Fiberglass boats are quite sturdy and popular, but unfortunately you cannot tell the quality of its gel coat when you get your boat. Gel coat also acts as a mold release agent and prevents fiberglass from bonding to the boat mold when it is laid.
In most of the cases, the gel coats have low resistance to any damage due to sunlight or environment, which results in its finish to show fading and chalking in a very short time. Though durable gel coats are also available in the market, but they are rarely used by the manufacturers due to their high cost.
In any case, you should not panic because you can use fiberglass boat paint bring back your boat to life. However, you should be very careful in doing so, because this is important to get best results.
First you should understand the present condition of your boat. The gel covering on fiberglass boats is porous. the passage of time, as they are waxed, all these pores get filled with wax, creating a smooth finish on the surface. In these circumstances, fiberglass boat paint won’t adhere to its smooth surface.
Therefore, you will have to prepare the surface properly before painting your fiberglass boat. This is as important as the painting process using fiberglass boat paint. However, is pure hard work because you will have to sand all the areas where paint is to be applied. If you are hiring someone to get your boat striped, then it is important to understand how they propose to handle the difficult areas of the boat and complete the job.
The Painting Process
Before painting, you should strip your boat of all its accessories and divide all its sections before applying any fiberglass paint. You should be careful in painting at places where two surfaces meet as air will get trapped under the paint and may form a sort of bridge between the sections. This may not show up initially but will become apparent after few days or months.
Remove all teak trim, plastic parts and hardware. If you are painting yourself, try to avoid difficult areas or hire a skilled painter for the job. You should paint when temperature is between 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit, and humidity level is below 60 percent. Once you’ve painted your boat, or have used the services of a skilled painter, use your boat carefully as this will help the finish to last for years without any problem.
When using the services of a boat painter, you should understand the processes that they will use when preparing and painting your fiberglass boat. You can even ask samples of their past work. In many cases, painters may show something which is just leaving their workshop.
Lastly, you should never choose dark colored boat paint as it absorbs heat and may warp with time. In doing so, it may actually distort the fiberglass itself.