painting the fiber stream - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-26-2017, 05:25 PM   #1
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painting the fiber stream

OK, Im about finished with my interior so I have been looking at options for the outside. I was wondering if anyone had painted there fiber stream by hand. Im not sure if the original color was white, but it's a 1977, we have scrubbed and scrubbed that white chalky oxidation forever and its still a light tanish pinkish yellow ugly. LOL...
We were going to just wax it, but I wanted to wait to see if you all had any experience with this.
I am an experienced painter, re-doing furniture, inside and outside the house, but never on fiber glass... I dont want to mess it up. Thank you all for any info...
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Old 03-27-2017, 11:06 AM   #2
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Hey, Ronda -- so this is a "Help me!"--Ronda
post. 8)


YES, we have painted a fiberglass trailer. Many on here have.


The color you describe that's there now certainly sounds like it's less than ideal.

There is a lot of prep work involved, but it's on a fairly small item and won't take forever.

Get yourself some fine-grit sandpaper. People like 600 - 1000 grit.

Consider if you want to pull the windows (the proper way) or try to paint around them. MASK carefully whatever you don't want painted. Blue or green masking tape will work well and pull off easily without leaving a sticky residue.

Use something like: MARINE ENAMEL. Use primer first, then the top coat. We used Rustoleum Marine Primer (white) and Rustoleum Marine Topcoat (white). Brightside Marine primer and enamel are probably a better paint, but not as readily available for us locally. Durabak makes a lovely rubberized paint in many colors including white, both a smooth and a textured finish--that literally repels most rocks and chips, and can easily be touched up for a nearly invisible retrouch after scratches etc. But the rubber paint (which would be super underneath!) is tricky to work with and has a very short shelf life (a month?) once opened so you cannot save leftovers for years.


Auto paint also works, and is shinier. You can brush, spray, or roll.

The "roll and tip" method* is "traditional" if you're not going to spray...but some here (including us) have found you can get a lovely finish by using a small, foam "hot dog" roller (covered end) and just rolling the bejello out of it until all the little surface bubbles have broken and the paint is settling into a self-levelling mode. It does work pretty well, these expensive marine enamels.


*Roll & Tip involves rolling the paint on, then going over that rolled paint at right angles with a dry brush to break all the little bubbles. It can work very well, but Paul (the other half) was unable to master or even appreciate the technique. Some swear by it. Others master the hot dog roller method and swear by that (that's us, among others). You can easily try it both ways. Whatever you use, you'll get better at it as you go along! Some swear by spraying. We didn't have the equipment and didn't want to get--or clean--any. YMMV (Your choice--Your Mileage May Vary).

Take your time. Sand carefully but not wildly--don't cut through to the bare fiberglass if you don't have to. Wipe down well after sanding--you can use acetone or rubbing alcohol and let it dry well. No dust!
Apply a THIN coat of primer everywhere. When dry, sand with fine sandpaper again. Consider well if the primer has covered sufficiently.


If so, apply a THIN coat of your finish paint--marine enamel, auto enamel, rubber paint. (It is NOT traditional to use rubber paint on the sides and roof of a fiberglass egg, but would be amazingly durable though quite expensive), or even gel coat. Then sand again very lightly, and reapply a 2nd coat of final paint.;


NOW you can decide if you want to wet sand the whole shebang--in which case you'll use a very, very fine grit and keep it wet. Sand cautiously but get it all and rinse well.


You should end up with a lovely job, and a feeling of complete exhaustion/satisfaction.


WE used Rustoleum marine primer and marine enamel, both white, sanded carefully between coats, used one coat primer, two coats finish paint (the actual "paint"), and did NOT wet-sand afterwards, as we liked the slightly muted sheen that I think of as a "boat shine."


We were going over a dark brown with gold fleck enamel; the gel coat is somewhere under there.


You can pay a pro (auto or boat) to paint your trailer...but it'll cost ya'!


You can pay to have these fiberglass trailers re-gel-coated, or do it yourself, but it's not quite what I consider to be "painting it" yourself.


Do NOT under ANY circumstances paint with some kind of house paint. That will not give you satisfactory results, and latex is a total mistake.


But you surely don't need to spend $1,000, $2,000, $6,000 for a "professional" job unless it is desperately important to you or you don't mind spending. The pros usually do a gorgeous job, but your paint job can look really good, too. And remember--it won't be pristine for long. The first rock chip, the first branch scratch, and there goes the perfection. (Hence the advantage of rubber paint...but once you've mastered the paint job, you can always retouch!).


Here are photos of before and after with our "Peanut" (one shell, two nuts)"


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Kai
Attached Thumbnails
1A 3 Setting it down again after removing it from the frame.jpg   Peanut 8 2016 B.jpg  

Peanut 8 2016 C.jpg  
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Old 03-27-2017, 11:42 AM   #3
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P.S. eBay has a FAB variety of rub-on decals you can buy and custom-order including copies of original logos, racing stripes, whatever you want, almost. We had the Peanut monkey done special for us, as well as the side stripes...and bought some other decals including window stickers to cover the old, ripped, faded original plexiglass "logos"--


It wasn't all that expensive and really finishes it off nicely.

There are many, many excellent videos on YouTube showing you how to paint these things! Try starting with Roll and Tip!

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PS--we LOVE pictures!
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amerigo Logo with globe and nothing else.jpg   PEANUT possible logo for amerigo trailer.jpg  

sac n fox oval border modified.jpg  
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Old 03-27-2017, 01:18 PM   #4
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thank you so much. I think Im going to try it. Ive watched a couple you tube videos of people painting boats and with all the info you provided I think I can do it. wish me luck.
Heres a pic the day we brought it home. We have scrubbed the crap out of it and got it clean, but that color is killing me. Especially since the inside is looking so awesome.
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Old 03-27-2017, 02:38 PM   #5
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Ronda WAIT...
Before you go to all that trouble, buy yourself a bottle of BAR KEEPERS FRIEND (about $3-$4)and a jug of Zep WET LOOK FLOOR FINISH (maybe $20). Both available at Lowes.
Clean a small area with the Bar Keepers ( I did the roof in case it didn't work) then wipe on the Wet Look. You don't need to polish it just wipe it on. Let it dry between coats. You might not see much of a difference after the first coat but each coat will get better.
I've read other posts here but I was sceptical. My Trillium looked like yours sounds and nothing I did worked. I put 2 coats on last summer and was AMAZED. It still looks like new after sitting out in the snow all winter.

At worst you'll be out $25 and a little time.
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Old 03-27-2017, 03:38 PM   #6
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Hi there, I did clean it with the bartenders friend a few weeks back. My husband got the zep but i told him to wait. I just have not been sure if I wanted to paint it or just wax it. I dont want to wax it and have it shiny pinky tan yellow... lol
Maybe I have not scrubbed enough. like I said we did scrub it down with the BTF, but it is still chalky after a few weeks. Also if we do decide to wax should I put my decals on before or after????
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Old 03-27-2017, 03:52 PM   #7
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Why not get a product that was created for the purpose of restoring the gelcoat instead of one for shining up stainless steel sinks? 3M and other companies make marine fibreglass restoration products.
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Old 03-27-2017, 04:32 PM   #8
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Yes it will be chalky until the wax is applied.

I think I would clean, then apply the decals then wax over everything. I'd be afraid of them not sticking to the waxed surface. As I said you don't have to rub the wax, just apply with a clean cloth.
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Old 03-28-2017, 07:13 AM   #9
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Ronda, I definitely do wish you luck...but with decent products and careful prep, you probably know it'll be good. There's a lot more work than luck involved.


I LOVE your trailer! What a beauty! Tandem axel, too, so nice!


A fresh paint job and some brand new decals and it'll be good inside and out. You could even consider going more than one color outside, we have threads here on FGRV about decorated trailers...it is very fun to look at even if you do (as we did) opt for plain white.


Agreed, by no means should you wax before applying your decals. I had to actually stop a neighbor from applying a sample of her "special wax" before we got our decals on. She was just so darn insistent that it wasn't shiny enough--but we managed to stop her. I think it's plenty shiny anyway (as I said, a boat sheen) and haven't waxed over the decals even yet, probably won't.


Look for decals and sellers on ebay who offer to customize decals for you if you like. We've dealt with several and they were all fine. Ebay has a great money-back policy so I'm very comfortable dealing with all the sellers (though admit I try to stick with 98% approval stars and up only--they just seem to care more). If you have or can find an online or other version of the original logo, you can have that made up. We were very pleased to get a repo of the amerigo (with globe) logo....


I ordered the decals for Peanut months before we had the paint finished...it felt good to look them over and think about how nice it would be, and to read the directions (again, youtube videos are so helpful!) because these aren't like the old decals I used to apply back when pterodactyls darkened the skies in my youth.


Glad to watch your progress, thanks for the pic! More, when you can, please! Interior, too?


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Old 03-28-2017, 12:41 PM   #10
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Thanks so much. Guess I have a few days to think about it since it is raining again. But on a good note, no leaks. Ive repaired and butyl taped and caulked.. it's dry.. so excited. Heres a few pics, sorry there dark. been cloudy forever.
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20170322_124449.jpg   20170322_124437.jpg  

20170322_174910.jpg   20170325_170536.jpg  

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Old 03-28-2017, 12:48 PM   #11
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Wow,Ronda, that's so clean and nice in there! I bet you can hardly wait to finish it up and load it up and camp in it! Thanks!


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Old 06-22-2018, 03:06 PM   #12
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A repaint with automotive paint, sprayed, isn't that difficult. On-line suppliers sell two part paint for about $85 a gallon. Would need to prime and sand first.
Probably need two gallons for metallics, one gallon for solid colors. Just finished the outside of ours and am working on cabinets now after a nearly full gutting due to humidity damage.

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Old 06-24-2018, 10:50 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by OR335d View Post
A repaint with automotive paint, sprayed, isn't that difficult. On-line suppliers sell two part paint for about $85 a gallon. Would need to prime and sand first.
Probably need two gallons for metallics, one gallon for solid colors. Just finished the outside of ours and am working on cabinets now after a nearly full gutting due to humidity damage.

Just curious if you pulled the windows or went around? I'm guessing a Scamp's pop rivet covers all get painted as well? I was just looking at mine tonight and wondering what all should come off if I paint it.
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Old 06-25-2018, 06:09 AM   #14
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Best to pull the windows in a Fiberstream if you can. The putty between the fiberglass and the aluminum doesn't stay flexible and in place forever. I just removed/reinstalled all of mine, and all but the bathroom showed signs of water getting past the putty.
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