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Gelcoat vs. Painting

gelcoat or paint?

  • Gelcoat

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Paint

    Votes: 5 100.0%

  • Total voters


New Member
I bought a "well-loved" clonefish from a neighbor last summer and quick-rigged it to hold out for the end of that summer season but now that it's coming up on a new season I really need to put some TLC into it before the season gets going. It is only going to be used for recreation but I don't want to have to make repairs for a few years.

SO to get to my problem, I need to either apply a gelcoat or paint the hull/topside to protect it and seal it from any water damage. If you run your finger on it it would turn white and there are alot of "spider-cracks" in the hull, is this that bad? WHAT DO I DO???

please help!


Well-Known Member
Re gelcoating the entire hull/topside will be expensive. Painting is cheaper and can be done it a weekend. With hulls similar to what you have described I would suggest the following:

1. Sand the hull with 220 grit
2. Fill any big cracks or holes, re-sand
3. Apply primer (I use Rust Oleum Marine paint found at my local Lowes)
4. Apply Rust Oleum Marine topside paint in your choice of colors (again from Lowes)
5. Go sailing.

1 quart of each is plenty for the hull. Cost about $50 in paint and supplies.


Upside down?
Staff member
I second the above response. However, you really need to find out whether the hull leaks, has absorbed water etc.
Painting the hull won't do you much good if the hull has problems.

The fact that your finger gets chalky when you run it across the hull is to be expected, as are the spiderwebs, on a boat that is quite old.

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Post some pics if you can. And chalky isn't bad if it is not too bad or leaking. You might be surprised what sanding with a random orbital sander then 3M Restorer and Wax can do. On our green deck I was aggressive with 80 grit then 220 for prep, figured if I went through gelcoat I'd be painting anyway. I didn't and the deck looked great, not showroom new but nice for a 40 year old boat. On the chalky blue deck we sanded then painted with Interlux Brightside Bluglo White, didn't know about rustoleum topside at the time. Now I'd recommend rustoleum topside for white on the deck, interlux for deck colors, and for rec boats I spray the hull with rustoleum, cheap and easy. White boat hull painted with interlux, green boat hull rustoleum spray.


Rob C.

Paint it. This is a 1978 Sunfish hull I painted with Rustoleum topside Oyster white (rolled and tipped) over the Rustoleum high build primer. If you put a couple of coats of high build primer on it those tiny spider cracks will disappear.

sunfish 3.jpg

Rob C.

Yes, I wet sanded between coats with a 3M 220 sanding sponge. It has two coats of the primer and two coats of topside.