My boat desperately needs paint from top to bottom. Today I wet sanded a test spot on my hard top, which I believe had been painted previouslyin another decade. The top coat was essentially chalk.

If you sand too much the black gel coat starts to come through, as it's doing on my decks. My question is, how much and how far down do I stand?

The first pictures are before sanding, the second photos are after sanding.

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If you are going to repaint, you only need to sand until you have a properly prepared surface for your paint. Smooth, NO loose old material and rough enough that your topcoat can grab it. Your paint manufacturer will have suggested grits on their instructions.  Are you spraying or rolling and tipping?

Rolling and tipping with a one part poly like Perfection or something.

Since I need to do the same, been watching these videos...

Lot's of good info about gelcoat, paint, prep and fiberglass repair

https://www.youtube.com/user/boatworkstoday/videos

I've seen most of his videos, but most things he does I find too complicated and expensive for the DIY guy.

Marine coatings are not inexpensive, pay very close attention to directions for prep.    Prep is the most important step in this process.  Sand as directed, likely 220grit, prime with proper primer sanding between coat as directed and use the proper thinner for wipe down.  It really is not complicated, read the directions, follow them and you will have good results.  Don't try to shortcut the process, follow the directions otherwise your expensive paint will be wasted.

The Black you’re seeing is not gelcoat, that’s the actual fiberglass.

Good to know. I have a few spots like that on my cabin roof and wondered what it was.

Chris, what color Perfection are you going to use?

p.s. Perfection is a 2part paint. Brightside is 1part. Quentin used Matterhorn White on his Roamer project, which looks like a good match.  

Mike H is correct about the black showing through the gelcoat. If your seeing black areas. it means the gelcoat has worn off the fiberglass. Gelcoat is used in the manufacturing process to allow the cured fiberglass hull to release from the form. It is what gives the hull its final color and nice shiny finish. Depending on the product you use, you may have to repair the gelcoat first to ensure adhesion. Check with a knowledgeable sales rep. Defects in the gelcoat can also allow the fiberglass to absorb moisture, leading to soft spots in the core, which is usually balsa wood. I had a few of these on the fore deck of my '75 Luhrs that I had to open up and dig out. I was not painting so I had to color match the gelcoat. 

I really like the Awlgrip Stars &a Stripes Blue, but Awlgrip is so dang expensive. I'm hoping Interlux has something close.




Jim Frens said:

Good to know. I have a few spots like that on my cabin roof and wondered what it was.

Chris, what color Perfection are you going to use?

p.s. Perfection is a 2part paint. Brightside is 1part. Quentin used Matterhorn White on his Roamer project, which looks like a good match.  

That's not good. I have a few big black spots on my bow deck where black is showing through.




Nat Brady said:

Mike H is correct about the black showing through the gelcoat. If your seeing black areas. it means the gelcoat has worn off the fiberglass. Gelcoat is used in the manufacturing process to allow the cured fiberglass hull to release from the form. It is what gives the hull its final color and nice shiny finish. Depending on the product you use, you may have to repair the gelcoat first to ensure adhesion. Check with a knowledgeable sales rep. Defects in the gelcoat can also allow the fiberglass to absorb moisture, leading to soft spots in the core, which is usually balsa wood. I had a few of these on the fore deck of my '75 Luhrs that I had to open up and dig out. I was not painting so I had to color match the gelcoat. 

Here's some of those spots on my bow.
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Yeah, that’s wearing through. It happens after 50 or so years. I’ve seen way worse.

Christopher Hebert said:
Here's some of those spots on my bow.

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