Removing paint from gelcoat - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-21-2016, 04:31 PM   #1
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Name: Carl
Trailer: Boler
Alberta
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Removing paint from gelcoat

I want to take the green paint off my boler I just bought and restore the original yellow gelcoat. What is the best way to do this? I was thinking of using a heat gun or fibreglass paint stripper. I am having a hard time finding something locally in Canada for the stripper part. Does anyone have any recommendations?
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Old 08-21-2016, 06:05 PM   #2
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Name: Mike
Trailer: Boler13/trillium4500/buro13
Ontario
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Originally Posted by Yellow Boler View Post
I want to take the green paint off my boler I just bought and restore the original yellow gelcoat. What is the best way to do this? I was thinking of using a heat gun or fibreglass paint stripper. I am having a hard time finding something locally in Canada for the stripper part. Does anyone have any recommendations?
Cari I have stripped two trailers ,one was a older scamp and was fairly easy and turned out great. The other was a older love bug and was very difficult . I used the same citrus stripper on both but the results were very different as the paint used on each trailer was very different . On both trailers I applied the citrus stripper liberally and covered with plastic so it would remain wet . The scamp paint came off easily with a power washer and some further applied stripper to stubborn spots. The love bug on the other hand was almost impossible to remove with out causing damage to the gell coat and soffening of the fg and I had to give up and fill, sand and paint. The only thing I could suggest is you try it on a small area first to see how it works .in either case unless there was no damage under the paint and the paint comes off easily I think you will be looking at repainting the trailer. Assess the situation carefully as it may be much easier and cheaper to work with the Finnish you have now. Good luck with your project.
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Old 08-21-2016, 10:21 PM   #3
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Name: Carl
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Cari I have stripped two trailers ,one was a older scamp and was fairly easy and turned out great. The other was a older love bug and was very difficult . I used the same citrus stripper on both but the results were very different as the paint used on each trailer was very different . On both trailers I applied the citrus stripper liberally and covered with plastic so it would remain wet . The scamp paint came off easily with a power washer and some further applied stripper to stubborn spots. The love bug on the other hand was almost impossible to remove with out causing damage to the gell coat and soffening of the fg and I had to give up and fill, sand and paint. The only thing I could suggest is you try it on a small area first to see how it works .in either case unless there was no damage under the paint and the paint comes off easily I think you will be looking at repainting the trailer. Assess the situation carefully as it may be much easier and cheaper to work with the Finnish you have now. Good luck with your project.
Is that citristrip that you used? Where did you get it from? I read on their website that it wasn't recommended for fibreglass.
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Old 08-22-2016, 06:12 AM   #4
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Name: Mike
Trailer: Boler13/trillium4500/buro13
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Originally Posted by Yellow Boler View Post
Is that citristrip that you used? Where did you get it from? I read on their website that it wasn't recommended for fibreglass.
What I used came from Home Depot in th US, but I can not say that it would work on your finish.I would first check a marina or a boat supply and see if they have something specific for fg. What ever product you get test it on a small area first ,maybe behind the spare tire . If it does not lift off easily and power wash off and you have to scrape it manually I would not do it. It is going to depend on the paint that was used and how it had adhered to the fg.If you find it comes off easily and decide to continue it is possible the po did a lot of repair work under the paint and you may have to repaint , or it may be in great condition and you may be able to fine wetsand the original gell coat and apply Zep or wax to get it back to its original finish.
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Old 08-22-2016, 09:01 AM   #5
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Name: Carl
Trailer: Boler
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Originally Posted by Mikmay View Post
What I used came from Home Depot in th US, but I can not say that it would work on your finish.I would first check a marina or a boat supply and see if they have something specific for fg. What ever product you get test it on a small area first ,maybe behind the spare tire . If it does not lift off easily and power wash off and you have to scrape it manually I would not do it. It is going to depend on the paint that was used and how it had adhered to the fg.If you find it comes off easily and decide to continue it is possible the po did a lot of repair work under the paint and you may have to repaint , or it may be in great condition and you may be able to fine wetsand the original gell coat and apply Zep or wax to get it back to its original finish.
I don't think the po did much prep work. It looks like a 'redneck' paint job. He did not even bother to paint behind the rockguard, and he installed solar panels where the spare tire was and didn't paint there. Plus in one area there is huge drips that were left to dry. In the areas that weren't painted the yellow color is still quite strong. So it would be interested to see the rest. I am not sure if I would want the whole thing yellow though. I would prefer a two tone white/yellow.
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Old 08-22-2016, 09:15 AM   #6
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Name: Carl
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The probem I have is that I don't live near the US or a marina being in North Alberta. So it would be expensive to ship. Plus it seems to all come from the US, where the shipping costs more than the product. That is why I was considering using a heat gun as I saw a YouTube video of a guy strip a fibreglass corvette with one. How much product did you need to buy in order to do yours?
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Old 08-22-2016, 09:48 AM   #7
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Name: Claire
Trailer: 1978 Trillium 4500
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Just for clarificatio.

We have two coats of paint over the original Gelcoat, as far as I can tell. So I could try stripping and see what happens, as apposed to sanding it all off?

We have been working on the trailer and using Gorilla Tape to keep the door shut. In some places the tape has pulled both layers of paint off the Gelcoat.
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Old 08-22-2016, 10:41 AM   #8
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Name: Robert
Trailer: Scamp
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I can't tell you for sure what to use. The citrus stripper has worked well for me on several non-trailer, but fiberglass, projects but as other posters have pointed out, success varies with type of paint. What I can tell you for sure is to be wary of any stripper that contains acetone (like lacquer thinner), xylene, or even alcohol as these are solvents for various resins.
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Old 08-23-2016, 12:22 PM   #9
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Name: Carl
Trailer: Boler
Alberta
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I found something locally that I think may work. Rona sells the Dumond Peel Away 'SmartStrip', that says is supposed to be work on fibreglass.

Paint Remover "SmartStrip" | RONA
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Old 08-24-2016, 12:31 AM   #10
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Name: K C
Trailer: 1980 18' Sunrader Motorhome and 1971 Trails West CampMite Campster
Washington
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I was at the big marine supply store in Seattle today getting some paint for my project. I noticed on the shelf that they only sell one product for stripping paint from fiberglass or wood boats and it was:

3M Safest Stripper

Seattle Fisheries Supply is quite the place and they are very careful about selling quality products because many of their customers are professionals in the marine community and can't waste time and money on things that don't work. Seeing them selling one and only one product on their shelf for stripping paint...well just you know it is going to work and do the job right. But it might not do it in an instant because it is not a harsh chemical stripper, it is safer for you and gentle on the fiberglass.

Working around the waterfront you have to be very careful about chemicals and what you use and how you use it because the EPA is watching and inspecting fairly often. That likely has a lot to do with the store choosing to go with 3M Safest Stripper as well as it being an effective stripper. Anyway you can add it to your list of products to consider for your choice of a stripper.

From a quick check on the internet I do see people in Canada talking about using it on their projects. Canadian Tire seems to carry some 3M products. That might be a place to look for it or of course at marine supply stores as it apparently does work for fiberglass.
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