when to give up and paint? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-03-2013, 08:20 PM   #1
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Trailer: 73 Boler 13 ft
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when to give up and paint?

You may have seen in a previous post, my reference to deciding to paint, because we are not the type of people to spend hours or days in the driveway each season fussing over the gelcoat, polishing etc. I would liken it to our having an aluminum canoe that we can just crash onshore, rather than doing a dainty landing with a delicate Kevlar one. Donna D challenged that idea and said paint is not necessarily lower upkeep. Groan. I envisioned coming home from a trip and giving the Boler 17 a quick spray with the hose to get the bugs off, and up comes a brilliant shine each time. Like the car after going through the carwash. we also have some cosmetically bad areas that I perhaps could spot spray paint, if there was a paint out there that is the color of a 35 yr oldd 17 footer-kinda goes a funny orangey-cream. Eg
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Old 09-22-2013, 05:35 PM   #2
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Name: Keith
Trailer: Scamp 19' 5th wheel
Michigan
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Prepping a large fiberglass anything for paint is a very large undertaking. Once you start you will basically be committed and part way through you will likely question what you are saving....

For reference, you could read what people go through prepping homebuilt composite aircraft once they have the structure complete. Here is 1 reference Long EZ N28EZ Home Page Now I will say that with aircraft the builder is trying to accomplish several things simultaneously (right geometry for the flight surfaces, proper balance on the controls, stay within planned weight and a good appearance). With a camper some of those limitations do not apply but on the other hand the surface area is larger so more work to do.

One of the recent techniques used to avoid pinholes is to wipe the entire surface with epoxy (after is it scrupulously cleaned of all finishes and roughed up for bonding) to seal all pinholes and cover all fibers. Then let that dry until tacky and apply a fairly thick layer of microlight filler. Let that dry until hard, then start sanding with a special long sanding board (the ones they use on aircraft might be 3-4ft long).

Read up on finishing composites. It is a LOT of work. 98% is in the prep. Putting paint on after is easy. Otherwise it will be spray, sand, fill, spray, sand, fill etc etc. A new glossy surface will show every tiniest defect in the finish without mercy.
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Old 09-22-2013, 05:46 PM   #3
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Name: Donna D
Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA, 2014
Oregon
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Peggy, the finish (whatever it is) will require maintenace. Gelcoat, paint and clearcoat all need to be waxed. NOW, it's all about expectations. I followed a thread a number of years back of a rough egg remod. Jenny and Brady chose not to paint (as such), but went with a rolled on bedliner called DuraBak. Here's their pics: https://plus.google.com/photos/10005...wa&gpsrc=pwrd1 and here's their thread here on FiberglassRV: Total Boler Restoration

Best of luck in your decision!
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Old 09-22-2013, 08:18 PM   #4
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Trailer: 2005 13 ft Scamp
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painting your egg

About four years ago I decided to bite the bullet and get the top half of my 2005 13 foot Scamp painted. I hired a professional painter to do the job. The pain he recommended is wonderful, it is shiny and does not require wax. In fact, the web site I found for IMRON says not to wax. This paint is what many commercial fleet truck users use. It has been a good investment for me even though at the time I thought the $500 was a bit pricey, but when I considered all the prep work involved because of chalky residue and a few nicks, the professional way was the way for me to paint my Scamp. Thankfully my money was well spent. Marg
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Old 09-22-2013, 08:54 PM   #5
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Imron is now running about $450 a gallon (it's a fairly popular paint with the hotrod crowd). While the manufacturer states it doesn't need to be waxed, they definitely don't recommend a carnuba wax which may cause yellowing and blistering. However, on some of the boating forums, they recommend Kwik Shine which will also remove oxidation and offers UV protection to prevent damage and fading from the sun.
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Old 09-22-2013, 09:18 PM   #6
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Name: Keith
Trailer: Scamp 19' 5th wheel
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The link I posted, the aircraft was painted with a paint which was made to be applied with a roller. Imron is quite a toxic paint. If you do not use the right protective gear (respirator) it can kill you. A few people painting their airplane parts die from it every year. So be careful. The system they talk about (paint and primer) also has a UV blocker to prevent the fiberglass/resin from being UV degraded and becoming brittle.
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Old 09-22-2013, 09:59 PM   #7
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Name: Fred
Trailer: 13 ft Boler
Kootenay's of BC
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In your case, it might be a good idea to shop around to see just what it would cost to have a decent paint job applied. Macco(?spelling) is one thought.
After the camping season is over a smaller shop might cut you a deal if they can keep it for a while and work on it when they are slow.
If you ask around your co-workes and friends you may find a guy like me. I work in my garage, I'm not a pro by any means but i can put decent paint on about anything for a decent price.
If you live in a major center, get out to the small centers around, lower cost of living allows lower rates.
A decent finish on your unit will not only protect it for years weather you wax it or not but will give you a pride of ownership, and most likely you will recoupe your expence if you were to sell.
Just a few thoughts,,,
Fred
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Old 09-22-2013, 11:34 PM   #8
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Trailer: 1973 Hunter Compact II
California
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Finishing Composites??? ... Geeesh..... We are talking about painting a 40 y.o trailer, not a two man SST...!

I suggest reading up on on fiberglass BOAT painting, esp the roll & tip method using Interlux BrightSide marine paint. Preplike crazy, apply two coats of primer and two coats of color and you are good for at least 5 years.

I did my 1973 Hunter this way and get nothing but compliments for what looks like a professional spray job (Which, BTW, I have the tools and skills to do, but opted to not do)

Automotive painters don't like to do trailers because they are different than cars, require lots of different masking, and that roof is way up in the air. Anything less than $2000 to do light prep and paint with automotive paint would be cheeeep in SoCal.
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