How do I tell if I have gelcoat or paint - SailNet Community

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Old 10-31-2013
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How do I tell if I have gelcoat or paint

I think I have paint because I remember the po saying he had it painted but not totally sure what he was talking about. He was quite old and hard to understand. Anyway i think its painted but dont know for sure. Is there a way I can figure this out and if it is paint what type it is? The paint looks great to me anyway. There are some scratches but nothing major. It has a nice shine to it and I am looking into is so I can properly maintain it. I would like to wax etc... no that its on the hard for winter. My other question is on durability. He owned the boat for six years and I bought it this spring. So if he had it painted it would be 5-7 years old and I read something about paint only lasting 10 years. Whats the cost of painting the topsides? I'm a good painter and could maybe do it myself but dont have gear or facility. Its a tartan 30
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Re: How do I tell if I have gelcoat or paint

Are you on Lake Michigan? I saw some guys at strictly sail that seem to do a nice job, and they charge $100/ft. for topsides. I think they were somewhere in michigan on Lake Michigan. Do you want their contact info?
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Re: How do I tell if I have gelcoat or paint

How old is your boat? What color is the boot? Gel coat is thick, like 3/16". If painted it would be something like AllGrip... AwlGrip

I don't recommend you try this yourself.
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Re: How do I tell if I have gelcoat or paint

Na, I'm on lake st clair and that is WAY out of my budget. I was just trying to see how long it would last and what kind of paint it is or if its gelcoat, and how to maintain it. And price, thanks on that one.
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Re: How do I tell if I have gelcoat or paint

Is the finish fading and getting chaulky? If not, I bet you have paint. Paint holds up better to the sunlight, but gelcoat might be a little more durable to bumps, etc.

Why do you feel the need to repaint? Is it looking bad? If you are good at painting, there are plenty of youtube videos that tell you how to roll on two part poly paints and then gently smooth it with a good brush. It is very doable if you take your time, do the prep right, etc. The finish will smooth out and the brush marks will disappear.
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Re: How do I tell if I have gelcoat or paint

Agree. If it doesn't look bad, don't bother. We are just talking cosmetics here. If you do the whole thing yourself you should be able to keep it under maybe $800 (marine paint is stupid expensive). I used Interlux Perfection which a two part paint that is supposed to be easier to apply than Awlgrip. It is still very difficult to get the right conditions outdoors (no wind, dry-ish air). I did a previous boat in Interlux Topsides which is a one part paint. I think it looks just as good, but was way less problematic to apply. Topsides probably isn't as durable as perfection. Dark colors will show errors much more than light colors. There, that is all I know about paint.

It is fun to change how the boat looks:


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Re: How do I tell if I have gelcoat or paint

Its a blue hull very similar to the above pic. As stated I am trying to figure out what I have so I can properly maintain it. I would like to wax, etc... but have read that with certain paints I should not use wax, etc... I am merely trying to clean and shine it up a little.
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Re: How do I tell if I have gelcoat or paint

Most paints you should NOT use wax.
to tell is easy, scatch it in an obscure spot, and see if you can remove it. It'd require a deep scratch to remove gelcoat.

The perfection and awlgrip are 2 part epoxies, there are also 1 part epoxies (really enamel)... Brightsides is an example. Compounding/buffing is something you should NOT do to paints.... Waxing definitely NOT to be done to enamels (it'll remove the gloss portion of the paint)... Enamels won't last but 2-3 years (but is easy to add a coat to).

I used 4 quarts of red for my 25 footer. The stuff runs about $66 a quart. If you decide to do this yourself, and are just doing another layer of the same color.... it's clean, scuff, and paint (look up how to roll and tip). If you are changing colors for some reason, consider primer as well.

1 part epoxies are easier to do than 2 part ones, and the 2 part ones require LOTS of ventilation (outside)... also temperatures while doing it matter greatly. Every speck of dust gets caught in the paint, so it should be a non-windy outdoor day or a vacuumed indoor facility. My boat wasn't worth the money to pay someone to do it for me... and I didn't want to deal with the toxicity or cost of 2 part epoxies... so mine got enamel.. .but then my boat's on a trailer all winter, and inside at my house.
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