Paint Prep - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-16-2007, 11:29 PM   #1
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Hi All,

Hubby and I are going to be painting our Scamp with Interlux paint soon, and I wondered if we'll need to sand first.

Our trailer sat out in the desert sun for a long time, so I'm thinking the gel coat is disintegrated for the most part. We've tried washing and waxing the trailer (I only waxed a small portion to test), but waxing (car wax- the kind you spread on, let dry, and rub off) did not eliminate the dull/chalky consistency of the exterior paint. Even when the trailer is freshly washed, once it is dry, it is like chalky eggshell or something...absolutely no shine to it at all.

So do you think we need to sand the trailer before we paint, or will a good detergent-and-scrub-brush washing be good enough?

Thanks!
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Old 01-16-2007, 11:46 PM   #2
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Hmmmm---mine was the same way when I bought it (a mistreated 86 model) I was thinking about painting, then saw a gel-coat treatment at the local Camping World. Tried that. Surprisingly, it looked like new and I was accused by my brother of painting it. Now it is the first thing I do in the Spring readying it for the summer road trips. Takes about 2 hours after a wash job. Easy to do, polishes off easy. Larry
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Old 01-17-2007, 01:28 AM   #3
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hi larry.

i am interested to know the name of the gel coat product that you used to redo the finish on your trailler, because my 74 boler is in the same shape. the outside is chalky even after washing.

thanks Iaian.
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Old 01-17-2007, 07:13 AM   #4
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Tirah, making the outside shine is a major topic of discussion...the other is axles

FiberglassRV has a power search engine, if you search for wax, paint...etc. you'll end up with more reading than you probably want.

Here's one link...The discussion is about Vertglas and a touch on Penetrol. Maggie O and Brenda Novakovski have both used Vertglas and were impressed with the results on their trailers.

Gelcoat Rejuvinator Applications...any good?, This stuff sounds too good to be true.
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Old 01-17-2007, 07:53 AM   #5
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Tirah, making the outside shine is a major topic of discussion...the other is axles

FiberglassRV has a power search engine, if you search for wax, paint...etc. you'll end up with more reading than you probably want.

Here's one link...The discussion is about Vertglas and a touch on Penetrol. Maggie O and Brenda Novakovski have both used Vertglas and were impressed with the results on their trailers.

Gelcoat Rejuvinator Applications...any good?, This stuff sounds too good to be true.
I used Penetrol on the top and front of our 99 Scamp. It worked very nicely BUT it is a conditioner, not a coating. I applied the Penetrol according to the directions (don't let the stuff dry on the surface or you will have a real job wiping it off!). The instructions say 5 min. and wipe it off. Allow it to dry for 24 hours and follow with a good quality wax. I got a nice shine. Penetrol is fairly cheap (about 6$ ac quart) and available at Home Depot etc.

Try a test area and see if it will work.
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Old 01-17-2007, 09:54 AM   #6
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If you DO decide to paint, a good scuff sand will do wonders.

When I (WE.. a large group helped) painted mine, we sanded with fine grit to get the surface prepped.

I used a PPG paint, and it has stuck and looked good for a couple years now. It has taken rocks in front and chipped from them, but the rest seems to hold up to the infrequent washings I do, and even did NOT scratch when I had a slight run in with my satelite dish recently.

It's hard work, but it beats redoing.
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Old 01-17-2007, 11:16 AM   #7
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If you DO decide to paint, a good scuff sand will do wonders.

When I (WE.. a large group helped) painted mine, we sanded with fine grit to get the surface prepped.

I used a PPG paint, and it has stuck and looked good for a couple years now. It has taken rocks in front and chipped from them, but the rest seems to hold up to the infrequent washings I do, and even did NOT scratch when I had a slight run in with my satelite dish recently.

It's hard work, but it beats redoing.
When you sanded your trailer, did it have that chalky consistency afterwards? I am not sure if I really need to sand or not, being that the surface already is "matte" rather than glossy.
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Old 01-17-2007, 11:33 AM   #8
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Tirah, making the outside shine is a major topic of discussion...the other is axles

FiberglassRV has a power search engine, if you search for wax, paint...etc. you'll end up with more reading than you probably want.

Here's one link...The discussion is about Vertglas and a touch on Penetrol. Maggie O and Brenda Novakovski have both used Vertglas and were impressed with the results on their trailers.

Gelcoat Rejuvinator Applications...any good?, This stuff sounds too good to be true.
Well, we're actually going to repaint our trailer, so we aren't looking to shine up the gel coat (yet!). We both really want it glossy black, and we already have our expensive paint. I know, we're crazy? But our trailer is stored out of the sun, and we have air conditioning, so interior heat isn't a problem.

Before we go through all the effort and elbow-grease, I'm wondering if sanding is really necessary. Keeping my fingers crossed that it's not! I couldn't find anything about whether I should sand if the texture is already "matte" rather than glossy. I thought I saw something a while back about chalkiness/porosity being a symptom of the gel coat wearing off, but now I can't find that string anywhere.

Now the axle topic... that's the other thing I've been following! I want to have our axle replaced at some point in the future, so I can feel more comfortable driving it cross-country!


You all are so knowledgeable (and fun)! My family thinks I'm crazy, talking about my trailer all the time.
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Old 01-17-2007, 11:50 AM   #9
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I'd give it a wash with Dawn dish soap and light sanding. Gina used sanding blocks from Harbor Frieght, they worked very nicely.

You might want to rethink painting the whole thing black. Not only will it make it much hotter inside but lower the resale value. Watching sales on trailers for years darker trailers are much harder to sell and go for much less. Plus black is a very hard color to maintain, any little bit of dust or mud and it looks really dirty.

If I wanted black I'd only paint the bottom black and do the top white with some cool graphics in black and a contrasting or complimentary color.
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Old 01-17-2007, 11:57 AM   #10
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I'd give it a wash with Dawn dish soap and light sanding. Gina used sanding blocks from Harbor Frieght, they worked very nicely.

You might want to rethink painting the whole thing black. Not only will it make it much hotter inside but lower the resale value. Watching sales on trailers for years darker trailers are much harder to sell and go for much less. Plus black is a very hard color to maintain, any little bit of dust or mud and it looks really dirty.

If I wanted black I'd only paint the bottom black and do the top white with some cool graphics in black and a contrasting or complimentary color.

We thought about that aspect of an all black trailer (resale value), and we decided we'd do it all black and then redo the upper portion when we resell (which probably won't be for another 20 years, when we hopefully retire and buy a new tug vehicle and larger trailer). We have a black car, so I know how difficult it is to keep it looking clean, but we think it looks great when it is clean.

Thanks for the sanding/prep tips! I think I'll go the sanding route, just to make sure the paint adheres well.
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Old 01-17-2007, 12:30 PM   #11
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Thanks for the sanding/prep tips! I think I'll go the sanding route, just to make sure the paint adheres well.
Absolutely sand. The finish quality and longevity of the paint is dependent upon the PREP work done. Make absolutely certain every bit of wax and grease is gone...or you'll end up with "fish eye" which wouldn't be as noticeable on white..but black

My body and paint guy washes everything down with Tide laundry detergent AFTER he's sanded, sanded, sanded. It gets rid of the last bit of wax and hand oils.
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Old 01-17-2007, 02:03 PM   #12
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Absolutely sand. The finish quality and longevity of the paint is dependent upon the PREP work done. Make absolutely certain every bit of wax and grease is gone...or you'll end up with "fish eye" which wouldn't be as noticeable on white..but black

My body and paint guy washes everything down with Tide laundry detergent AFTER he's sanded, sanded, sanded. It gets rid of the last bit of wax and hand oils.

Thanks Donna!

In case anyone else is ever looking for this info, here's an informative site on prep for painting a fiberglass boat: http://capndsboatshed.com/boatpaint-prep.htm
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Old 01-17-2007, 06:55 PM   #13
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Hi If you must paint, I would wash the trailer first with non fragrance soap in the liquid dishwasher type, normally sold in the dollar stores, li"l general etc, I do not sand first because you are grinding the old siliconed waxes into the finish,, Start with a wet and dry 220 grit sandpaper, and step down to a 320 or 400 grit for your final sanding,always keeping the sandpaper and trailer wet, once dry, if you see any shiny parts.. sandum, if you do not sand you will regret it after a year or so when the paint starts coming off in sheets, I do paint and body as a hobby and have painted 30 to 40 vehicules in my life not a whole lot but I have learned there are no shortcuts Paul Smith Orlando fl
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Old 01-17-2007, 07:52 PM   #14
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Hi If you must paint, I would wash the trailer first with non fragrance soap in the liquid dishwasher type, normally sold in the dollar stores, li"l general etc, I do not sand first because you are grinding the old siliconed waxes into the finish,, Start with a wet and dry 220 grit sandpaper, and step down to a 320 or 400 grit for your final sanding,always keeping the sandpaper and trailer wet, once dry, if you see any shiny parts.. sandum, if you do not sand you will regret it after a year or so when the paint starts coming off in sheets, I do paint and body as a hobby and have painted 30 to 40 vehicules in my life not a whole lot but I have learned there are no shortcuts Paul Smith Orlando fl

Thanks Paul! I will take your advice and sand before I paint. That Interlux paint isn't cheap and I'd like to not have to repaint for another 15 years!
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