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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The topsides on my Pearson Ensign are looking a bit weathered and need to be refreshed. Was thinking about having them awlgripped or alexsealed ... but thinking twice given the cost to have a professional apply.

I've heard good and bad things about both brands, not sure one is better than the other.

I might punt both and use a one-part paint to refresh ... any brands or types better than the others.

Thanks
 

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I was sold on Alexseal about four years ago and have been pleased. As you probably know, it was invented by the original owner/inventor of Awlgrip, after he sold it and his non-compete ran out. Awlgrip's orginal formula is no longer used either, as some components have been environmentally banned. Rather than just use substitutes, he started from scratch.

The applicators say Alexseal is much easier to apply and get right. Not sure that matters, if you're paying a pro. However, Alexseal also claims it can be repaired, which is nearly impossible for Awlgrip. When these LP paints cure, a micoscopic thin clear layer rises to the top, which provides protection and gloss. This layer is hard to feather in a repair. I don't understand what Alexseal does to make that easier, but am going to find out this winter. I have a few nicks and scratches to deal with. Overall, however, I've been pleased with the finish.

The advantage of one-part acrylic paints are a few. First, you can roll and tip them yourself. If you're skilled and have good painting conditions, it can come out good. No where near as good as a professional LP spray, however. Secondly, they are color from top to bottom of the layer, therefore, are more easily repaired and can be buffed out. Again, LP can't be buffed, or you're just removing the top clear layer. The acrylic paint is marginally less expensive, I think.

The big dowside to acrylic is strength. They are much softer. We had acrylic and switched to Alexseal. Fenders did a real number on acrylic. The Alexseal doesn't seem to know they are there.
 

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Over Hill Sailing Club
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Painting the hull is pretty high on my priority list. The last coat of Awlgrip is getting old. One part paints would not hold up well. They are just not hard enough. Paints like Brightsides are not on the list of paints I'd use. Interlux 2 part Perfection is definitely on the shortlist along with Imron and Awlgrip. I doubt very much if I'll use Awlgrip or Alexseal because the price is too high. I'm also looking into maybe using Eastwood automotive paint. I just refinished a fiberglass gondola car with it and it came out very nice sprayed over their epoxy undercoat but I don't know how or if it will roll/tip well. I have to roll/tip where the boat is because they do not allow spraying. Spending $700 on Awlgrip or Alexseal seems absurd. Imron is not much cheaper. I've had good luck with brushing Perfection on the topsides with the epoxy primer underneath so it will probably be the way I go. Am interested to hear how others have fared with their hull painting.
 

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I sold my trimaran recently, and it had an over 10 year old Awlgrip paint job which looked beautiful still. Awlgrip is good stuff, if difficult to do well
 

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Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
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You might consider Signature Finish which is a two part paint designed for DIY. It is made by the same guy who makes Honey Teak. I did my deck with it and have been pleased. It does not look as good as Awlgrip but the cost is probably 10% as much.
 

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Bombay Explorer 44
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Remember applying a 2 component over a one pot is definitely not recommended, the other way is OK.
 

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While Alexseal is an LPU it uses a different resin formulation that results in the pigment and "hard shell" of an LPU being the entire thickness of the paint, which is similar to an acrylic urethane only harder. Our boat is Awlcraft 2000 and it is easily repairable but not a tough as Alexseal. I would not personally paint our boat with Awlgrip and instead chose Awlcraft 2000. If I were to do it again today I would likely stick with an acrylic urethane for the topsides and Alexseal on deck...
 

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While Alexseal is an LPU it uses a different resin formulation that results in the pigment and "hard shell" of an LPU being the entire thickness of the paint, which is similar to an acrylic urethane only harder. Our boat is Awlcraft 2000 and it is easily repairable but not a tough as Alexseal. I would not personally paint our boat with Awlgrip and instead chose Awlcraft 2000. If I were to do it again today I would likely stick with an acrylic urethane for the topsides and Alexseal on deck...
Awlcraft was exactly what I used to have. I was at a very choppy marina and fender rub was very tough on it.

Thanks for the clarity on Alexseals hard shell. If similar, only harder, why stick with Acrylic?
 

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Over Hill Sailing Club
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My boat was last painted over ten years ago by the previous owner, probably closer to 20 now. It's Awlgrip Flag Blue and has held up remarkably well. Fenders DO rub it off if really stressed as in going through locks, but I rate it A1. The issue I have is that I question if it is worth the absolutely ridiculous price. I mean, is it THAT much better than other alternatives? I think not. Awlgrip gets the unavoidable scratches like any other paint. I think I would rather paint more often and have the boat looking nice rather than feel obligated to squeeze my 10+ years money's worth out of an originally expensive paint job. I have sprayed a number of boats with Awlgrip but have never roll and tipped. That really scares me. The conditions have to be SO right. I've seen many atrocious results on other boats.
 

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Awlcraft was exactly what I used to have. I was at a very choppy marina and fender rub was very tough on it.

Thanks for the clarity on Alexseals hard shell. If similar, only harder, why stick with Acrylic?
Because it is still easier to repair/blend/buff... I am not nor will ever be at a dock so fender rash is a non issue for our boat... Our Awlcraft looks as good today as the day it was painted...
 

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If the hull is now the original gelcoat, i.e., not painted, before you decide to paint the topsides take a small area and clean it well, and buff it vigorously for awhile.

Most gelcoat can be restored to look almost like new and I'm here to tell you that the original gelcoat is likely to be MUCH MUCH BETTER than any paint you can apply.

I learned this from a real expert in the boat building and maintenance business: DO NOT PAINT OVER GELCOAT UNLESS YOU ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO.

My hull is 33 years old. Here's a pic of the topsides taken last month after cleaning and polishing in the yard.

Click twice on each pic for maximum resolution.

http://wdsg.com/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=206&g2_page=4

Bill
 

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When I go my boat 8 years ago ( vintage 1984) the white topsides were so bad that I gave up trying to buff them up and used Polygrip.
Last fall I decided to try again so I took the Polygrip off and used a 3M product, Imperial Compound and Finish Material. I bought two bottles and two buffers, gave one of each to my son.
I expected to be at it for days but it took just one afternoon and the hull shines way better that I ever expected. This stuff is amazing!

Gary
 

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We have a blue stripe above the rub rail like a HR. As the fenders go below the rub rail and the blue stripe gets little wear, do those of you who have experience with Interlux Brightside think that it would work well there?
 

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Spending $700 on Awlgrip or Alexseal seems absurd.
Hmmm, I don't know where you're getting that pricing from... I painted my 30-footer with Alexseal a few years ago, and I know buying the paint from Hamilton Marine didn't cost me anything close to that. And, I had a LOT of paint left over, a gallon of that stuff goes a LONG way... Of course, the total cost will vary considerably with how crazy you go with fillers, primers, and so on...

I was sold on Alexseal after speaking with Russell down at his yard at Shepard's Point in Morehead City. It's all they use anymore, and he recommends it for any DIY-er, says it's far more forgiving to work with than Awlgrip...

I found it pretty easy to work with, getting the proper amount of reducer for the conditions of course is the key... I simply brushed mine on, but I was never getting it quite thin enough, so I have a bit of brushstrokes here and there. If I'd had the time to lay on one more coat (I did 3), I probably could have nailed it with a final coat...

But my hull is rather unfair to begin with, and of course black is the worst color in terms of highlighting any imperfections... Still, mine probably passes the 10 Foot Test...

OK, maybe 15... :)





 

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If the hull is now the original gelcoat, i.e., not painted, before you decide to paint the topsides take a small area and clean it well, and buff it vigorously for awhile.

Most gelcoat can be restored to look almost like new and I'm here to tell you that the original gelcoat is likely to be MUCH MUCH BETTER than any paint you can apply.

I learned this from a real expert in the boat building and maintenance business: DO NOT PAINT OVER GELCOAT UNLESS YOU ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO.

My hull is 33 years old. Here's a pic of the topsides taken last month after cleaning and polishing in the yard.

Click twice on each pic for maximum resolution.

Miscellaneous Pix

Bill
+1 !! Unfortunately our boat was beyond gelcoat restoration due to a power boater hitting her while she was tied to the dock. He put a 25' gouge down the starboard side. After numerous attempts the gelcoat could not be matched, even by the best in the business. Reluctantly she was painted..
 

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So, when you say never paint over gelcoat, does that rule apply also to decks? My deck seems to have been painted in the past, but not everywhere. I want to repaint it, with a 2 part, rolling/tipping. If I prime it properly, I can paint, yes?
 

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It's a myth that you can't repair Awlgrip. I have a patch near the bow that was repainted 10 years ago - the only reason you can tell, is that it is less faded than the rest of the boat.

I have a bottle of Awlgrip Flag Blue touch-up paint, bought from the makers of Awlgrip, that I use to touch up any small scratches. I'd challenge anyone to spot the touched-up places.
 

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It's a myth that you can't repair Awlgrip. I have a patch near the bow that was repainted 10 years ago - the only reason you can tell, is that it is less faded than the rest of the boat.

I have a bottle of Awlgrip Flag Blue touch-up paint, bought from the makers of Awlgrip, that I use to touch up any small scratches. I'd challenge anyone to spot the touched-up places.
I need to invent an indelible ink pen in awlgrip/alexseal colors (identical by the way). A small scratch will disappear at 5 ft, if the color simply matches.

However, the bolded part of your comment above seems to contradict. It's not that awlgrip won't adhere, its that it won't blend.
 
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