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Painting versus Re-gelcoat

Repair, or reconstruction. Gelocat or structural fiberglass. If it's hull related, you'll find it here

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Painting versus Re-gelcoat

Post by dustoff135 » Wed Jul 21, 2010 9:33 pm

I know this topic came up a few years ago, but I am looking for some fresh feedback.
I am considering the purchase of a 1969 CC runabout that has already been painted. Due to the idea/labor/cost of stripping that paint to re-gelcoat, it does not seem to be a viable option. This boat was painted with an automotive paint and though I haven't seen it in person, apparently there is some blistering in the finish.
I'm thinking maybe another paint job with Awlgrip or comparable product.
Any thoughts on options or recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Previous projects: 1940 17' Barrelback, #71572
1971 XK19, ORCZ19-2016V

New project: Looking???

Wood Commander
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Post by Wood Commander » Thu Jul 22, 2010 5:52 am

I have a freind that awlgripped a fiberglass Century and it turned out very well. I am definately considering using it for my Lancer.
I'm not too big of a fan of gel coating. That may be due to not having any skills or experience in doing it. But I think for an older boat a good paint can be cheaper and more forgiving maintenance- wise.

1953 35' Commander "Adonis III"

1970 23' lancer project

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57 chris
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Location: Churchville, NY

Post by 57 chris » Thu Jul 22, 2010 5:39 pm

original gelcoat is my preference but with experience re-gelling vs painting I have chosen paint in the past and if faced with the decision again would choose paint.Gelcoat from the factory is far superior to regelling after the fact. First there is the problem with the new gel not being as smooth as the original which results in a huge amount of sanding and buffing to achieve the glass smooth finish you're looking for, then there's the cost of peeling and re-gelling, I'm not even going to go there, Bill Basler can concur on that subject.
If done properly at a quick glance you can't tell the difference between original gelcoat and something such as Awlgrip.
1957 18' SeaSkiff #SK 18675 "Knot Sure!"
1958 18' SeaSkiff #SK18722 "Wreckreation"

Past projects: 1972 19' Lancer with 307 Volvo drive-Great Blue, 1968 23' Lancer Offshore with 283 Volvo drive-Narwahl
1988 FourWinns 245 Vista - Blue Ayes.

It's good to have wood!

Bad Ass Boat
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Can sombody explain All Grip

Post by Bad Ass Boat » Sat Jul 24, 2010 11:39 am

I dont mean to sound stupid here guys but what is All Grip? I have done auto amd body in the past but boat finishing is all new to me. :?

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57 chris
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Location: Churchville, NY

Post by 57 chris » Sat Jul 24, 2010 3:40 pm

Not a dumb question, Awlgrip is a two part epoxy that is a bit of a bitch to put on correctly but when you find the groove and when it's done looks like glass. Definitely worth the learning curve to learn how to spray it but it is possible to get good results with roll and tip. Not a product to use on wood but on fiberglass it looks awesome. Just think of your boat as a big corvette.
1957 18' SeaSkiff #SK 18675 "Knot Sure!"
1958 18' SeaSkiff #SK18722 "Wreckreation"

Past projects: 1972 19' Lancer with 307 Volvo drive-Great Blue, 1968 23' Lancer Offshore with 283 Volvo drive-Narwahl
1988 FourWinns 245 Vista - Blue Ayes.

It's good to have wood!

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Bill Basler
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Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2005 4:48 pm
Location: Cedar Rapids, IA

Post by Bill Basler » Fri Jul 30, 2010 1:11 pm

Believe me, I wrestle with this one all the time. First, you need to look at the history of gelcoats and how they have changed the formulations over time to meet strict environmental laws. Gelcoat used to have all sorts of bad stuff in them...lead, cadmium, and other heavy metals that gave them their composition and color. Over time, this stuff is being eliminated from the gelcoat recipes, to where modern gelcoat is not the same as gelcoat from 40 years ago. Some would argue that today's vinylester resins are better than the vintage formulations and they are in some ways...particularly in their resistance to blisters via osmosis. You'll get little argument on's resins are better.

But for things like fade/permanance of color, resistance to chalking, etc, my experience (not scientific) is that modern resins are not as good. With this said, however, there are zillions of formulations of gelcoat from dozens of manufacturers each with their own chemistry.

My dilemma revealed itself on my 1964 Chris-Craft Corsair XL175 Sunlounger...aka the Blue Bomb.

The truth here is that I wanted to regel this boat. I am a purist, and I love the challenge of keeping things as original as possible...sometimes to a fault, when it makes no sense. So you have to really pick your battles on this one.

The Blue Bomb, is arguably an old boat with little or no value. Virtually EVERY restoration step takes me farther upside-down on this boat. Fully restored, I would be lucky to see $5,000 to $7,500 on this boat, so that forms the premise for the restoration.

I got several bids on regelcoating the Blue Boat. They ranged from $10,000 to $25,000. I will add that the $10,000 bid came from someone who I was a little nervous about. Everything that he said led me to believe the process is no big deal. Having done some of this type of work myself, I knew it was a big deal.

Ideally gelcoat is sprayed inside of molds. It's the first thing sprayed into the mold when the hull is built. Given this, it's smoothness and shine is a direct reflection of the smoothness and shine of the mold.

When you regel a boat, you are not working in reverse inside a mold. You are spraying the gel onto the boat, in a similar fashion to how you would with paint, although you're using entirely different equipment.

They don't call this stuff gelcoat for no reason. It goes down heavy like...gel. The goal is to get the gelocat applied to a certain "mil" thickness. TO light and you don't cover properly. Too heavy and your gelcoat will be more susceptible to cracking later.

Then after the gelcoat. is set, you start the real labor, block sanding, wet sanding—working through the grits until you get the orange peel and ripples removed, making the surface perfectly smooth and ready to buff back to a shine.

It is labor intensive!

I wanted to gelcoat the Blue Bomb...I just could not justify it. Not even for have to a third of the bid prices.

So, I ended up painting the hull. The boat is done now. I had the work done by Mark Ficker, Fixxs-It Boat Repair in Prescott, Wisconsin.

Mark knows his stuff. Essentially there a couple of product types that are widely used. One is Awlgrip. The other is Interlux Perfection. Ironically, these products were from competitive companies, and are now both owned by the same company.

I had a lengthy discussion with a Chemist regarding Awlgrip. He talked fairly candidly and simply about the differences at the base level between the two products.

He admitted that they are very, very similar. In fact he said that one of the only tangible differences relative to how one would hold up versus another, is that Awlgrip has a molecule size that is .000X smaller than Interlux perfection.

He admitted that the differences in chemistry may only be appreciated in the lab.

I know that Awlgrip has a reputation for being tough as nails and somewhat touchy to apply. Interlux Perfection is also known to be tough as nails but more forgiving to apply.

Awlgrip has a reputation for being harder to patch, where as Interlux is considered easier to patch.

The success of your paint work will have everything to do with prep...and some of the prep steps are as intense for paint as they would be for gelcoat.

Here are the notes that I wrote to myself when I was talking with Awlgrip's Chemist. This procedure comes straight from his mouth.

Hull Under Prime:
1. Wipe down entire hull with Awlgrip P008 solvent
2. Sand entire hull to 80-100 grit.
3. Wipe down entire hull with P008 again
4. Apply one coat of Awlgrip Hull Guard Primer
5. Sand with 180-220

Hull Fairing
6. Wipe down entire hull wil Awlgrip P008 Solvent
7. Spray one coat of Awlgrip Sprayable Fairing Compound
Let cure for minimum 12-16 hours. ALL SANDING MUST BE COMPLETE AFTER 16 HOURS, BUT BEFORE 48 HOURS. After 72 hours product becomes as hard as stone.

Hull Over Prime
8. Sand to consistent 220
9. Wipe down entire hull with Awlgrip P008 Solvent
10. Apply three coats of Hull Guard Primer as follows:
Coat One
Wait about two hours
Coat Two
Wait about two hours
Coat Three
11. After third coat, boat can be sanded smooth.

Seal Coating
12. Wipe down entire hull with Awlgrip P008 Solvent
12. Seal prime with 545. Go around two coats.
13. LIGHTLY sand. Start no coarser than 280 and finish at 320. Do not break through seal coat.

Topcoat Prep
14. Wipe down entire hull with P008 Solvent
15. Tack and blow
16. Shoot topcoat of Flag Blue
G5002 Part A
G31010 Part B
up to 25% reduction for spraying
Use T0003 for 70 degrees plus
Use T0001 for 60 degrees
Apply first coat. Then in about 30-45 minutes, apply second coat.
1st coat, then second about 30-45 minutes after 1st

For the record, Mark Ficker painted the Blue Bomb with Interlux Perfection, and it looks like a million bucks. More to come in upcoming Brass Bells.

The cost was still high as even paint is labor intensive, and the materials are costly.
But it was far less than gelcoat, and that made it the only way I could go.

On and XK you have more collector value you are working with. I was contacted just two weeks ago by a member who had his XK regelcoated, and I can tell by the photos that his guy knew what the heck he was doing. It is a stunning job. And the clincher was that his total bill was about what my lowest gelcoat estimate was for.

Now, that would make me think twice.
Bill Basler

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