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Old 24-08-2004, 17:47   #1
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Question Paint

Hello all
here is my next question to you fine folks, I am preparing to paint the exterior of my fiberglass catalina 30. The gel coat is faded and, for the color it is earth tones and even clean the boat looks dirty. So what tips can you give me on applying the paint, surface prep and so on.
Thanks, and cheers
Dustin
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Old 24-08-2004, 19:37   #2
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Before you get in too deep to the hard work, have you tried a simple cut and polish? Yeh like that ain't hard work anyway. But it could be a heck of a lot cheaper.
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Old 24-08-2004, 19:47   #3
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I thought about that, but the color is part of the problem. Shes a light brown with a brown boot. Not attractive.
Cheers
Dustin
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Old 24-08-2004, 23:22   #4
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Well with Gel coat, it is fairly simple. Providing you have no cracking or chiping, it is a simple case of sanding to provide a key for your new paint system.
Choice of paint system is then up to you. The beauty of Gel coat, is you can paint anything you want onto it. The choice is up to you.
For hard waring and mirror finishes, two pot Urathane systems are they way to go. But I suggest you have these applied by a proffesional. They are toxic and to get the best finish, are best sprayed. They are also expensive, but will last the longest and can give a fantastic finish. Then you have tough Urathane single pots systems. These aren't quite as bad to spray and some can be rolled and brushed, but it takes a pro to get a mirror finish with these. Epoxy systems are next. They have finishes more like Enamels. They didn't used to be, but they are getting very good now. These also go very hard. Once again, not so easy to spray because of toxins. Then the ole faithful Enamels. These are the easiest to apply. Slow drying, but because of that, tend to be the easiest to Roll and brush. They don't have as hard a wearing surface, but the finishes are really getting there with them.
So to sum up, if you want long lasting hard wearing beautiful "Gel coat" looking finishes, then proffesional application of the two pack systems are the way to go.
If you want to do it yourself to save a buck and you don't have the gear or expertise, then Enamels or single pack urathanes are they way to go.
The big expense is preperation, so if you can sand the boat yourself and mask it out, you will save a lot of money. The one advantage of Gelcoat, is it is not toxic to sand. Still wear a mask to avoid the dust. Just ensure you wet sand and wear protective clothing if you have anti-foul to remove. A special high pressure water blaster can remove a substantial amount of Anti-foul before finishing with a sand.
Good luck
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Old 25-08-2004, 06:22   #5
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All that Wheels said is accurate. If you'll tell us what you have in mind (DIY or have it done) you'll certainly get a wealth of info.

We can start with my experience and opinion. I've done three boats and all of them have been done with Dupont Imron. Its the two part urethane type and I think it's practically bullet proof. The first boat I used it on 11 years ago now is still looking sharp. BUT that's lake michigan. I don't know how long it would last in southern waters. I just finished Heart of Gold three years ago and fully expect that to last another 10 years. I had the yard spray it on but I did all the prep work as well as provided the paint. It was pricey but she's my retirement boat. I restore cars too and am a fair painter. I prefer Imron for the cars too because you can work out any mistakes easily. But then car finishes are subject to greater scrutiny. I hear that Awlgrip will give the same life as Imron. I'm friends with a body shop owner and Imron was cheaper through him. A friend did his boat with Imron using the "Roll and Tip" method. I tried it but couldn't master the touch. Didn't really like the results my friend got either but I'd say it passed the "15 foot" rule.

As for durability, I'd vote for the two part urethane

My two cents worth

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Old 25-08-2004, 10:44   #6
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hi all
Thanks for the imput, I am planning to do it myself, and I was hopeing to do it while still in the water, Then in a few months whe I pull her out of the water, Ill do the waterline and bottom. So spaying is not an option, The last boat I did was wood and it turned out great, I used a single part enamel, and was very saticefied. I am like allot of you on the board,in my mind its just not done right unless I do it.
It seems like the surface prep is what I thought, A good wet sand to create a semi-rough surface for the paint to addhear to the carefully apply paint. If there is anything else you smart people can tell me, I can never gain enough knowledge.
Thanks
Dustin
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Old 25-08-2004, 11:17   #7
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The one advantage of Gelcoat, is it is not toxic to sand.
Whilst not toxic, gelcoat and in particular GRP are not good in the lungs. I understand that they cannot be broken down or removed by the bodies natural system, so continued exposure is very detrimental to breathing! WEAR A GOOD MASK
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Old 25-08-2004, 15:41   #8
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Hi -
If you want a good, long lasting finish, FORGET painting the hull with the boat in the water. You may be able to do the sanding, but then pull it, dry it, mask it and paint.
On the hull I'd start the sanding with about a 100 grit wet-or-dry paper and give it a thorough sanding. Then move to 180 and finish with about a 220 or 320 grit. BE THOROUGH - get into all the nooks and crannies - and by all means, WET SAND, don't try to do it dry or you'll just makd a dusty mess and go through three timew as much paper and take twice the time.
Then THOROUGHLY clean it - with a proper surfae prep product. Your paint retailer can suggest specifically which one.
I agree with prior post - for the best finish and longest life a two part epoxy or a two part urethane is your best bet. Longest gloss retention and longest color retention and best scratch resistance. Best professionally sprayed (your rule of "if you want it done right, do it yourself" does not always apply . If yu don't want to spend the bucks, thin the product a little more and roll it on following closely with a TOP QUALITY brush using a very light touch. (Called roll and tip.) Practice on a large, flat, smooth surface before you try this on the boat. It takes a very special and delicate touch, but with practice you can get nearly as good a finish as a spray job.
A single part urethane will give an OK finish, too, and is a bit easier to apply - but it won't last as long before it dulls and fades - but you can always polish it.
Surface prep is the key. Then take your time and do it right thefirst time. Good luck -
PS - I have 30 plus years in the paint and coating industry, so if you have any other techie questions, fire away!
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