needs a new coat if it isn't already full of unsightly touchups.

Not sure where I stand and what I will do when that project hits #1 on the to do list.
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Old 05-04-2012, 10:10 PM   #5
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Having Both

Gelcoat is easier to repair by far, that's the only good thing about it in my book. It takes far more maintenance than cross linked polyurethane. Very soon they require buffing and polishing every year to maintain a shine. Sterling cross linked polyurethane has a 10 year warranty and only requires washing. Hatteras paints over gel coat as does many high end boats. The down side to paint is the cost of material and application. A fifty foot trawler in Awl Grip or Sterling will cost over a 100k to have prepped and painted. My boat was painted 5 years ago with Sterling and looks like new. At a Nordic tug cruise one of the tug owners commented that his five year old tug looked nowhere near as good as my 36 year old Hatteras. I checked out his tug and he was right. His red hull was blotchy and need rubbing out badly. Dark colors and gel coat fade quickly.
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Old 05-05-2012, 11:54 AM   #6
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Thank you very much Marin, Anode, psneeld and Scary,

I have passed your comments along to the boat owner in Thorne Bay.
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Old 05-06-2012, 08:49 AM   #7
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The thing that most impressed me with the two pack marine paints was when I used it in our shower at home. When we bought the house the shower tray was one of the then quite new composite materials, but poorly installed, as it as unsupported, with a void underneath. It cracked not long after we moved in. I repaired the crack with epoxy, filled the void with foam, then tried fibreglass resin, flow-coat, even Brightside, as finish coats, and they all cracked and peeled quite quickly. In desperation I sanded it back, then put on 3 coats of International (Interlux in Nth Am) Perfection two-pack, and do you know - that surface was so good we couldn't kill it. In the end just last year we had the whole bathroom gutted and replaced everything, but right up till when it was ripped out, the Parfection two pack paint was still holding up - and I might add we had long since abandoned the practice of wiping it dry after showers. Something I thought we should do initially, to try and lengthen its life. I have since had the boat hull done in the same paint, and it looks fantastic. Post-manufacture Gelcoat is just no match.
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Old 05-15-2012, 08:20 PM   #8
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I had a red hull, built in 1977. Within 5 yrs it was going blotchy and chalky. I painted it with Petit "Easypoxy" a one part epox based paint. That lasted poorly as well, and within another 5 yrs I was ready t otry something else. In 1988 I painted it (by brush) with International Two part Polyurethane. It turned out great. I saw the boat in 2008 and it still looked better than it had before either repaint.

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