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Author Topic:   Gel-Coat vs Paint???
browning20ga posted 02-22-2002 07:16 PM ET (US)   Profile for browning20ga   Send Email to browning20ga  
What are the differences, advantages and disadvantages of Gel-Coat and a good marine paint. I just shot my transom and splash well area with gel-coat after plugging the old motor mounting holes, getting ready to repower. I'm not an expert sprayer but I do have some experience and I wasn't to happy with the resultes. YES I followed the instructions to a "T". Any info or comments are welcome.
Thanks, Darrell
kingfish posted 02-22-2002 07:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     

Gel coating a transom, especially if you're fairly new to working with gel coat, can be a lot of work before it looks really good, but it is worth the trouble, in my opinion.

How did you prepare the surface and how did you apply the gel coat? What don't you like about the results?


browning20ga posted 02-22-2002 08:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for browning20ga  Send Email to browning20ga     
I plugged the old holes by epoxying hardwood dowels (about 1/4" short) in the holes and then filled the holes with epoxy (West System). I wet sanded the surface with 100 grit and then washed it off with soapy water and rinsed. (next day)Before shooting it I wiped it down with a generous supply of acetone and let it dry. I sprayed the gel-coat, it seemed to lay down nicely but when I started to wet sand with 240 grit I started to notice snall pin holes, I don't know if they were bubbles that I sanded the tops off of or what. The front of the transom turned out pretty well (a little orangepeel, sanded out and ready for buffing) but the back is peppered with these pinhead sized spots. I sanded it back down smooth and will re-shoot in the AM but if anyone has any ideas or ways to prevent this I'd appreciate any ideas.
Thanks, Darrell
reelescape1 posted 02-22-2002 09:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for reelescape1  Send Email to reelescape1     
Sounds like it could be one or a combination of: moisture, either on the boat or in the air supply. some foreign something on the surface. possibly bad product being sprayed (provided the pressure/volume/etc. are correct) "orangepeel" is normally caused by moisture.
browning20ga posted 02-23-2002 01:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for browning20ga  Send Email to browning20ga     
Moisture may be the problem, the inside had a little more sun exposure and may have been slightly drier. The gel-coat was just recieved from Spectrum Color and layed down differently inside and out (same pot shot both sides so I'm pretty sure the product isn't the problem. I'll tinker with preassure and volume and see if that helps also, Thanks for the help.
P.S. Still interested in advantages of paint vs. gel-coat. I assume gel-coat is harder and more durable???
kingfish posted 02-23-2002 09:14 AM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
Gelcoat is thicker, I'm not sure about harder, but is more durable if for no other reason than that it is thicker. It can be patched, rubbed, polished and buffed when it has been damaged or has oxidized. Gelcoat becomes a part of your boat, when paint doesn't exactly do that. There are arguments out there supporting paint under some conditions, and I have seen the results of paint having been done right on the Outrage 21'owned by my good friend and fellow forum denizen, Don McIntyre. It is impressive. I think, however, at least if it were mine, I wouldn't paint unless I were going to paint the entire boat.

It's probably too late for the following comment to be of much help, and hopefully is superfluous anyway, but on a surface like your transom, whether you are painting *or* gelcoating, any imperfections of consequence in the plane surface you are covering will telegraph through the new coating. So if you are starting out with screw holes as in your case, and you are planning on gelcoating the entire transom before you're done, you would need to fill and feather the screw hole areas so that when you held a straight-edge over them, they were neither above nor below the transom around them. The best way to do that is to leave the epoxy enough low that you can bring the patched areas flush with paste gelcoat, then spray gelcoat over everything. If you bring the patches out flush with epoxy, you wind up with gelcoat over the patched areas that is extremely thin, way thinner than the gelcoat would have been anywhere else on the transom before you started. Unless you planned to build up your spray gelcoat *a lot*, you would find it difficult not to sand through the new gelcoat over the patches without using a base of patch paste.

Your final sanding needs to work through grades of paper at least as fine as 1000 grit, and better at 1500 (or finer)in order to minimize the rubbing compound work necessary to get a factory finish.


browning20ga posted 02-23-2002 12:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for browning20ga  Send Email to browning20ga     
Thanks a million for your advice and info. you are right on, I had a couple of filled 1/4" holes that were slightly high and when I sanded the became exposed so I used a 3/8" bit to recess them slightly and filled with gelcoat paste. I'll re-shoot the rear of the transom later today, the inside is sanded to 400 grit and starting to look pretty smooth, I'll continue with that after I get a good coat on the outside Thanks again for all your help.

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