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mmccoy 07-10-2004 07:08 PM

Gelcoat Crazing
I''ve been looking at a few (older) boats lately and they all seem to have gelcoat crazing on the deck/cabin top to some degree or another. I would think unless the crazing is deep/heavy & seriously curled up around the edges (exposing the underlying FRG to salt/sun) it''s more a cosmetic issue than a structural one. That a fair conclusion?

My question is, how significant would ''mild to moderate'' crazing be in choosing a boat?

If not, (relative to the size of the boat) is it a terribly big job to prime/paint a deck/cabin with something like Awlgrip and achieve high quality results (approaching that of the original gelcoat)? I suspect like any other paint job it''s all in the prepwork, i.e. materials cost minimal, labor maximal ?

paulk 07-11-2004 04:20 AM

Gelcoat Crazing
Sounds like you may have done this before. Crazing is often just cosmetic, but bears checking out because if it isn''t, things can go South very quickly. Testing the area around the crazing for crackling or crunchy sounds when you step or press on it will give an indication of a problem. Crazing on our 20+ yr -old deck was well filled by the primer coat for Interthane Plus. Four years later, the paint is now starting to show real wear, and needs spot re-application.
The prep work for the one-part and the two part polyurethanes are about the same. The two part costs perhaps 50% more (this may have gone up due to oil hikes caused by the war in Iraq), but lasts (as above) about four seasons . One-part
polyurethane that I tested on our deck didn''t last two months, and on dinghies I''ve used it on, (Optis, Dyers, Blue Jays) it has barely held up to the wear and tear of a single season. (I learn slowly.) You can figure out which way you want to go.
On a cruising boat, the labor is EXTENSIVE. After sanding, I took 3/4 of a day just to mask off our 36'' boat''s deck and fittings. If I had spent more time, it would have come out better. Paint gets onto everthing, even if you''re being "careful". The solvents are also quite noxious -- wear a respirator or activated carbon filter! If you follow the directions, it comes out looking very good.

mmccoy 07-11-2004 11:48 AM

Gelcoat Crazing
Yes, I have repaired crazing in the past but not on anything I''d have a good chunk of my life savings tied up in ;)

I''ve looked at the ''linear urethanes'' (and companion primers, putties, etc.) and while it''s not cheap it''s worth it since the initial prep/labor/etc. is essentially the same whether you use a 1 part or 2 part paint. Thus I think it''s false economy to skimp on cheaper materials.

Any idea how the cost of painting compares to getting new gelcoat applied?

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