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Old 04-03-2013, 17:38   #1
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Faded and porous cockpit surfaces

My cockpit and decks are needing something this season. The horizontal non-skid (cross-hatch textured) portions are looking pretty good, but the smoother cockpit walls and the back of the cabin top are stained, faded and chalky. They even rub off a white residue on your skin if you rub them hard. They are quite porous and absorbs spills.

What is the best thing to use on these portions?
Compound and wax?
Barrier coat?
Topside primer and paint?
Interdeck or similar non-skid? (I'm not sure what non-skid would look like on the vertical parts of the deck)

I'm not looking to redo the entire deck right now, but something reasonably priced that would brighten up and weatherproof the cockpit surfaces would be very helpful. I'd rather brush on than spray. Any particular product suggestions?

Thanks!
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Old 04-03-2013, 18:18   #2
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Re: Faded and porous cockpit surfaces

Any wax you put on will have to come off to apply paint. Don't use anything with sillycone. Buffing with a rubbing compound and a carnauba or other paste wax could give you a decent look for a short while. Just be careful and don't grind through the gel coat. If the gel coat is porous, it's time for re-gel coating or painting preferably with a 2 part linear polyurethane paint. Having just done it, painting the smooth part of the deck is a major job because of all the hardware and masking required. I pulled all the hardware before painting and it took me and a helper 4 days to get all the hardware, life line stanchions, toe rail, etc up and longer to put the stuff back.
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Old 05-03-2013, 07:05   #3
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Re: Faded and porous cockpit surfaces

You can achieve a very acceptable result by rolling on Awlgrip paint. Roverhi is right, removing and re-installing hardware is a pain, but if you can live with less than perfect results, then just mask it off, roll it, and you are done.
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Old 05-03-2013, 08:21   #4
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Re: Faded and porous cockpit surfaces

The professional and most expensive way to do it is to remove the hardware and to spray it with Awlgrip. Rolling it on would be less costly yet not as good looking. I have seen paint brushed over gelcoat plenty of times and in my opinion it looks pretty bad. Imagine what it would look like if you painted a car with a brush. You notice it when you see it.

Not much can be done with old gelcoat except start with a course rubbing compound and then work your way up to a fine compound and then put a coat of wax on it to slow down the oxidation that happens with all gelcoat that sits in the sun.
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Old 05-03-2013, 09:06   #5
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Re: Faded and porous cockpit surfaces

Geeez...what's all the hub-bub about! It's an old boat with chalky Gelcoat. Get some Ajax and scrub it like a bath tub. Job done. If you want to do a little more, medium rubbing compound and cheap auto wax. It will look better than the rest of the boat.
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Old 05-03-2013, 09:20   #6
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Re: Faded and porous cockpit surfaces

Be sure to try a good compound job before going down the road of painting. Gel coat is so much better than paint, even the fabulous awlgrip.

I have brought back the ugliest gel coat using 3m heavy duty compound. Use lots of compound and a brand new buffing pad. Use a good machine, not the Mickey mouse buffing machines they sell at walmart, but a good variable orbital. Even if you have to buy all this, it is still cheaper than painting.

Im pretty sure there are threads on how to achieve a good compound job, but I will hit the basics.
1) 3M coumpound, heavy duty for your highly oxidized gel coat.
2) use lots of compound, if it isn't flinging everywhere, getting in your hair and such, then you are not using enough.
3) I like to make a slurry of compound and water to get the pad nice and wet, but also have a bottle of straight compound to put directly on the pad.
4) if you get swirl marks, your pad is not wet enough.
5) be careful around corners, it easier to burn through the gel coat at the leading edges.
6) protect your beautiful compound job with a double coat of good quality wax, apply and buff by hand, the machine buffers tend to heat up and burn off the wax you are trying to apply.
7) maintain your beautiful wax job by using mild soap, harsh soap will strip your wax, and use a sponge to clean flat surfaces. Think "don't scrub the wax off"

I hope this helps, there is more to it but if I can squeeze a beautiful shine outta old gel coat, anyone can. Also if your compound job comes out unsatisfactory, you have a good start towards a paint job.

Cheers,
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Old 05-03-2013, 09:48   #7
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Re: Faded and porous cockpit surfaces

Thanks, everyone!

Living with less than perfect results is my boat's middle name, and this is just the kind of information I was looking for. I have a good polisher and I'll give it a good compounding. I'm sure that will be satisfactory for this season at least, but if it deteriorates again by next season I'll probably end up doing the awlgrip.

I've also had good luck with 3M products, but does anyone have a recommendation for what type of wax to use for best results?

Thanks again!
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Old 05-03-2013, 09:49   #8
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Re: Faded and porous cockpit surfaces

My cockpit has been buffed so many times the strands of glass are starting to grin through, and look like random stress cracks...
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Old 05-03-2013, 09:56   #9
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Re: Faded and porous cockpit surfaces

sestina, that's what the high-build epoxy primer will resolve. Then use any of the 2-part linear polyurethane paints to repair it. Awlgrip, Sterling, Pro-Line, whatever... You will now have a finish that rivals a brand-new gel coat, it will last longer, hold its color, resist abrasion and impact, in short, make you happy again about your boat's exterior. Do as the others have said, remove hardware, do the prep, and reap the rewards.

Here's an example: This old boat had lost its forward hatch overboard. The customer wanted a superior hatch that let in light. I got a new Lewmar, trapezoidal shape, built an adaptor molding ring over the older opening, then finished it with Sterling "Moon Dust", which was an exact shade that matched what little gelcoat remained on the boat. Now, they have to paint the rest of the boat. Oh well, such is progress....

We will redo all the nonskid at the future stage, but you get the idea.
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Old 05-03-2013, 10:39   #10
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Re: Faded and porous cockpit surfaces

Orange Crush, yes it will go back to chalky if you let it, you must maintain the wax as if it was a varnish job, with maintenance coats, every 6-9 months depending on factors like sun, pollution, and waxed used. I used meguiars, but here is an old practical sailor article- http://www.collinite.com/assets/Uplo...pracsailor.PDF

I love love two part linear paint, it is a joy to work with. I've even rolled and tipped it and it came out looking sprayed. Totally worth the extra expense compared to the one parters. You can buff that out too ( at least I've buffed out the two part clear). But is totally different animal compared to gel coat, so be sure to talk to the paint gurus before attempting. I wouldn't spend the money to paint if I didn't do it right like the folks above stated. Strip the boat, prep, prep, prep. You will have a new looking boat. But I still think trying to salvage the gelcoat is the priority, gel coat is just plain more durable.

Anyways, hope this helps
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Old 05-03-2013, 11:04   #11
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Re: Faded and porous cockpit surfaces

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ocean Girl View Post
Orange Crush, yes it will go back to chalky if you let it, you must maintain the wax as if it was a varnish job, with maintenance coats, every 6-9 months depending on factors like sun, pollution, and waxed used. I used meguiars, but here is an old practical sailor article- http://www.collinite.com/assets/Uplo...pracsailor.PDF

I love love two part linear paint, it is a joy to work with. I've even rolled and tipped it and it came out looking sprayed. Totally worth the extra expense compared to the one parters. You can buff that out too ( at least I've buffed out the two part clear). But is totally different animal compared to gel coat, so be sure to talk to the paint gurus before attempting. I wouldn't spend the money to paint if I didn't do it right like the folks above stated. Strip the boat, prep, prep, prep. You will have a new looking boat. But I still think trying to salvage the gelcoat is the priority, gel coat is just plain more durable.

Anyways, hope this helps
Erika
Isn't another advantage of the 2-part paints is that they don't have to be maintained (compounded, waxed, etc.) like gelcoat?

If one was going to try and stick with gelcoat for awhile, is it viable to brush or roll on add'l gelcoat in spots that have thinned and dark laminate is starting to show from underneath?
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Old 05-03-2013, 11:31   #12
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Re: Faded and porous cockpit surfaces

Matching white gelcoat is near impossible, it is the hardest color to match. Plus gelcoat is very hard to work with to get a good finish, I hate working with gel coat, temperamental not forgiving. If your gelcoat isn't salvageable, two part linear is the way to go.

Painting a boat is a big big job if you want it done right. A good trick, if you want to save some money, is to do all the prep and then have your paint dude come in to spray on your linear. The biggest expense is in the prep labor. I paid my local guy a couple hundred plus dollars, all he had to do was show up with his gear, spray, and go. Quick money for him.

Sorry, I seem to be very opinionated today .

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Old 05-03-2013, 13:32   #13
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Re: Faded and porous cockpit surfaces

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ocean Girl View Post
Matching white gelcoat is near impossible, it is the hardest color to match. Plus gelcoat is very hard to work with to get a good finish, I hate working with gel coat, temperamental not forgiving. If your gelcoat isn't salvageable, two part linear is the way to go.

Painting a boat is a big big job if you want it done right. A good trick, if you want to save some money, is to do all the prep and then have your paint dude come in to spray on your linear. The biggest expense is in the prep labor. I paid my local guy a couple hundred plus dollars, all he had to do was show up with his gear, spray, and go. Quick money for him.

Sorry, I seem to be very opinionated today .

Cheers,
Erika
I have read where some pros won't agree to this, since it mostly comes down to prep work and it's their reputation on the line.

Thanks for the other useful info on dealing with aging gelcoat.
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Old 09-03-2013, 05:27   #14
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Re: Faded and porous cockpit surfaces

Rub Penetrol on it. it will look just like new for several years! No need to mask anything, no need to remove anything. Goes on easy....etc....does not streak smear or anything...It's so easy my soon to be ex can do it!
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Old 09-03-2013, 06:01   #15
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Re: Faded and porous cockpit surfaces

Ocean Girl has given you great advise! Don't paint unless you have to! I have brought back gel coat as she described and each year it look better! The secret is the polishing, if it doesn't shine you must polish some more before you wax. Yes it is a lot of work the first time around but not near the effort it will take to paint. Put on 3 coats of wax and then move to a normal maintenance routine as you would with a new boat. I like Collinite wax but use what works for you.
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