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Author Topic:   New Boat Look (Bottom Paint vs. ?)
tightloops posted 03-10-2001 11:03 PM ET (US)   Profile for tightloops   Send Email to tightloops  
I have been reading through all the paint and gel coat related postings to decide how to go about my first project on my recently purchased 1977 Montauk..Yeehaaa..

Currently the hull has an old peeling layer of blue antifouling paint on the hull to the waterline. So I've read that VC offshore, micron, and other interlux products are good...however I would ideally like to get the new boat look for the hull, the all white and sleek look, but most the paints are all darker because of the this realistic for this old of a boat and if so, how do i do it? Would that involve re-gelcoating the entire hull? New whalers are not painted on the hull are they?...sorry if again I sound very ignorant for I am a novice and have been spending countless hours sifting through all the great posts here! Thanks to any helpers--Dan

whalernut posted 03-11-2001 07:45 AM ET (US)     Profile for whalernut  Send Email to whalernut     
Congratulations on you`re new Whaler! The hull isn`t White, it is Dessert Tan, I prefer the Dessert Tan over the White for it`s dull color appereance, seems to be easier on the eyes when on the water. I belive the original colors are still available, someone on this wonderful site knows the exact answer! Regards-Jack Graner. P.S. If you leave the boat in a dock for long periods, then in my opinion Ablative(where away) Bottom Paint is the way to go. If trailered mostly, I would go with the original look!
bigz posted 03-11-2001 08:20 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Dan, one suggestion would be to take her to a fiberglass shop and have the bottom striped -- on a 17 wouldn't be outrageously expensive and they can then repair any dings then compound, wax and buff the hull including the topsides back to like new -- a place in North East MD does nice work but he is real slow getting things done I understand -- but reasonable pricing -- Glassman Fiberglass Repair, Darryl Youngblood 410-287-9550.

I have never used him but have seen his work, very good in my opinion.

Just an alternative to do it yourself.


tightloops posted 03-11-2001 10:30 AM ET (US)     Profile for tightloops  Send Email to tightloops     
Thanks Jack and Bigz,

So, Im still confused about one thing, on new boston whalers or whalers that are buffed out and shiny lookin' great, is that Paint on the outermost layer, wax...?

Anyhow the desert tan sounds like the way I'll go...if anyone knows the color code for the desert tan on a 1977 Montauk and where to get it, that would be greatly appreciated...-Dan

MikeC posted 03-11-2001 10:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for MikeC  Send Email to MikeC     
All boat are gelcoat on the bottom unless they have been painted by the owners
tightloops posted 03-11-2001 11:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for tightloops  Send Email to tightloops     
So, I need to find Desert Tan gelcoat, fix all the cracks and dings with west epoxy...and then apply the gelcoat and buff it out?????--Dan
Maerd posted 03-11-2001 12:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for Maerd    
After rereading your post I think you should get the white and forget the desert tan.
bigz posted 03-11-2001 12:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Dan the bottom under the anti-fouling paint is GELCOAT -- the paint is applied over it -- gelcoat is not paint -- if you strip the hull of the paint you can bring back the original gelcoat without gelcoating again.

Here are two sources for the gelcoat

Tom W Clark posted 03-11-2001 01:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

If you are going to restore your bottom to its original, gelcoated bottom, that's great. It can be done and I think that's what you would be most pleased with. If you need to buy gel coat for repairs of patches, it is readily available as bigz' links above indicate. The color of the outside of your '77 is an off white not dessert tan. Dessert tan is the color of the inside of your hull. Different vendors of gelcoat are going to call a particular Whaler color different names. For example Spectrum calls the outside hull color of your boat light gray. Others might call it off white. Whaler itself may have a different name that they used back then. Don't get to bogged down in what it's named, the important thing is that it should match the color of the gelcoat on your boat. Do to fading and variations in the original patches, almost every boat will have slightly different shades of the same color. On my boats I've even had gelcoat paste match perfectly on one area of the hull and had it be slighly different on another part! It is fairly easy to add a little bit of white or a little bit of gray and adjust the color this way.

One more gel coat supplier:

jimh posted 03-11-2001 06:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
A good match to the Whaler hull color can be made using acrylic tints available from an artist supply store.

Tint the West System epoxy to match the gelcoat so that there will not be as much color difference to hide with your gelcoat topcoat.

To get close to Whaler off-white/Desert Tan, start with standard TITANIUM WHITE pigment and add a small amount of RAW SIENNA. First mix the pigments alone, not with the resin. The ratio will be on the order of 10:1 or higher.

When you have the color correct, add the mixed pigment to your epoxy resin, adding about 5% maximum by volume. This should produce an epoxy resin that still has good bonding characteristics and will be closely color matched to the gelcoat.

At the 5% limit your epoxy will not quite be opaque, but several layers will do well in covering any interior laminates (usually blue or blue-green hues) or exposed foam (brown).

When making repair with epoxy you should use unthickened resins for the first application to ensure the best bonding, but I think you can tint even this first layer to help match the gelcoat.

When you have made all repairs with epoxy resin, then you should carefully prepare the patched areas and apply a gelcoat topcoat.

If you leave the epoxy without a topcoat, the color, even if matched precisely, will tend to darken a bit as UV rays affect the epoxy.

I have left several repairs on the hull which are not very visible without gelcoat topcoat. The slight color shift is hard to see. They don't get too much UV exposure on the hull bottom, either.

In fact, begining your repair process on the underside is a good idea. You will likely gain much technique as you go, so start in an area that is not very visible. After you have learned the process and developed some technique, then go after the most visible topside repairs.

The West System Repair manual ($3) is a gold mine of information. I also suggest you read my article on making repairs with West System Epoxy, and listen to the interview with West System's Jim Watson.

See URI:

jimh posted 03-11-2001 06:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I also wanted to comment on the variation in gelcoat color among Whalers. While in Florida we saw many hulls of various ages. Some were oxidized to an almost dull white. Hulls with good maintenance retained the nice Desert Tan hue.

The more UV exposure and more oxidation, the lighter and more white the Desert Tan hue becomes.

It may be wise to first attempt to remove the oxidized gelcoat, buff, and wax a segment of the hull to determine what the real hue of the gelcoat will be when the whole project is finished.


Paint Legend posted 03-12-2001 04:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for Paint Legend  Send Email to Paint Legend     
Here is another option that I have recently done on my boat. It had old bottom paint on it and looked terrible and I wanted it to look original as well. I can't believe I am saying this but my preference would be gelcoat for the bottom. There are a couple problems though. First, stripping bottom paint off is a major project. I went the sander route because the gel coat was already roughed up by the previous owner. I could have used a chemical stripper for fiberglass but I still would have 80 grit scratches. In case you are not familiar with gelcoat the only similarity with paint is the application with a spray gun. After it is applied it has an "orange peel" finish which needs to be wet sanded and buffed. This can be done but you can expect to spend some big money$$. My buddy who has a fiberglass/boat repair business says you couldn't pay him enough, remember your boat is 3-4' off the ground on stands and the guy is working upside down, and the bottom of powerboats aren't nice smooth bottoms.

I chose to go with VC Underwater Epoxy by Interlux. This is great stuff, in fact serious Sailboat racers use this on their bottoms. It has teflon added, has no anti-fouling chemicals or compounds, is extremely hard, fast, slick, easily washed, and is a water barrier (which is good, no osmosis). It sprays like paint but only has a semi-gloss finish. I did like Jim mentioned and used pigments, they have to be for Epoxies, Urethanes, Gelcoats, etc.. not water-based to match the color of the gelcoat on the sides. I am very pleased with the results, it looks new again. And if I ever want to reapply bottom paint I have the perfect base.


Chesapeake posted 03-13-2001 02:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chesapeake  Send Email to Chesapeake     
Tom: I know you are very experienced in this area, so I'll ask... why did you not choose Awl-grip for the bottom?

Was your choice any easier that shooting Awl-grip? What kind of primer is required? Is it available in standard colors?

My thought was to turn my 16 upside down and paint that way... Your thoughts...

Paint Legend posted 03-13-2001 04:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for Paint Legend  Send Email to Paint Legend     
The main reason that I chose the epoxy bottom has to do with peeling. I will have my boat in the water up to 2-3 weeks at a time at a friends. If I was trailering 100% of the time I would have painted it the entire hull. But since paint will blister and peel when exposed to water for extended periods I chose the epoxy. I also didn't want bottom paint because I don't need it and it doesn't look great.

I will be painting the entire hull of my 13 since it will be trailered. I got an idea from the Cetecea (sp) and will paint the hull suspended from the hoist. No dust issues, I think it will work out great.


hulluvatime posted 01-13-2003 03:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for hulluvatime  Send Email to hulluvatime     
Anyone familiar with the Adsil AD-100 clear anti-foul bottom coat? Check the website
I have a new Whaler Conquest 255 and would like to maintain the new look, but will have the boat in the water for about a month. I'm also curious if a good wax will help matters. Any opinions?


Bigshot posted 01-13-2003 03:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
On a white dice. White, clear, grey....they all turn brownish. Depending on where it is in the water for a month, it may be better to pull it a few times and scrub the bottom or do it while at a sandbar, etc. A good anti fouling wax will slow things down some but most of that clear stuff is for darker hulls.
george nagy posted 01-13-2003 04:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for george nagy  Send Email to george nagy     
I'm currently sanding the old layers of bottom paint off my 18' outrage. It IS a chore! I started by pressure washing the hull with a rotating water bit and it started to take gelcoat off. So now I'm slowly using a random-orbit sander hooked up to a vac.

I'm not sure if I want to bottom paint again, but I'm sure I will not put that much time, effort, and money into redoing the gelcoat. I may use some sort of epoxy bottom paint with a boot stripe.

John W posted 01-13-2003 06:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for John W  Send Email to John W     

Congrats on the new boat. I get the feeling from your questions that this might be your first boat perhaps? In reading your questions, I think some of the advice given to you so far in this post may be assuming too much in terms of your current familiarity with boat finishes. It's also not clear to me whether you plan to keep your boat in the water or on a trailer.

A few basics: virtually all fiberglass trailer boats, and all boston whalers, have a gelcoat finish when new. The gelcoat is sprayed in a mold when the boat is constructed, and this results in a shiny, durable finish.

After many years of use & abuse, particularly in the tropical sun, the gelcoat finish can become chalky & dull. This can usually be remedied by buffing with rubbing compaound, polishing & waxing to bring back the shine...but if the gelcoat finish gets too bad, you are faced with two choices if you want a new looking boat again: re-gelcoating or painting the topsides with topsides paint like Awlgrip or Sterling. Most people will paint instead of re-gelcoating, as the latter is more time intensive & much more expensive if you pay someone else to do it.

So, the first thing you need to determine is whether the hullsides & interior of your boat have been painted by a previous owner, or if the finish is the original gelcoat finish. If your boat (topsides) has been painted by a previous owner, you don't want to be touching up with spectrum gelcoat.

Next question is the blue antifouling paint. As you know, antifouling paint is necessary if you keep the boat moored in the water for long periods. Do you plan on keeping the boat on a trailer, or will you keep it in the water?

IF YOU PLAN TO KEEP THE BOAT IN THE WATER, you will need some type of antifouling paint on the bottom. You mention hard paints like VC Offshore...this might be fine, but thin film paints like VC Offshore are not compatible with traditional modified epoxy or ablative bottom paints. to use a thin film bottom paint like VC Offshore, you will first need to remove all of the existing bottom unpleasant job. So I would suggest repainting with a bottom paint compatible with what is already on the boat. If you plan to keep the boat in the water, you cannot have a shiny white boat bottom if you need antifouling protection, so get that out of your mind.

IF YOU PLAN TO KEEP YOUR BOAT ON A TRAILER, you can have the shiny new bottom you want...but how to get there depends on a few variables. Have the hullsides & interior of your boat been painted with topsides paint, or are they the original gelcoat? If it's the ORIGINAL GELCOAT, then it is possible (but difficult) to remove all of the blue antifouling paint, and then wet sand, compound & polish the original gelcoat finish back to shiny new again, to blend back with your gelcoat finish hullsides. That is what bigz and Tom Clark are talking about. I personally feel that this may not be worth the effort involved, but if you really don't like the look of bottom paint, it is possible to do.

IF YOU PLAN TO KEEP YOUR BOAT ON A TRAILER, and your boat's hullsides and interior have been PREVIOUSLY PAINTED by a previous owner, then you have more decisions in front of you. If you never plan to keep the boat in the water for more than a couple of days at a time, your easiest path to a shiny new looking hull is to strip off the bottom paint, sand the entire hull, and repaint the entire hull with a topsides paint like Awlgrip, Interthane or Sterling. BUT...this assumes you don't plan to keep the boat in the water for more than a few days. If you will keep the boat in the water for up to several weeks at a time, you still may not need antifouling paint. But topsides paint like Awlgrip will blister if left in the water for weeks at a time. So...

IF YOU PLAN TO KEEP YOUR BOAT ON A TRAILER, and your boat's interior & hullsides have been PREVIOUSLY PAINTED, and you plan to keep your boat in the water on occasion FOR MORE THAN A FEW DAYS AT A TIME,then you will need to repaint the bottom with something...either (colored) bottom paint, or a non-antifouling paint made for below the waterline such as Interlux "VC Underwater Epoxy" in white. (This is what Paint Legend did on his boat.)

I hope all my rambling here made some sense & is at least somewhat helpful. The bottom line is, you need to determine if the TOPSIDES of your boat have ever been painted. If not, do they need painting or re-gelcoating, or can you buff them out? Once you know that, you'll be able to determine (with the forum's help) your best approach for dealing with the bottom paint you don't like.

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