gel coat vs paint

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by lane44, Jan 19, 2020.

  1. lane44
    Joined: Jan 2020
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    lane44 Junior Member

    Hello, I want to restore a bass boat that has a very faded color within the gel coat. The boat has been buffed before to no avail. I will have a professional helping me however I am unsure of using gel coat or topside paint. I am only painting the sides of the boat plus the inside of the boat walls.

    What are the pros and cons of Gelcoat vs topside paint?
    Which one will hold up to many years of use and still look great with proper care?
    Will topside paint come off of a boat traveling at higher speeds?

    I planned on using topside paint over marine grade primer, then I don't know what to put over the paint to protect it.
    Any help would be wonderful to know before I start the project.
     
  2. lane44
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    lane44 Junior Member

    I was also looking at toon brite clear coat and was wondering if it could be sprayed over the existing faded paint to bring back any color I suppose?
    Forgive me if I seem uneducated just looking for help
     
  3. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    Firstly, whatever deficiencies are presently evident, will be just as evident under a clear coat. You could try a more aggressive cutting paste to see if you can get back to a more uniform colour with your present gel coat. Failing that, paint is going to be a lot easier than gelcoat, to resurface it, paints typically have better levelling properties. You won't need to be too pedantic if just the topsides, so far as adhesion goes.
     
  4. lane44
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    lane44 Junior Member

    Well, some areas are faded and some look like the original blue is just missing from the boat. I was reading into sanding it down then using primer it, paint it with a new color that is a close match to what the boat originally came with and then clear coating over that new paint while adding metallic flake. Is this a good idea?
     
  5. lane44
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    lane44 Junior Member

    I also have seen this Gelcoat restorer if it is worth a shot?

    Owatrol Gelcoat Restorer
     
  6. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    Metalflake and such like needs expertise, you don't want your topsides to become a practice canvas that turns into a stuff-up. That restorer is some kind of clear thing you just rub on ? I doubt it will work for you, but if you wet the gelcoat with the hose, and it looks OK when still wet, but when it dries looks patchy, I would think you might be a chance.
     
  7. lane44
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    lane44 Junior Member

    I have someone that can do the flake for me. I was told that marine paint won't stick to a Gelcoat/fiberglass bass boat and would come right off, is this true at all?
     
  8. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    Not so, but you would need a wax-free surface, using a suitable solvent and a quantity of soft rags first, then wet sand with just enough grit to dull the surface, primer then finish coat. Shouldn't be a problem. Just use the same paint system, mixing different makes and kinds of primers and finishes can lead to trouble.
     
  9. lane44
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    lane44 Junior Member

    I was looking at using inter lux brand topcoat high gloss polyurethane paint, inter lux pre kote, then toon brite clear coat, if that will work?
    What grit is good to use?
    Im only looking to paint the sides, down to the bottom, will the paint stay there while somewhat touching the water or would I have to paint further up on the sides?
     
  10. lane44
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    lane44 Junior Member

    Alternatively would a wrap be better to save hassle?
     
  11. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    Paint should be fairly easy, but obviously if there are cracks, crazes, chips etc, that needs attending to first. 180 grit might be a good start, if that is too slow you can come down to a lower number. Just follow directions as specified by the paint manufacturer.
     
  12. lane44
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    lane44 Junior Member

    There as I can tell so far very little cracks on the boat and the manufacturer recommends the paint to be above the true waterline. Will the bottom parts of the hull sides have to remain unpainted to allow for their recommendations?
     
  13. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    I assume it is a trailer boat and won't be in the water most of the time, should not be a problem at all.
     
  14. missinginaction
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    missinginaction Senior Member

    I think you'll find that paint will be the best solution. If you're planning on keeping the boat more than 4 years or so I'd recommend a two part linear polyurethane paint rather than the one part paints. The two part paints are a bit more tricky to apply but if you're going to have the product professionally applied, you'll get a much better and more durable result. I can't speak to the metal flake aspect. I use Interlux Perfection on everything pertaining to my boat. I even painted the dingy with it. This paint cures to a very hard scratch resistant finish. It's easy to clean, you can scrub it and even use hull cleaning acids on it and it just keeps on shining. The UV inhibitors are excellent and this paint has been on my small cruiser for the better part of ten years now and looks as good as the day it was applied. It's more expensive than the one part paints but you don't need that much anyway. If you plan on keeping your boat for a long time, it's the way to go. BTW, gel coat in dark colors is especially difficult to maintain and in my experience it all chalks and fades. Make sure you and/or your applicator follows the safety instructions, especially for spraying.
     
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  15. Ilan Voyager
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    Ilan Voyager Senior Member

    I have first hand professional experience about the subject as I have painted in my shop a big bunch of polyester boats...
    When a gelcoat fades or chalks generally it's because the coloring pigment is changing of color, and/or the resin is being destroyed. No buffing can remedy this problem which is inside the gelcoat.
    Also the gelcoat is probably becoming porous in the same process and no wax will save the situation.
    Gelcoat will not give good results, it's made for preparing molds not for painting.

    So you'll have to paint, but with some precautions, which are pretty easy to follow as they are the same as for painting a car.
    1- A deep washing with nylon brush, a good soap and lukewarm water to get rid of most of the surface deposits, specially waxes. If silicone waxes had been used, you'll have maybe to clean with a special remover.
    After the purpose is to get a good clean surface for the paint.
    2-After drying, a first sanding with 180 or 220 waterproof paper and water with an orbital or vibrating sander. The purpose to get rid of the "dead" surface and impregnating waxes.
    3-A general wiping with a solvent, best the same solvent that will be used for the primary.
    4-Repairing all the dents and scratches with a good putty.
    5-Sanding again with 180 or 220. So you have with a "good dent" for the primary.
    6-Apply a sandable primary coat to seal the surface. Best an epoxy one, epoxy seals really and grabs very well on polyester. It's the best interface between the gelcoat and the paint.
    7-Sanding again but with from 320 and finish with 400 paper. Use lots of water that's the secret.
    You have now a good prepared surface which will accept most of the paints. That is the most important.
    Choice of the paint. There are several, from simple to extremely expensive.
    I'll be a bit heretic.
    Good acrylic automotive paint with hardener works pretty well on small polyester boats. Under the 300 days/year fierce sun with UV 14 of Cancun these paints last at least 5 to 7 years ans are very easy to re-paint after a minimal preparation on professional diving and sport fishing boats which are often mistreated.
    There is an enormous choice of colors, and the pearled ones give truly spectacular results. Extremely easy to paint with a simple pistol, they dry fast so on a small boat you can pass several coats in the same day, no trapped dust, with nice, glossy, and smooth surfaces. If you think well, these paints are used on cars in pretty harsh conditions, and do their job during many years.
    Simply follow the advice of the maker of the paint. At least three coats of paint.
    You can use flakes and varnish but that won't last as long as a good plain or pearled acrylic paint, and are rather fragile.
     
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