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Old 10-13-2000
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Tom Wood is on a distinguished road
Old Hull, New Gelcoat

My hull is dull and faded. Can I refinish it with gelcoat?

Tom Wood responds:

Spraying an old hull with new gelcoat is possible, of course, but would probably require a great deal of finish work to get the desired "new boat" look. Brand new boats are often damaged coming out of the mold or during the process of installing engine, interior, or deck. Many newer designs with the "roll-over" transom corners have the joint between hull and deck filled and coated with gelcoat to gain a finished appearance. But sanding, polishing, and waxing the rough male surface gelcoat to a high-gloss surface is an art, takes considerable time, and is therefore very costly. Good finishers are always in great demand and short supply at major boat builders.

Filling the porosity with an aggressive epoxy primer, sanding fair, and coating with a sprayed or rolled-and-tipped two-part polyurethane paint is still the best option for most boat owners in this situation. It is the least expensive way to get the desired look, and will last nearly as long as the original gelcoat.

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