Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: CT/ Long Island Sound
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Putting pigment in the gelcoat actually makes the plastic "be" that color for the full thickness of the gelcoat. Gelcoat is much thicker and tougher than just about any paint. This means that nicks and scratches won''t show up as easily on a gelcoat finish. Eventually even gelcoat surfaces will be oxidized by the sun''s rays, resulting in a "cloudy", "dusty", faded or mottled appearance. Darker colors tend to have this happen faster than lighter colors. Reds seem to deteriorate very quickly. Whites, more slowly. This is another reason most fiberglass boats are white. Because gelcoat is relatively thick, oxidation can be compounded or buffed out a number of times over the years. We had a Soling that kept its shiny gelcoat surface (white) for more than 20 years. At some point, however, the gelcoat cannot be brought up to snuff, and it''s time to paint. Awlgrip or imron or other similar two part polyurethanes are the paints of choice because they are tougher, shinier, and longer-lasting than just about anything else. Despite these qualities, they are still not as tough, shiny, or long-lasting as new gelcoat. A new boat delivered freshly awlgripped would make me wonder why.