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post #1 of 18 Old 04-02-2012 Thread Starter
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Removing mystery deck paint

I have a 1972 Flying Scot with very hard, badly flaking white deck paint of unknown origin. This white "paint" is on top of the original beige gelcoat, and it is very hard. I can break off bits of flake, and they are very hard and inflexible. I'm not sure if this is a second layer of gelcoat, or epoxy paint, or what? I've tried peel-away, but the "paint" seems impervious. I've made very slow progress with 80 grit random orbital, but that looks like weeks of work. Does anyone know of a paint remover that will work on epoxy paint without damaging the underlying gelcoat?
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post #2 of 18 Old 04-02-2012
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Re: Removing mystery deck paint

NO, sorry. I have a simular problem. I finally tried the usual paint solvents, staying away from stronger ones that would harm the gel coat.

After removing as much as I could that way, none of them softened the paint much, and I didn't want to go too extreme. I finally just sanded and scraped as much as I could. Then painted over the rest with a good quality deck paint.

I know I just kicked the problem down the road, but the boat looks good right now, and if I get a few years of use without further peeling I'm good.

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post #3 of 18 Old 04-02-2012
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Re: Removing mystery deck paint

Have you tried Acetone? or MEK (Methyl ethyl ketone)?
Without knowing if it is a paint or gelcoat its kind of hard to say what will work besides a sander.

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post #4 of 18 Old 04-02-2012
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Re: Removing mystery deck paint

Go to 40 grit. 80 is an intermediate grit for a job like that - use 40, then 60 and THEN 80. After that you can start working with "finish" grits.

I, myself, personally intend to continue being outspoken and opinionated, intolerant of all fanatics, fools and ignoramuses, deeply suspicious of all those who have "found the answer" and on my bad days, downright rude.
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post #5 of 18 Old 04-02-2012
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Re: Removing mystery deck paint

Hardened epoxy is forever, there are no solvents to remove it IF it is truly epoxy.

Which means either sanding, grinding, or media blasting. If the blast guy is good, he might be able to soda blast it with just enough pressure to take off the epocy without damaging the gelcoat. Maybe soda, maybe a different media, but that's the approach I'd look into.
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post #6 of 18 Old 04-02-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Removing mystery deck paint

Thanks to all of you for your good input. Acetone has no effect, I'll try some MEK on a small test spot. I think 40 grit may be the ticket, although 80 was the coarsest grade I saw in Lowes. I hear people talk about using grinders. I've got one and I can't imagine controlling it well enough to not gouge the heck out of the boat.
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Re: Removing mystery deck paint

With my 4-1/2" grinder I use the round sandpaper disks on it and find that it is pretty easy to control using a light touch. I use it for quick and dirty fine adjustments with some woodworking projects. These sanding disks only come in a few grit sizes.

Carpet cutters razor blades might be useful for chipping up the loose spots. These blades are about 1/2" x 4" long and stronger then std. razors.

If your paint is unaffected by Acetone I have my doubts that MEK will work except that MEK is used by some as a thinner for epoxy.

Good luck.

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post #8 of 18 Old 04-02-2012
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Respirator and inexpensive sand blaster. Works miracles.


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Re: Removing mystery deck paint

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Originally Posted by gosell View Post
I hear people talk about using grinders. I've got one and I can't imagine controlling it well enough to not gouge the heck out of the boat.
NEVER use a grinder on a hull or deck - you will ruin it - for sure!

I, myself, personally intend to continue being outspoken and opinionated, intolerant of all fanatics, fools and ignoramuses, deeply suspicious of all those who have "found the answer" and on my bad days, downright rude.
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post #10 of 18 Old 04-02-2012
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Re: Removing mystery deck paint

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With my 4-1/2" grinder I use the round sandpaper disks on it and find that it is pretty easy to control using a light touch.
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NEVER use a grinder on a hull or deck - you will ruin it - for sure!
I agree with both. I am grinding non-skid off my deck. Takes forever with RA sander. With a really (really) careful technique, I can get a smooth result with a grinder. It is so much faster with the grinder. It is worth having to patch a few spots caused by over-agressive grinding. If you are going to be patching some dings and painting anyway, it doesn't add much work.
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