Paint or Gel coat?

Discussion in 'Sunfish Talk' started by baseman, Nov 3, 2011.

  1. baseman

    baseman On the Water

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    The hull of my Phantom has been repaired many times (mostly be the previous owner). The repairs were done well so I'm not concerned about that. Should I just sand the hull and paint it, or should I apply a thin layer of gel coat. I'm not looking to restore the boat to it's original condition. Considering what I paid for it. I'm not looking to put a lot of money in it either. I do have pictures I can upload.
     
  2. Alan Glos

    Alan Glos Active Member

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    Gelcoat is tricky and temp. sensitive, and if you brush it on, you usually have to wet sand it to get a nice, smooth finish. That said, it will bond chemically with the old gelcoat and give you the most durable finish. If you can spray it on, so much the better. I gelcoated the underbody of a Sunfish clone last summer, and I am not sure I would do it again.

    Paint is OK but never as good as gelcoat, but it is much easier to apply. True two-part epoxy paint is perhaps the best compromise, but it too is tricky to apply.

    Alan Glos
    Cazenovia, NY
     
  3. mike4947

    mike4947 Member

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    We've found out the hard way that gelcoat over paint does not hold up. So if you go the gelcoat route you really need to strip off the old paint. Not a fun job. JMHO but repaint is the way to go.
     
  4. Jonva

    Jonva Floater

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    I just had my first spin with gelcoat and have to agree with the "tricky-to-work-with" issue. No matter how little hardener I added, the whole batch would turn into cottage cheese. That was a major drag from start to finish.
     
  5. Alan Glos

    Alan Glos Active Member

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    Two comments: Yes, if you apply gelcoat, you have to remove any paint and sand the original gelcoat suface to get a good chemical bond with the original gelcoat and the gelcoat you are applying. Second, the word was out last summer on this site and that one of the big suppliers of marine gelcoat had some problems with early set-up of their product even when mixed properly and under normal ambient temperature conditions. On the job that I did, I had one can of gelcoat set up too soon and I had to radically reduce the amount of catalyst to prevent the problem for the remainder of the can. I was mixing batches 6 oz. at a time, and the first two batches hardened in a few minutes and well before I could apply the gelcoat to the hull.

    Alan Glos
    Cazenovia, NY
     
  6. baseman

    baseman On the Water

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    The good news is, there is no paint on the hull, but I'm not sure how well gelcoat would adhere to the fiberglass repair work. The bad news is, I have plenty of time to think about this. I don't have a heated space to work, and it's definately too cold here to do any work on the hull now(except for sanding).
     
  7. baseman

    baseman On the Water

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    I had another thought on this. There is a product that is a two part gelcoat in a spray can marketed for refinishing fiberglass bathtubs. I wonder if that would work? It's not overly expensive, so it might be worth looking into.
     
  8. douglas_zargham

    douglas_zargham Member

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    depends on how involved you want to get. i had good luck with epoxy paint on a hull repair i made. used the roll and tip method.
     
  9. Sunfish65

    Sunfish65 Member

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    I have been reading some good things about a paint called awlgrip on the laser site. It's a little pricy though.
     
  10. baseman

    baseman On the Water

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    I thought I'd put up some before pictures so you all know what I'm dealing with.
    before 1.jpg before 4.jpg before 2.jpg
     
  11. ssshield

    ssshield Member

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    The sunfish I'm restoring is in similar condition. I'm repainting. Sanded all the rough spots out with a palm sander down to the glass, and now and sanding everything as even as possible. I'll be priming and repainting with Interlux brightside topside paint single stage. Works great with roll and tip. These old boats probably aren't going to be raced, so a solid paintjob is fine, even if it's not flawless.
     

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