Gelcoating over Paint - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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Old 08-09-2008
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Gelcoating over Paint

Previous owner painted the boat with regular paint.
I have been sanding for weeks, but it seems impossible to get it all down to the old gelcoat. Will gelcoat adhere to the paint?
Are there any primers for gelcoat?
Could a paintable epoxy, something like a bottom barrier coat work as a primer?
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You're unlikely to gt much of anything to adhere to that paint, although I'm not really sure what you mean by "regular paint". Regular for houses, regular for automobiles, or regularly found in basements? (g) I think you need to get a fiberglas safe stripper to aid you in your sanding efforts. A pressure washer judiciously used may help. You will certainly have no luck with trying to spray gel coat over it. And I'd be skeptical of any primer claims to bond with it as a prep for a marine paint.

I think you'd find Don Casey's Complete Illustrated Guide to Sailboat Maintenance a very helpful and comprehensive book in helping you restore this boat.
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I think you need to get the paint off; regardless of the type. It's probably something like Awlgrip or Imron; tough stuff. The best way to remove would be to use a product like Peel Away to get the paint off; then sand and de-wax the existing gelcoat. There might be a chemical prep that you need to use to make the old gelcoat ready for a new overcoat. If you are not familiar with gelcoat, it won't cure unless it is blocked from air exposure so you have to overcoat it with a spray on powder(?) so it will cure properly. Normally when it is sprayed into the mold for a boat hull it goes on first and is sealed from air with the veil coat of vinylester. A sprayed on gelcoat from exterior will not be smooth; you will have to wet sand/polish it after you remove the surface sealer.
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Keel and Sail are right; you need to get that old paint off. Even if you found a primer that would bond well to the old paint, you don't know if the old paint is effectively bonded to the hull. Also, even if you didn't have the old paint to deal with, I wouldn't re-coat with gelcoat. I'd use Imron, Awlgrip or a two part polyurethane and then only if I considered myself a good spray painter.
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Don't spray two-part LPU paints unless you know what you're doing and have the proper equipment. Most two-part LPU paints have a cyanide based component that can kill you stone cold dead if you spray them with the wrong equipment.
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paint it. sounds like trying to regelcoat is a waste of time & money
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Without adequate knowledge of the type of paint on the boat it is a waste of time to attempt to paint or even prime the boat for paint. The likelihood of an incompatibility issue is high. Casey discusses the matter at length in the book cited in my previous post. Absent solid information on the paint on the boat now, there is nothing to be done but remove it entirely.
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