Longing to spray a new gelcoat - Fiberglass RV
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Old 05-03-2006, 01:36 PM   #1
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Name: Gigi
Trailer: Love Bug 1974, Eriba Puck 1972
Arizona, Minnesota & Va
Posts: 328
The Fabulous FabergeLovebug has a pretty good looking gelcoat...for the most part. It needs to be cleaned and waxed as that didn't happen last year. And, I have a few blemishes. When I first acquired Lovey, I used a polyester repair kit on the blemishes and it looked pretty good. I think I could do more of this and with a wax job, she would shed years!

But...I'd love to tackle this as I think I would get a really nice look with a new coat. There's just something that's so appealing about a fresh coat of paint, it looks clean, bright, tidy.

And, I would rather spray gelcoat than roll on paint. I have concerns about paint peeling eventually and think I'd rather do this once with gelcoat and not have to worry that it may come off.

I'd be very interested in your experiences and thoughts on this.
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Old 05-03-2006, 03:42 PM   #2
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And, I would rather spray gelcoat than roll on paint. I have concerns about paint peeling eventually and think I'd rather do this once with gelcoat and not have to worry that it may come off.
This isn't really a practical proposition. Gelcoat can be sprayed through a gun, but it has to be thinned so much (its viscosity is higher than any paint) that it is not easy and you are unlikely to find anyone economical who has this experience - your local spray shop will (or should...) run screaming if you suggest this.

It is certain that after spraying the gelcoat that you will need to do an all-over machine polish - I'm not talking about waxing, but using a proper polisher and cutting compound - and it is quite possible that you will need to do an all-over sanding of the gelcoat to get it perfectly flat first.

I can see the attraction of this, but sadly I don't think it's practical.

The one thing that no-one mentions in 'titivating' the external appearance of their egg is to machine polish the existing gelcoat. I would expect that the thickness of gelcoat applied to all eggs would allow for many machine polishes before there is any risk of cutting through the gelcoat and the end product is a brand new trailer finish. However, it does have the problem that it will not cover up any non-matching repairs that have been done in the past.

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Old 05-03-2006, 09:56 PM   #3
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If you are into a major refurbish,rub it out and go to the nearest Dupont paint store and pick out any color of Imron and shoot it on, Rub it down and shoot on a coat of clear.Than stand back and admire it.
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Old 05-03-2006, 11:02 PM   #4
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You're right about the Imron. I did an old Peugeot station wagon with white Imron. We drove it for about five years, then it sat out in the back forty for another ten. When it ended up going to the junk yard, I cleaned up a portion of the paint and it was perfect. This was without a clear coat.
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Old 05-04-2006, 12:07 AM   #5
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Trailer: Boler 1975 13 ft
Posts: 61

I did spray a new gelcoat as part of my restoration.

It does require a spray gun that is able to handle the thicker medium. A gravity feed system doesn't really work but I purchased a gun type that was designed for it. Had to mix a batch the size of the can on the sprayer (add catalyst) then spray that. Then mix another and spray,etc. Purchased a 5 gallon pail of gelcoat that was colored to match my trooper by the manufacturer( used over half). I still have to sand / polish the finish to get the very smooth high gloss that is possible. But I am thrilled with the result so far. It is a little stippled like eggshells or orange peal but a sanding with very fine paper will flaten that out and polish it. Repairs now can be done and sprayed with gelcoat and polished to match...

The body had developed hairline cracks and other things that required fiberglass patching so I wanted to get it back to a fiberglass finish instead of paint. But a professional paint job should be a great finish... Just didn't want to spend the extra $2,000 that would have cost. It cost about $500 for the gelcoat, spraygun, etc. and quotes for a professional bodywork and paint job were comming in over $2,500.

Only took about 1/2 to spray once I did all the prep work - that took a lot longer......

from my blog

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Old 05-04-2006, 07:10 AM   #6
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Gigi, I'm not sure this is one you want to tackle yourself. Perhaps, if you had the set up like Roy mentioned, it might work out okay.

I have done several fiberglass repairs on my trailer, including the gel coat. While I am pleased with the results, each place took a lot of work. In fact, some of the last repairs I made where this Spring. One still needs a little work but the other is okay. I didn't realize that the weather was going to change and a wind storm came up, the weather turned cold and I had some big gooey, dirt filled messes that I had to remove and redo. I do use the small sprayers, but it has to be thinned with acetone. This causes orange peeling and/or pitting. Since I'm doing small areas it isn't a problem to keep working with it until the patina matches the original. The hard part is not removing the original thin coat when feathering the new and old together.

I, personally, do perfer the gel coat, but if I was going to do a complete redo I'd either get a boat dealer to do it, attempt it like Roy (IF I could have a set up like his) or paint it.
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Old 05-04-2006, 08:01 AM   #7
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They spray paint Corvettes and it works extremely well. Much easier than spraying a gel.
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Old 05-04-2006, 08:06 AM   #8
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Name: Gigi
Trailer: Love Bug 1974, Eriba Puck 1972
Arizona, Minnesota & Va
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Great advice and ideas. Thanks so much.

I took at look at the Imron website,


It says it is a polyurethane paint and can be rolled on. It does look good.

Roy, what a nice job you did. Beautiful finish.

Suz, I remember now that you did you own. Anecdotal information is most important here, thanks.

Well, I'm going to keep looking and thinking. Andrew brings up some great points, too.
Thanks for all the help and thoughtful replies!

It sounds like more work than I could handle this year to do gelcoat, but painting, that is something I could do...

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Old 05-04-2006, 08:21 AM   #9
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Gigi, I'm pretty much a do-as-much-as-I-can-myself-if-I-can person for two reasons: cost and results. It may take me eons to get it like I want it or I may not even succeed, but it really irks me to spend a fortune and still not like the results.

When I first got my trailer, it really needed a lot of help. In the beginning I did a lot of research into painting. There is one product that surfaced that is actually made for boats and if I ever decided to paint, this is probably what I would use: Interlux Brightside.

Although I have NOT used it, I like everything that I have read -- including hearing about those that have used it on their boats and how well it has held up.
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Old 05-04-2006, 06:02 PM   #10
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Name: Jeffrey
Trailer: 2007 Scamp 13 ft
Posts: 39
hi--Jeff in Upstate, NY. I just finished the exterior on our 13' Scamp - it was moldy, scratched and lots of black marks on it. I used some 320 grit automotive sandpaper and wet-sanded it by hand after doing a good double scrub with car wash soap and scrub brush. After all the marks were out and the gelcoat was even and clean I used a product intended for boats called VERTGLAS - I bought just (2) bottles, each 16oz., used a 4" wide foam brush to apply 4 coats total to the entire surface. There is a couple vendors that sell it on the web - just goggle Vertglas. Since it is a water base, there is no smell, not a big deal if a little gets on chrome trim or lenses or moldings so no taping off was needed. I am very impressed with this product - the coats dried in 3-4 minutes each so the entire job took about only 4 hours to apply the Vertglas. The little Scamp looks like new - you just need to use some carwash to keep it clean and next year apply another coat or two to refresh it. The dullness is gone, this product seals the pores and creates a shiny new surface. So that's it - give it a try - if you can get the gelcoat sanded smoothly and get all marks out, you won't be disappointed. Just remember that any defects or marks will get sealed over, so get them out first. Enclosed a picture of the Scamp after the job was finished.
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Old 05-04-2006, 09:17 PM   #11
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Doggone it, but I clicked on your link Gigi, and the crazy website just stuck me in a crazy loop of the ad, and wouldn't go to you page.

I ordered the Vertglas for my Egg, too---- but hubby is second guessing me and he thinks first we ought to paint it. He IS a guy who knows more than I do about boats and cars..... I'm going to do whatever he suggests! *sigh* I WISH color was no object.. I would paint it silver- I think it looks good silver- it would fit in with my space theme decorating!!

Gigi- I Can't wait to see your camper!!!
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Old 05-04-2006, 10:08 PM   #12
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Trailer: 1997 Casita 17' SD, 1981 13' Burro, 2014 Tacoma Crewcab 4x4
Posts: 242
It can eazly be sprayed silver using a automotive 2 part enamel/ clear coat paint with a flex agent added.
after preping and masking your trailer spray the paint color coat with about 3 wet coats and let dry.
then color sand and clear coat.
This finish will last many years.
I have also spray gelcoated my old race car and color sanded. Gel coat uses a cheap spray gun, pruchased from express composits in minneapolis.

If you need more advice let me know
I'm in Nowthen, Mn
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Old 05-04-2006, 10:51 PM   #13
Trailer: 79 Boler 17 ft
Posts: 48
I have a rather faded 79 Boler with zillions of hairline surface crazing and a chauky surface. After alot of deliberation, rather than Gel Coating, I plan one of two alternatives:

Either a 2 part PolyEurathane paint worth $179 per gallon ( I need 2 gallons), or a one part PolyEurathane paint: Interlux Brightside at $149 per gallon. The problem with the 2 part is that is is kinda poisonous to spray as a do-it-yourselfer, without proper equipment. The Interlux boat paint seems to be a viable alternative. Both finishes would go onto an Epoxy primer base I would apply.

I am now trying to line up spray facilities to take the plunge, or my brother's farm Shed. I can't see going wrong with the PolyEurathane finishes. They are designed in many cases for industrial use and are proven well. I can't see the benefit to go at it like a purist and go Gel Coat. I want to change the color of the unit, and would be concerned about the opacity of a gelcoat. In addition, the prep work for Gel Coat and Paint would be the same. But there is the added work of the polishing you would need to do on the Gel. Being closer to the Oil Patch, I get alot of exposure to the industrial strength of the PolyEurathanes on the market, and the indications I am getting is that they are a very good choice. The Interlux Brightside seems like a good do-it-yourselfer approach.

....just my two cents.
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Old 05-06-2006, 07:58 AM   #14
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Trailer: Love Bug 1974, Eriba Puck 1972
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I'd like to take some time to respond to all your answers. Thanks for all the thoughtful, valuable input. Alas, I am going camping and shall not take the time to respond at this time, but, will do so on Monday. I didn't want anyone to consider me rude by not answering your posts.

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Old 05-06-2006, 08:17 AM   #15
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You just did answer us.

Have fun camping!
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