All About Gelcoat Paint

Gelcoat is a type of paint for use on boats. It is made out of fiberglass resin and comes in a variety of colors to add personality to your boat. In addition to this, Gelcoat is quite practical because it is specially formulated to bend and stretch and does not crack like other paints.

When picking out a Gelcoat for your boat, you want to make certain that you pick up a general purpose Gelcoat. A general purpose Gelcoat is the type most often used because it is less likely to get marred through everyday wear and tear. “Tooling” Gelcoat is for use in the home on surfaces like tubs and sinks, has a harder finish, and is not really appropriate for your boat.

In order to properly mix your Gelcoat, you’ll have to start with a catalyst, which will let the Gelcoat harden properly. Most Gelcoats you’ll find need 1-3% of the required catalyst, usually MEKP, which you can mix in using a paint stirrer. Failing to properly mix the Gelcoat and the catalyst will leave you with a product that won’t harden or too brittle to even be used.

Gelcoat is applied in exactly the same manner in which you would paint a house. You can paint it on with a brush or a roller. Of course, if you need a more professional type of job, you’ll want to get a specialized paint sprayer that will work with Gelcoat and similar substances.

When applying a new coat of Gelcoat to your watercraft, you first need to carefully sand the surface which you’ll be painting. A finer grit sandpaper is the best option because it is less likely to leave ugly scratches. You can also opt for a sander to take care of the bigger areas in a much faster manner.

What is Gelcoat Paint

What is Gelcoat Paint

After you’re done sanding, thoroughly wash the sanded surface. Use acetone for your first wash, then follow up with a second wash of soap and water. Make sure you allow the surface to dry thoroughly before you move on.
After everything has dried, take some painter’s tape and create an outline of the area in which you’ll be using the Gelcoat. Follow the directions on the Gelcoat so that you mix it properly with your catalyst for the best performance. It is extremely vital that you follow the directions exactly as they appear on your particular product, as these things do vary by manufacturer.

Use a paintbrush to evenly apply the Gelcoat to the entire area you need to cover. Once this initial coat is dry, add a second coat and then repeat this as necessary until you get the look you want. Make sure you take off the painter’s tape when the final coat is drying, as painter’s tape is notoriously harder to detach from surfaces that are already dry.

Once your Gelcoat is totally dry, you should then use a wax made especially for watercraft surfaces to shine your finish. If you follow the directions exactly for your particular Gelcoat brand, you will have a beautifully preserved watercraft that will definitely turn heads. Best of all – you did it yourself.

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