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Old 04-11-2010, 20:03   #1
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Gel Coat vs Paint

Hello Cruisers! We are in the midst of boat repair. We are re-fiberglassing the entire top deck of a 55 cutter. She used to have Teak but as we saw the damage underneath to the glass we decided to go with a good paint or gel coat and apply some rubberized non-slip decking. With a family of 5 on board we want to keep the re build time and the cost down as well as the maintenance a little more manageable than teak (as lovely as that looks) What we'd like to know is what's the word on Gel coat as opposed to a high quality marine paint. and Which has best adherence to raw fiberglass. Will both require a primer? What's the longevity of the products and and ease of application? any input will be muchly appreciated!! Thanks
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Old 04-11-2010, 20:20   #2
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Fill and sand the decks to prep them... wipe down with Acetone then roller on epoxy resin... 3 - 4 coats should do nicely... just remember to 'de-wax' each coat before applying the next one... I assume by rubberizing the decks you mean totally...
If just sections then mix in some anti slip powder from International Paints and mix in the last coat.
PS; you can get various dyes to mix in... just pick your colour
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Old 04-11-2010, 20:27   #3
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You might be better with a good rubberised paint with a primer because of any movement, and put on a few extra coats

Gel coat is designed to go inside a mold you would need a waxed gel coat on at least the top coat.

You will need to throughly clean and sand the deck for the polyester to stick properly.
Epoxy coating will stick better than polyester but is more expensive and will yellow with age.

I personally think a good clean, with a pressure washer, a light sanding and apply a quality primer and then a good rubberised paint will give you a better finish.
You will find paint will give a smoother finish than polyester/epoxy
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Old 04-11-2010, 20:49   #4
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what they did on mine when they removed decks of teak was to glass with woven cloth then epoxy, and then painted that. paint will stick for a coupla years then need repainting. --you WILL fall and get hurt--if the is no nonskid on the step edges and such. i know.. need a wood or some other GOOD nonskid to prevent the falls from wetness on these places. i am going to edge mine in wood-- mine is a formosa 41.
gel coat will need a lot of waxed paper to make and will cost you more than 50,000 dollars to have done for that size area. (figure, 5 yrs ago was 35000 for a 32 footer--lol-- this is 55 ft long--not square ft..is a lot of area.
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Old 04-11-2010, 21:01   #5
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I used body filler for smoothing surfaces. Primed over the filler. Then painted with Nason Urethane. To make the decks non-skid I rolled a coat of Urethane where I wanted the non-skid surface the while it was wet sprinkled a layer of a product called Soft Sand over it. Then applied a couple more coats of Urethane. It made for very slip resistant deck. Soft sand is a recycled rubber product.

There is an article in the current issue of "Good Old Boat" about roller coating an awesome finish as well. They recommend using Awlgrip products.
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Old 04-11-2010, 21:24   #6
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Basically paint is your only option, I re-gelcoated my decks and it lasted for almost two years before the new gelcoat started wearing off revealing the original deck. Gelcoat does not harden sufficiently outside of a mold to be used for extensive areas. For small patches it is fine.
- - Any good quality two part epoxy will hold up for 2x, 3x, 4x longer than aftermarket gelcoating.
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Old 05-11-2010, 07:35   #7
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Theres not much choice epoxy and paint it. In my opinion dont do for a two pack like awlgrip unless professionally applied. Use a single pack product that you can apply and just accept that it will require retouching up

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Old 05-11-2010, 14:28   #8
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Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
Basically paint is your only option, I re-gelcoated my decks and it lasted for almost two years before the new gelcoat started wearing off revealing the original deck. Gelcoat does not harden sufficiently outside of a mold to be used for extensive areas. For small patches it is fine.
- - Any good quality two part epoxy will hold up for 2x, 3x, 4x longer than aftermarket gelcoating.
Glad I decided against gel coat.
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Old 05-11-2010, 19:47   #9
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No reason to apply gelco when finishing. Go for a good paint system and that's it.

Why you see gelco elsewhere is because it went into the mold first, then it was topped with GRP. This is how lamination goes.

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Old 05-11-2010, 19:58   #10
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An epoxy barrier coat like Interlux 2000 makes for a nice undercoat for your finish paint. You can also use an epoxy filler to fill in the imperfections before painting. I like the texture of the Awlgrip fine non-skid. Its not so course where it feels like it's going to tear up your skin if you fall on it. It's got just the right amount of grip in my opinion.
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Old 09-11-2010, 11:16   #11
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Thanks everyone for your replies and information!! Off to buy some paint we go!!
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Old 09-11-2010, 11:40   #12
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We redid our 24' last fall. What a job! I can only imagine the hours you'll put into this one. We rolled Awlgrip for the topsides, and still had a fabulous finish. A bit harder to get the hang of, but not too bad considering it was my first time, and I'm not a professional.

We rolled Pettit Easypoxy on the deck and overall, we were quite disappointed. In the really high use areas, (such as dockside cockpit edge, where everyone steps once they were on the boat) started to see signs of wear in a little less than a year. We had meticulously sanded, and primed as well.

I assume that you were going to use a product like KiwiGrip for the rubberized portions? What about the smooth portions of the deck, such as the cabin sides? I'd still go with the Awlgrip, despite the PITA factor. Results are worth it. My dad did his 42' deck in Awlgrip about 5 years ago; still looking fantastic.
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Old 09-11-2010, 13:02   #13
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Awlgrip is a tough highly regarded product, the problem is that for an amatuer applicator it has to be applied perfectly to get a good result, (This usually doesn't happen) orange peel and runs cannot be sanded out and the area reapplied and there is no future repairs of chipped or damaged areas without a noticeable halo effect around the repair. Imron on the other hand is a very tough flexable two part paint that can be wet sanded and polished, minor imperfectons can be blended into the origional paint work without having to redo the whole paint job.

For the areas of non skid there are products that are light years ahead traditional paints. I have experience with a product called Durabak Cote-L Distribution Company and have applied it on customers as well as my own boat. As a urethane based product with ground up tire as the non skid medium it is one of the most flexable and durable prodcts for non skid I have ever worked with. Attached a couple of pics of a customers Egg Harbor deck repair job finished in Durabak coating.
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