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Author Topic:   Gelcoat, paint, color choice
Highwater posted 07-31-2002 11:47 AM ET (US)   Profile for Highwater  
My 1977 sport 15 has a lot of interior crazing (sometimes referred to as "spider cracks"). There are too many cracks to widen and fill each of them individually. A marine fiberglass/gelcoat/paint shop wanted to remove the old gelcoat by sanding, then re-gelcoat it for $2500. If I wanted to do the job myself, I have been told that I could sand it as best I could, widen and fill (with resin?) as many of the cracks as best I could, then apply two or more coats of gelcoat using a roller and brush. Then sand, sand, sand and call it done. Or I could sand, fill, and paint it, using either a one- or two-part marine paint like Imron or Awlgrip. I'm leaning toward doing it myself with gelcoat because I want it to look good and last a long time.

I am tempted to re-gelcoat the interior blue even though Boston Whaler never made a blue 15'. I like the blue color better than desert tan, and since I am going to do the whole interior, I thought "why not?"

One reason is re-sale. Do you think it would hurt the value of the boat if it were re-gelcoated blue? Also, is a re-gelcoated boat worth more than one that has been painted?

Is it true that I will lose the design of my non-skid section by re-gelcoating but that I would not lose the design if I primed and repainted?

Will one type of repair add more weight to the boat than another type?

Sorry for so many questions all at once! Thanks in advance! David

crosley95 posted 07-31-2002 11:58 AM ET (US)     Profile for crosley95  Send Email to crosley95     

it would take many many coats of gelcoat for you to lose the non-skid.

just went over my 65 sakonnet at least 4 times. no problem. gelcoat if sprayed is a fair amount of work however. i'm no expert but i would say it is more work than painting.


Highwater posted 07-31-2002 01:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for Highwater    
I don't mind the hard work but I don't own the equipment needed to spray gelcoat. Since I will have to sand it anyway, couldn't I just roll/brush it on?

I was under the assumption that the end result would be a new layer of gelcoat that was about 1/8th of an inch thick. Will it really not mess up my non-skid design?

Taylor posted 07-31-2002 02:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for Taylor  Send Email to Taylor     
I just happened to be reading the technical document at Spectrum Color about gelcoating getting ready for a repair this weekend.

They mention that a 'heavy coat' brushed on is about 10 mils thick. Far less that 1/8" (125 mils).

They also say of brushing that the "major disadvantage of polyester coatings is that they cannot be applied in a perfect 'self leveling' coat. It must be mechanically finished by wet/dry sanding and polishing. If a Factory mold finish is to be expected."


(hit cancel on the password prompt if you select the .doc version rather than the .pdf.)

Highwater posted 07-31-2002 02:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for Highwater    
Thanks, Taylor.
Gep posted 07-31-2002 03:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for Gep  Send Email to Gep     
I would re-gelcoat rather than paint. I just finished awlgripping my 13' sport last summer, and only had it out three times since then and the paint is chipping in places.(I just don't think it holds up as well as gelcoat). Others might disagree with this and I'm OK with that. Also if your interior color is desert tan I would stick with that. I'm not really talking about resale, but the blue gets so hot it almost burns your feet if you don't have shoes on.
Gep posted 07-31-2002 03:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for Gep  Send Email to Gep     
oops, forgot to add "just my .02"
crosley95 posted 07-31-2002 03:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for crosley95  Send Email to crosley95     

you can buy a spray gun at sears for between $40 and $70. rent a compressor from anywhere for $25-$35 a day. its all in the prep and in the hands on finishing. following the instructions from spectrum is easy. make your repairs with westsystem and gelcoat patch. sand smoothe. wipe down. spray. wetsand. polish. wax.

easy. yeah right.


dangc78 posted 07-31-2002 05:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for dangc78  Send Email to dangc78     
Don't sand down the antiskid portion...I have a 13' sport that had 4 layers of paint on it that i removed with West Marine brand paint stripper (does not harm gelcoat or fiberglass) then i roughed up the floor with a wire brush. To do the sides i used my milwaukee 3/8"VSR drill with a norton stick and sand sanding disk bought at home depot for $6 (used 80grit paper) I sanded that majority of the interior of the boat in a day (by myself). Now i have a few corners to finish and i will west epoxy rough spots three times lightly sanding in between with 100 grit and re-gelcoat. I plan to regelcoat because i don't plan on re-awl grip in 4 or five years.
browning20ga posted 07-31-2002 06:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for browning20ga  Send Email to browning20ga     
I'm with crosley95, for a lot less than $2,500 you can buy a spray gun, compressor, sanding equipment and a couple gallons of ge-lcoat. The question is, which do you have the most of, time or $$$. It's not a HARD job, but it is time consuming but it doesn't have to be done in one weekend. Do the prep work, shoot it and lots of sanding and rubbing. Gel-coat doesn't flow or lay down like paint, if you put it on rough you will have a lot more sanding and loose some of your thickness. It really breaks down to time or money, you can plunk down the money and have your boat back and ready to go in a couple of weeks (?) or strip your boat, do the prep work, shoot it, sand, polish, and re-install your equipment. I'm retired and have more time than money so I'd do it myself. Two years ago when I was working 60 hrs. a week I'd have had the work done.
Highwater posted 07-31-2002 11:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for Highwater    
I want to do it myself and am convinced gelcoat is the way to go. I am still concerned about losing the non-skid, though. The previous owner had some of the cracks repaired several years ago and those repairs, when feathered, covered some of the non-skid.

If I am going to lose more of the nonskid, could I somehow make a mold (from another 15') for the non-skid sections and press that mold into the thick (?) wet gelcoat?

browning20ga posted 08-01-2002 12:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for browning20ga  Send Email to browning20ga     
If you spray the gel-coat it isn't going to fill the non-skid surface, if you roll it on it probably would partially fill the non-skid. I have seen posts here where people have made a mold of their non-skid but I think it was to repair small spots and I don't know how successful the job was. I think of a new gel-coat job as a very stromg & durable paint job, you are not going to be adding as much gel-coat as the original gelcoat surface. As far as changing the interior color to blue, I personally wouldn't do it. In the event you sand through the blue, the tan gel-coat would show and you would have to go back and respray the area.
ShrimpBurrito posted 08-01-2002 02:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for ShrimpBurrito  Send Email to ShrimpBurrito     
Highwater -

Just an idea - for a mold for the non-skid, use a small-holed potato masher. Press it down in the wet gel coat, and before lifting it up, cut the excess off with a knife. I bet that would give you a uniform flat surface that is pretty close to the original. I've never tried it or heard of anyone using it though.....

Moby posted 08-01-2002 12:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for Moby  Send Email to Moby     
If you use West System, MAKE SURE to remove the amine blush from the cured epoxy. I'm in the middle of a similar repair. After I'd sprayed the inside of my boat, a friend (Who'd worked as a boatbuilder) told me that the gel coat would come off of the epoxy - it was just a matter of time.

Also, if you have access to pretty good amounts of compressed air, look into buying a pneumatic DA sander. It works circles around any other sander I've ever used. It has also saved me about a YEAR of wet-sanding! 1200 grit is a good thing!

JDH posted 08-01-2002 01:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for JDH  Send Email to JDH     
Crosley wrote:
from spectrum is easy. make your repairs with westsystem and gelcoat patch. sand smoothe. wipe down. spray. wetsand. polish. wax.


I have a compressor & siphon gun, and was leaning towards paint. I read the Spectrum instructions, and it said that you need to either add a surfacing agent (in whiich case you must sand) or overcoat it with PVA.

What do you need to spray PVA? A simply spray bottle?

Can an amatuer get decent looking results spraying gelcoat (I have painted cars/trucks)? How many coats? How much sanding needs to happens after spraying - with paint, you sand, paint & you are done. Seems like more sanding for Gelcoat.

It also seems like it would be close to 2 gallons to do the insidea and at least the sides & transom of my 16-7...

Anyone else who has sprayed gelcoat with a home rig, please chime in.

DJS posted 08-01-2002 03:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for DJS  Send Email to DJS     

In regards to a mold to use with gelcoat to make the non-skid surface see the url below.

Taylor posted 08-06-2002 01:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for Taylor  Send Email to Taylor     
David - I need to update my previous post based on some gelcoat work we did last weekend. With brushed gelcoat, you may end up with 10mils after you buff, but you start with quite a bit more, and the brush marks show since gelcoat does not seem to level like paint. So, for non skid, I can't recommend brushing the gelcoat on. It would end up too thick. Spaying might be better. I don't know about rolling.
David Jenkins posted 08-06-2002 02:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Jenkins  Send Email to David Jenkins     
I want to re-gelcoat but it looks like it will cost $200 per gallon (?) and it seems that I would need two gallons, and there would be hours and hours of post application sanding needed, and I would probably lose the non-skid design (unless I re-did that design). So, maybe the thing to do is to spray on some Imron or Awlgrip. And get it over with. And start boating again.
70_Katama posted 08-06-2002 03:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for 70_Katama  Send Email to 70_Katama     

I just finished Awlgripping my entire 17'.
The amount of prep work required to either gelcoat or Awlgrip is enormous.
Sanding and flaring all the spider cracks and imperfections, filling in the screw holes from the console, rails, and misc. hardware.
The only difference might the amount of Awlgrip applied verse's Gelcoat. I applied two coats of primer and 4 coats of top paint. Wet sanding in-between with 320 to 600. Either way, done correctly gel coat or Awlgrip, It's a lot of hard work.

PS The Awlgrip is not cheap!
Paint, Primer, Reducer, and converter, special brushes and rollers all add up.

David Jenkins posted 08-07-2002 06:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for David Jenkins  Send Email to David Jenkins     
If the work involved is roughly the same, and if the cost involved is roughly the same, then it seems to me that it might be preferrable to re-gelcoat so that future scuffs and scratches can be buffed out. Also, with gel-coat, the shine might last for 20 years, versus less than half that for paint. Right?

70_Katama: Did you lose the non-skid design when you applied all of those coats of primer and paint?

70_Katama posted 08-08-2002 07:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for 70_Katama  Send Email to 70_Katama     

No, but it was close! I did have a couple of spots in the high traffic areas that were of concern, but it's fine.

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