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post #1 of 16 Old 12-30-2006 Thread Starter
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gel coat

Gel coats are applied at the factory. They are sprayed into the mold before the fiberglass is added. When the gel coat wears down on a boat why isn't there a way to spray another gel coat on it? Why do we have to resort to painting over it?
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post #2 of 16 Old 12-30-2006
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You can spray gelcoat but it doesn’t flow out the way paint does. This means you need to wet sand and then polish after spraying. It makes the job a lot more expense then paint.
All the best,
Robert Gainer
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post #3 of 16 Old 12-30-2006 Thread Starter
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Does anyone use gel coat over gel coat or is it just not done? It seems to me that if my gel coat lasted 20 years already and is still acceptable that it will outlast any two part poly finish.

And when talking about the expense of having your topsides painted I don't understand why yards charge up to 9K dollars to do a 34 foot sailboat. That doesn't even include the deck!

Another post mentioned that he put 3 coats of awlgrip on in one day. Thats about 500 dollars worth of paint and if you paid a professional painter to just stand there and do nothing between coats but wait and still paid him 90 dollars an hour for eight hours thats 720 dollars. Thats a total of 1220 on paint day.

7800 dollars for prep????? How hard is it to prep the topsides? Does it take 86 hours? (7800/90 dollars an hour)
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post #4 of 16 Old 12-30-2006
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It is the prep work that is labor intensive. The actual painting is about 10% of the labor involved in getting a great looking paint job.
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post #5 of 16 Old 12-30-2006
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10% is the paint, i might even say 5%. i have been spending weekend after weekend for months now working on preping our boat for paint. I only spent about 4 hrs painting and that includeds cleaning up afterwards. The quality of the paint job is 100% based on your prep work. Does not matter how much you spend on paint bad prep will show, I even have small areas i am happy about but no one elese will notice them but me.
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post #6 of 16 Old 12-30-2006
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Trust me, large area gelcoat smoothing is not something you want to try. It comes out very rough and uneven on the inside of the mold before the glass is put over it. While paint prep might seem extensive and expensive (and it is) gelcoat is worse.
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post #7 of 16 Old 12-30-2006
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Gelcoat 'artists'

A gel 'artist' can spray a good flat coat of gel, then flat sands and then polishes to fine luster (just like they do when a new boat is pulled from its mold).
Gelcoat restoration is expensive but certainly outlasts and outperforms ANY paint. There is NO topside paint that has the good adhesion characteristics of a good gelcoat repair.

If you keep your present gelcoat fully waxed and occasionally flat-sanded (w/2000+ W&D grit) and power-buffed and (important) occasional waxing (with the wax 'pushed' deeply into the pores of the gel) it will last as long as you do and will look almost like the boat was brand-spanking new. If you neglect it, dont occasionally strip out the old wax, re-wax it, let get develop surface roughness ..... it will then 'alligator crack' ... and then you need to paint, and repaint and repaint and repaint, etc.
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post #8 of 16 Old 12-30-2006
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Can vouch for both sides of this story. We bought our Soling in 1969. Twenty years later, when we sold it, you could still see your reflection in the gelcoat because of the careful polishing and waxing we'd done. Our current boat was awlgripped by the Previous Owners (possibly due to some "encounters" they had had with other boats or docks?). When their mediocre paint job started to look blotchy, we had it re-done. Prepping our 36 foot hull - which included fairing some areas, sounding others, and repairing subsurface delamination in spots - took 90% of the the three weeks she was in the paint shed. When I did the deck myself, same thing. Weeks to sand, wipe down with acetone or MEK, rinse, mask, prime, sand, wipe down with acetone or MEK, rinse, and then a day to paint the first topcoat. Then sand, wipe down, wash, and paint a second, and repeat for the third coat. Waiting for the weather can make having a shed worthwhile, too.
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post #9 of 16 Old 12-31-2006
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Don't forget that, at least in the US, a "professional" painter isn't going to be working outside in your yard. To get a truly professional paint job, you need to be working indoors in a closed space, free from dust and pollen and insects. That space also needs to be heated and cooled and moisture controlled within a certain range, so there will be more equipment to do that. And then, still more equipment to handle the overspray and vapors. The overspray often has to be disposed of as hazmat, at hazmat rates. And the painter needs insurance for his shop and business, and he's probably paying rent year round even if he only paints for eight months.
Then there's the value of his experience, if he's any good the job will look better than any amateur floating around spraying outdoors.
Are paint jobs expensive? Damn right! But no compared to "skilled labor" in a special shop for any other job, really. What's surprising is how many boat owners piss away their gelcoat because they are too lazy to wax the boat every once in a while. Yeah, it's a lot of "wax on, wax off". A lot cheaper than paying for a repaint though.
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post #10 of 16 Old 12-31-2006 Thread Starter
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I agree that a paint job is only as good as its preparation. I also agree that one should pay profesisonal rates for a professional painter. I figure that would be about 90 dollars an hour. However, I don't feel that one should pay the same rate for the prep work or even close to that.

If the get coat is in fairly decent shape but has just lost its shine or one wishes to change the color, then the prep work shouldn't cost $6000. (These both apply to me;I'm not fond of tan and after 20 years its not shinny any more) I just can't see that but then I don't own a yard. I am aware of overhead. I've owned my own business for 20 years and just recently sold it. (Thus the new boat)

Perhaps I should find a yard that allows me to do the prep and I can have them spray it. The current yard I'll be working with only allows wet sanding by owners. Is this going to be a problem with the preparation? Do that mean all the sanding has to be done by hand?

All comments greatly appreciated.
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