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Old 22-03-2014, 14:03   #31
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Re: Paint

the more polish and sanding you to, the less gelcoat. do not be fooled! Depends on the boat. Gelcoats may be anywhere from 12 to 22 mils thick.

EDIT: 0.5 mm to 0.8 mm (0.02 in to 0.03 in) thick.
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Old 23-03-2014, 06:51   #32
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Re: Paint

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Originally Posted by SaltyMonkey View Post
the more polish and sanding you to, the less gelcoat. do not be fooled! Depends on the boat. Gelcoats may be anywhere from 12 to 22 mils thick.

EDIT: 0.5 mm to 0.8 mm (0.02 in to 0.03 in) thick.

Yep, that too.

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Old 23-03-2014, 11:34   #33
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Re: Paint

I guess I'm still not clear on this "gelcoat" topic. I need "Boat Paint for Dummies". A couple of you told me there is no such thing as an "original paint job", and you have also stated that the gelcoat is a part of the hull? I have been picturing a few coats of paint with a clear gloss protective gel as the final coat, the "gelcoat". Is this wrong? Are you telling me that these older boats were never actually painted??? The gel in the fiberglass makes them shine
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Old 23-03-2014, 11:48   #34
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Re: Paint

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I guess I'm still not clear on this "gelcoat" topic. I need "Boat Paint for Dummies". A couple of you told me there is no such thing as an "original paint job", and you have also stated that the gelcoat is a part of the hull? I have been picturing a few coats of paint with a clear gloss protective gel as the final coat, the "gelcoat". Is this wrong? Are you telling me that these older boats were never actually painted??? The gel in the fiberglass makes them shine


Gelcoat is just polyester resin with pigment to make it colored and UV inhibitors to make it last. A thick coat is sprayed into the mold right before glassing. It is much thicker and harder than any paint could possibly be.
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Old 23-03-2014, 11:51   #35
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Re: Paint

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A thick coat is sprayed into the mold right before glassing.
Define thick.
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Old 23-03-2014, 12:13   #36
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Re: Paint

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Gelcoat is just polyester resin with pigment to make it colored and UV inhibitors to make it last. A thick coat is sprayed into the mold right before glassing. It is much thicker and harder than any paint could possibly be.
Ohhhh...got it. The boat has no paint. The gel is protecting the glass. Glad that's cleared up. Thanks.
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Old 23-03-2014, 12:14   #37
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Re: Paint

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Define thick.
You already did. Spray booth operators are instructed to apply at 16-24 wet mils, which works out to about what you said in dry mils. I have seen wild variation in practice though....
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Old 23-03-2014, 12:16   #38
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Re: Paint

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Ohhhh...got it. The boat has no paint. The gel is protecting the glass. Glad that's cleared up. Thanks.


Of course. You might consider reading up a bit on basic boat construction.
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Old 23-03-2014, 12:46   #39
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Re: Paint

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About the same, for a hull, IF you can find someone who does it. For a deck, gel is slightly more work. Materials are much less though. The key, IMO, is that since you wet sand and buff gelcoat, excellent results are guaranteed for the amateur. The same cannot be said of painting.
That being the case, comparable skill and labor and cost, I don't see why anyone would ever use Awlgrip. Gelcoat is at least twice as good as awlgrip, any day. Just lack of knowledge? For my part, it never would have occurred to me to try a complete "retrofit" gelcoat job. Maybe I'll do that though.
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Old 23-03-2014, 12:53   #40
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Re: Paint

I think many people know how to paint, but far less know how to replace Gelcoat. I knew it could be done prior to this thread as I've seen repairs of course, but I did't' know a whole deck was feasible
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Old 23-03-2014, 13:24   #41
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Re: Paint

You guys should check out CPA's "Compass 47 Refit" thread. Competent amateur, did his without spraying, in the slip I believe.
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Old 23-03-2014, 13:54   #42
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Re: Paint

Some of the confustion is a very small number of fiberglass boats actually came painted. So in theory, you could have original paint.

But it's really just nitpicking. The vast majority of production cruising boats come with gelcoat that was sprayed into the mold before the fiberglass was laid.

Gelcoat is generally softer than paint but the extra thickness allows for much more agressive sanding/compounding/buffing over the years without going all the way thru to the underlying fiberglas (eventually, enough friction will go thru it). As it ages it tends to become pourous making it easy to stain and requiring more heavy duty compounding to get down to a good surface (to a degree keeping up on the wax and buffing will slow this process)
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Old 25-03-2014, 06:55   #43
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Re: Paint

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Some of the confustion is a very small number of fiberglass boats actually came painted.
I realize there are some sport runabouts, ski barges, jetskis and the like that have paint or decals, but just curious, have you ever seen a "yacht" come from the builder with paint? Surely, ALL hulls are built with gelcoat, even if they are then painted over?
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Old 25-03-2014, 07:44   #44
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Re: Paint

GalaxyGirl, glad you got the distinction between paint and gelcoat. Just think of gelcoat as part of the fiberglass.

We have owned a number of boats ranging in age from early 70's through early 2000's so we have owned hulls in almost every stage of deterioration. Our progression of hull treatments/coatings goes like this. We always preserve the original gelcoat for as long as is possible. As long as we can compound, wax, buff or whatever combination to get a nice protected shine, that is always our first choice. I was just walking the boatyard last weekend watching people doing their spring commissioning and it's amazing how many old boats still had good looking original gelcoat. But most of those boats had a loving owner with wax and buffer in hand giving the boat the care it needs.

When the gelcoat is in generally good condition (no major damage/repaired areas, or thin see-through areas) but can no longer be brought up to a shine we graduate to Poliglow. Poliglow does require some maintenance, annual or bi-annual refreshing, depending on your area, but can be removed easily enough with the cleaner/stripper that comes with it, so if you get tired of it, it doesn't have to be forever. It will definitely refresh a tired gelcoat hull though and really make it shine. This worked perfectly on our 1981 Cape Dory when no amount of buffing could bring the shine up.

When there are visible repairs to the gelcoat or for whatever reason Poliglow is no longer an option we then go to a one-part paint like Interlux Brightsides. We prefer that because we can do it ourselves and it's easy to refresh the finish whenever you need to. My husband is very good with it and always gets a beautiful finish. This was the route chosen for most of our 70's vintage hulls. If we happen to rub up against something we don't have a heart attack about it like we might if we had spent several thousand on an $$ Awlgrip job because we know that we can repair it ourselves without breaking the bank.

In between repainting we wash and wax and care for it just like we would gelcoat.

Becky
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Old 25-03-2014, 08:04   #45
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Re: Paint

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I realize there are some sport runabouts, ski barges, jetskis and the like that have paint or decals, but just curious, have you ever seen a "yacht" come from the builder with paint? Surely, ALL hulls are built with gelcoat, even if they are then painted over?
Decals would be a whole different subject and doesn't really play into the gelcoat vs paint discussion (they can be applied to either)

I know of no jetskis or ski boats that are painted. I can't think of any fiberglass boats in the 30-45' range that came original with paint. There may be some but very uncommon.

I believe if you get into some of the larger fiberglass yatchs paint is more common (70-80' +).

My point was while it's possible, it is very much the exception to have a fiberglass boat that comes from the factory painted.
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