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Old 20-01-2014, 02:28   #1
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Perfection vs awlgrip vs gel coat

I'm sure this topic has been covered once or twice but I have some of my own questions. First of all awlgrip and perfection are epoxy based and both require extensive priming for the epoxy to adhere. Why don't people use gel coat more often? Doesn't the fact that it is polyester based make it easier to adhere to previous paints?

Also I am being scared off by the awlgrip literature, it seems like a daunting product to work with. In all of my google searching of threads comparing the two products (perfection and awlgrip) the threads always drift towards awlgrip. In fact I've only ever heard one testimonial of someone using perfection, he seemed to like it well enough. Has anyone else used this product?

And lastly, my boat has large swaths of non skid. I've tried inter grip before and don't like it at all (super hard to clean). It seems like these sections had originally been painted with something much tougher, like a two part epoxy. Is it common practice to mix non skid in with two part epoxy or do people usually use awl grip only on the non non skid sections of their boats?
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Old 20-01-2014, 05:03   #2
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Re: Perfection vs awlgrip vs gel coat

Awlgrip is a linear polyurethane (LPU) paint system (not epoxy) which does require priming, although I am not sure what you mean by "extensive" as most paint products require priming to ensure an adequate bond with the substrate.

If Awlgrip seems daunting it's because it is a professional paint system, and can be dangerous to work with without the proper protective gear. That said great product, can be brush and roller applied. Interlux has an acrylic polyurethane (APU) paint system which is more like an automotive finish which is also good.

Gelcoat is a pigmented layer of resin applied to the inside of a female mold during the layup of a fiberglass part which produces the finished surface you see when the part is removed from the mold. Gelcoat can be made from epoxy and vinyl ester resins, as well as from polyester resin.
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Old 20-01-2014, 06:09   #3
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Re: Perfection vs awlgrip vs gel coat

Actually don't bother answering the above. I've just finished reading the safety data sheets on these products. I'm not going to be using either one. My wife has Asthma and we are liveaboards. I would rather paint a low voc paint once a year than use this stuff once every 15 years. I need to do a lot more research on paints and chemical safety but it seems ridiculous to poison oneself and one's environment all in the name of looking at a shiny object. Health and environmental stewardship are something I have to participate in actively not just sit back and preach. Any info on a less toxic alternative would be very welcome.
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Old 20-01-2014, 06:16   #4
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Perfection vs awlgrip vs gel coat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Delancey View Post
Awlgrip is a linear polyurethane (LPU) paint system (not epoxy) which does require priming, although I am not sure what you mean by "extensive" as most paint products require priming to ensure an adequate bond with the substrate.

If Awlgrip seems daunting it's because it is a professional paint system, and can be dangerous to work with without the proper protective gear. That said great product, can be brush and roller applied. Interlux has an acrylic polyurethane (APU) paint system which is more like an automotive finish which is also good.

Gelcoat is a pigmented layer of resin applied to the inside of a female mold during the layup of a fiberglass part which produces the finished surface you see when the part is removed from the mold. Gelcoat can be made from epoxy and vinyl ester resins, as well as from polyester resin.

Thanks for the response and for clarifying. Is there a reason people don't use gel coat as a paint?
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Old 20-01-2014, 06:27   #5
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Re: Perfection vs awlgrip vs gel coat

The problem with Gelcoat as paint is that it that it tends not to "flow" like paint or have self leveling qualities. When Gelcoat is applied to the inside of a mold, it assumes the surface quality of the mold. Gelcoat repair usually requires sanding and polishing of the repair area to match the smoothness of the surrounding area. You could brush apply Gelcoat, but the resulting surface would have deep furrows from the brush strokes, not very pretty and would require a significant effort to make it smooth.
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Old 20-01-2014, 06:33   #6
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Re: Perfection vs awlgrip vs gel coat

A lot of time and effort goes into finishing molds to a very high standard to ensure quality parts. A layer of PVA (polyvinyl acetate) is typically applied to the inside of the mold as a "mold release agent" before application of the Gelcoat.

Once the Gelcoat has begun to gel, or begin to make the transition from liquid to solid, the rest of the layup begins. The key here is that this next step is performed within the "green window" to ensure a chemical bond between the Gelcoat and the rest of the layup as polyester resins typically do not have the best adhesive properties.

Yes, you can sand between coats to achieve a mechanical bond, but a chemical bond is better. Epoxy, unlike polyester, has excellent adhesive properties so this is slightly less of an issue and this adhesive quality is one of the things that makes epoxy so great.
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Old 20-01-2014, 06:46   #7
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Re: Perfection vs awlgrip vs gel coat

"Is it common practice to mix non skid in with two part epoxy or do people usually use awl grip only on the non non skid sections of their boats?"

People never put any nonskid on the non nonskid sections..... sorry I couldn't resist. As Delancy stated, Awlgrip topcoats are not epoxy. Awlgrip primer is epoxy though. You can spray on new gel coat, but not for the nonskid, and not over paint, only over old gel coat. Perfection and Awlgrip (roll and tip formula) are pretty much the same thing. Acrylic urethanes such as Awlcraft and Imron and many automotive finishes need to be sprayed on. Any kind of epoxy paint or primer for a finish will not hold up in the sunlight. Are you wanting to refinish deck and cockpit or are you doing spot repairs? Do you want to spend the entire summer or do you want to go sailing any time soon? Were the surfaces previously painted or are they gel coat? Is your nonskid molded in, or is it grit, or is it textured? Maybe you should just consider using single part products such as Kiwi grip for the nonskid, and oil based paints which won't last as long but way cheaper and simple to touch up as needed.
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Old 20-01-2014, 06:50   #8
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Re: Perfection vs awlgrip vs gel coat

I would like to sail and I own a boat not a yacht so it would be nice to be able to touch up as needed. The surface was previously painted with what looks to be a two part paint.
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Old 20-01-2014, 07:13   #9
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Re: Perfection vs awlgrip vs gel coat

Not an expert here, but we used the Kiwi product on our 30 year old 33 footer, and it worked out very well. Its applied with a roller that sort of looks like a scrub pad, and then "knocked down" with a brush. One tip -- if you use tape for the edges pull it up as soon as the paint sets a little, don't wait until the paint is dry or it will peel up the paint on the edges.
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Old 20-01-2014, 07:14   #10
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Re: Perfection vs awlgrip vs gel coat

Sherwyn Williams has an extensive line of industrial coatings, they sell marine paints as well. Most of their stores don't stock these products and the employees don't know much about them but you can order them through any of their stores after you research them online. In your area this might be the way to go for you. Also check out system three WR-LPU. I have never tried it, but it might be ideal for you.
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Old 20-01-2014, 07:28   #11
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pirate Re: Perfection vs awlgrip vs gel coat

Quote:
Originally Posted by unbusted67 View Post
Actually don't bother answering the above. I've just finished reading the safety data sheets on these products. I'm not going to be using either one. My wife has Asthma and we are liveaboards. I would rather paint a low voc paint once a year than use this stuff once every 15 years. I need to do a lot more research on paints and chemical safety but it seems ridiculous to poison oneself and one's environment all in the name of looking at a shiny object. Health and environmental stewardship are something I have to participate in actively not just sit back and preach. Any info on a less toxic alternative would be very welcome.
Then head for good old fashioned Yacht Enamel.. unless you've a supa bendi plastic fantastic..
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Old 20-01-2014, 07:32   #12
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Re: Perfection vs awlgrip vs gel coat

Regarding the non skid.... One of my favorites which has proven durable over the years is to mask the area, roll on West System unthickened, sprinkle in fine silica sand evenly to a thickness that is in excess of the epoxy. Let kick, then air blow or vacuum off the excess sand, paint with your choice of topcoat.

The result is a durable no skid surface that is easily repairable, and on at least one boat I know has remained effective for 20+ years! The downside is that excessive top coating will make the surface slippery again, as the peaks and valleys get filled in.
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Old 20-01-2014, 07:40   #13
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Re: Perfection vs awlgrip vs gel coat

I rolled the stern on our boat with Awlgrip in the water. Now the smell was a little strong at first but it dried in an hour or less and it was gone. We were liveaboards and so were our neighbours. They said they smelled nothing. Very nice finish, like glass. The trick is reducing it and following directions to the tee. I have also sprayed Perfection on our masts and that was a little nasty. I used one of those masks with the removable filters and had no problems. It was off the boat at the time and away from the boats in the yard. The Awlgrip looks better in my opinion.
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Old 20-01-2014, 07:50   #14
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pirate Re: Perfection vs awlgrip vs gel coat

Quote:
Originally Posted by capngeo View Post
Regarding the non skid.... One of my favorites which has proven durable over the years is to mask the area, roll on West System unthickened, sprinkle in fine silica sand evenly to a thickness that is in excess of the epoxy. Let kick, then air blow or vacuum off the excess sand, paint with your choice of topcoat.

The result is a durable no skid surface that is easily repairable, and on at least one boat I know has remained effective for 20+ years! The downside is that excessive top coating will make the surface slippery again, as the peaks and valleys get filled in.
Alternatively use one of the dye's that West supply and mix in the non skid grains when making up.. saves painting..
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Old 20-01-2014, 08:06   #15
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Re: Perfection vs awlgrip vs gel coat

I have seen a neat non-skid trick employed with some measure of success. Post application of the paint, a layer of coarse rock salt or sugar is applied to the still wet paint surface.

Once the paint has cured, the salt or sugar is washed off the surface resulting in a uniformly dimpled surface. Sort of the opposite of mixing a grit unto the paint but with the same net result in terms of providing an exit path for water under foot with out the abrasive effect of the grit.

Interesting technique. As always you would want to do a sample or mock-up with the specific paint system of your choosing before trying on your boat.
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