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Old 04-15-2014
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Re: Removing paint from Gelcoat

EZ-Off, the traditional product in a bottle NOT the new aerosol cans, was basically lye. Same as drain cleaner, but thickened to stick on vertical surfaces.

Lye is also sold as a paint and varnish stripper in paint stores, often is the active ingredient in purple industrial cleaners.

Yes, it usually works and works well, and since it is an alkali it will eventually soften or damage gelcoat and fiberglass if it is not thoroughly rinsed off, and followed by a mild acid (vinegar) to neutralize it.

But don't be surprised if there is a pale ghost left behind after you get the name paint off. Since that was shading and protecting the gelcoat beneath it, there's usually a brighter shadow left behind, and there's no simple way to remove that, although careful compounding and polishing of the hull may blend it in.
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