Awlgrip or other hull paint feedback and recommendations

Discussion in 'Fiberglass/Wood/Gelcoat Repair' started by Pilot, Oct 26, 2017.

  1. Pilot

    Pilot Member

    May 7, 2009
    Chesapeake Bay
    2009 370 Searay DA
    V Drives
    Twin 8.1's
    10 years of weather on the blue hull has taken its toll. The fading and discoloring are now beyond repair from wax and compounding.

    So, I'm seriously considering painting the hull. Has anyone else done a blue? I'm curious if its worth the cost and how well it looks. I've heard you don't need to wax the hull anymore,, is that true?

  2. BillK2632

    BillK2632 Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jun 25, 2009
    Lake Norman, NC
    1999 185 Bowrider,
    Mercruiser 4.3, Alpha I
    I've heard all the same things about paint and have seen a few boats painted - you hear Awlgrip the most - they look good. Really I don't know that you have many options at this point. Re-gelcoating is pretty much prohibitive, so that leaves paint. Or, another option I would at least look at is vinyl wrapping it. I've only seen some videos and some episodes on Ship Shape TV, but it's a growing trend, a lot cheaper than painting - although not as permanent as paint. I originally thought wrapping was just for advertising and graphics on fishing and ski boats, but I've seen some videos of lots of boats being done simply to change the color, and large boats, not just small fishing and ski boats.

    I don't have any first hand experience with either, but this is a major job/expense so I would do my research.
    Outdoorfunguy85 likes this.
  3. fwebster

    fwebster Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor PLATINUM Sponsor

    Oct 6, 2006
    Middle Tennessee ; Panama City Beach, FL
    1996 450DA
    3116 Caterpillars
    Painting hulls is a common practice here on the Gulf coast. Many of the larger sport fishermen are painted from the factory and a growing number of Sea Ray owners/buyers are painting colored hulls when they grow weary of the overhead of maintaining colored gelcoat oe they buy a boat with heavily oxidixed/neglected hulls.

    The process is not cheap and requires someone with experience and access to the right equipment or who will tent the boat while prepping and shooting paint. Awlgrip and Imron are the most popular brands of paint here, probably due to the fact that there are local paint vendors for both. PPG is another good brand, but we have no dealer in this area so we don't see it much. Awlgrip has much better gloss retention than gelcoat so it is more forgiving since it won't oxidize for about 7-10 years. Most painted hull owners just haul out for a few days in the winter and have the hull polished more to keep it clean than to add protection. A quick trip around the boat with a polisher is a lot better than 3-4 compound/buff/polish jobs a year.

    The main disadvantages are that paint isn't permanent, it must be re-painted after about 10 years and scratches and dock rash can be a major repair because some colors can be tricky to match, particularly if you pick a color that must be mixed.
  4. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Jun 20, 2012
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60
    I had blue awl grip on an original blue gel coat sea ray.

    It was great. Held it's color, was durable. I would not hesitate to do it again in a heartbeat.

    This was south Florida.

  5. JVM225

    JVM225 Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 8, 2008
    Farmingdale, NY
    2002 410 Sundancer, Monaco Edition.
    3126 Cats.
    I second the idea of looking in to the vinyl wrap.
  6. paulswagelock

    paulswagelock Well-Known Member

    Oct 25, 2010
    2018 SDX 270 OB 300 Verado
    Verado 300
    Friend wraps boats here in Pa. They look great, but they do mar fairly easily. Docks, fenders, etc all leave scars. some can be fixed with a heat gun, others just remain.
  7. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Jun 20, 2012
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60
    Curious - what would the cleaning process be like with a vinyl wrap?

    I am thinking about dried on salt. Not identifying it as a problem - just do not know much about vinyl wrap.

    Seems like cleaning salt off is more intense than washing a car.

  8. Capttjmd

    Capttjmd New Member

    Jun 27, 2017
    Baltimore, MD
    1997 Sea Ray 240 Sundancer
    5.7L Merc w/ Alpha 1 Gen 2
    I painted the hull of my previous boat myself. I used a single part PU paint which made it very easy, Interlux's Brightsides. Prep was simple, just wash (no wax), wipe down with acetone, sand with fine grit paper, then tack cloth, then acetone wipe down again, and roll and tip the paint. I did two coats, sanding, tack cloth, and acetone wipe between the coats. Turned out great, did it in yellow and the color lasted a several years before any noticeable fading. I sold the boat, but reapplication to bring the color back up would have been very simple again. The toughest part was getting the ideal weather conditions to do the job, since I was doing in the boat yard not inside. Ideally you want lower humidity (below 50% I believe) and mid range temps (70s was ideal). The weather conditions needed to be in that range for a period that allowed the paint to dry for 24 hours. If dew collects on the hull it would've dulled the final result rather than finish with a high gloss.
  9. Jimmy Buoy

    Jimmy Buoy Well-Known Member

    Dec 3, 2008
    Sarnia, Ontario, Canada
    340 Amberjack
    twin 8.1S 370 Hp + 4.5 Westerbeke Genset
    I believe Formula Boats are painted with Imron paint and their colors I've seen on the water are stunning. My last boat was an 86 Wellcraft which had a wide navy Imron blue stripe below the rub rail which never became dull. The boat before that was a 89 268 Dancer with a wide dark green gelcoat stripe below the rub rail - which was a constant PINA to work the chalkiness out each season with a buffer.
  10. Tman

    Tman Member

    Aug 10, 2012
    Seattle, WA
    2014 Sabre 48 Salon Express
    Twin Cummins QSC 550
    Zeus Pod Drives

    SCORPIO Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Apr 7, 2008
    1989 300 DA
    Twin 5.7 Merc Alpha I
    Before you spend the money for wraps or paint, consider when acrylic coating. It's not permanent and needs yearly maintenance. But it's inexpensive and produces good results, especially on colored hulls. You must get the oxidation off first, but that's not a big deal. I've done my boat every year since I bought it in 2008 and get compliments all the time. Many dislike acrylics, usually because they don't prep properly. If you want more details including materials I use, PM me and I'll give you all the details. BTW, I do my 89 300 DA for about 40 bucks a season.
  12. Havana Shamrock

    Havana Shamrock Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Sep 9, 2008
    Long Island.
    2005 500DB
    Honda 30HP
    Sea Doo 90 HP H.O.
    I’ll throw another paint brand in the mix, our 05 pewter gelcoat was so dried up it had to be painted.
    We looked into the acrylic coating which would have required a $2k $3 yearly process including a haul out . So we shopped around and found Alexseal which I’m told is more forgiving when and if you need a repair. Awlgrip and Awlcraft are not repairable. The boatyard paints with whatever you want but he agreed that most of his customers well over 100’ers choose Alexseal. We are very impressed with the work and the finish looks like a brand new boat. We had them do the topside with a new 3m compound/wax and it looks much younger now. I looked at a few wrapped boats up close and you can see the seams coming apart (shrinking) it seems like a good idea until you walk up to it.
    Anyway, we love it so far and thought I’d share this paint brand

    Attached Files:


    SCORPIO Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Apr 7, 2008
    1989 300 DA
    Twin 5.7 Merc Alpha I
    Scroll down to my post showing pics of my spring upgrades # 2830 and the shine pics. This is commercial grade acrylic floor wax, the kind you get at Lowe's etc. This is the same material as Vertglass, Polygolw, etc but at MUCH lower price, it is less than $30 a gallon and a gallon will do a 300 DA several times. It lasts for years if done properly the first time and with only a few maint. coats every spring. My boat is sitting on it's trailer right now with the same shine after a full season in the salt water and sun, needs a wash but the shine is intact. I would strongly suggest trying it on a small area and seeing what it does for your gelcoat. Since it is a clear coating, you need the oxide off the boat and all dirt or it will be trapped under the coating just like if you varnished over dirt. It takes a few coats to begin to build a shine, and several more to get a film thickness that will be durable. I can do my boat from wash to finished in about 8-10 hours and it lasts all season. I would assume my almost 30 year old gelcoat is in worse condition than yours and this stuff works great on dark colors and vinyl striping.
  14. spikedaddy99

    spikedaddy99 Active Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jun 11, 2008
    Prentice, Wi
    2005 500 DB
    We are painted with Awlgrip. 7 years and all we do is wash it. Still beautiful and LOW maintenance. Mike
  15. JVM225

    JVM225 Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 8, 2008
    Farmingdale, NY
    2002 410 Sundancer, Monaco Edition.
    3126 Cats.
    I’ve got a buddy of mine with an old Grady White center console that needs a little love. That might be just what he needs.
    What is the name of the product?

    SCORPIO Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Apr 7, 2008
    1989 300 DA
    Twin 5.7 Merc Alpha I
    ZEP Wet Look floor polish. I'll post a write up of the process I use to get lasting results later tonight.
  17. JVM225

    JVM225 Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 8, 2008
    Farmingdale, NY
    2002 410 Sundancer, Monaco Edition.
    3126 Cats.

    SCORPIO Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Apr 7, 2008
    1989 300 DA
    Twin 5.7 Merc Alpha I
    This is a write up I did for a Facebook boating group, so pardon me if is sounds like I'm replying to someone, I was. It's been a long day and it was easier to copy and paste than to retype this.
    Vertglass, Poliglow and all other acrylic coatins are all basically the same stuff, acrylic polymer floor wax. The commercial stuff is better than Future, as the commercial kinds have high percentages of dissolved solids, which are what give it UV resistance. The ZEP that Lowe's sells is 19% dissolved solids, which is fairly high. They have another one called 'High Traffic' floor polish that is 20%, I haven't tried that one yet. The key to any acrylic coating is surface prep. If you don't get the oxidation off or any dirt off, you will have shiny dirt. Think of it like putting on varnish. A few extra hours getting the wax off, chalk off and dirt removed (something like soft scrub or a water based abrassive work great for dirt and oxidation) and you will have a finish that will look great and last for years. It requires about 10 coats over bare gelcoat to get a shine and build it up to get a film thickness that will be durable. That scares a lot of people, but a coat dries in minutes and by the time you get to the end of the hull side, you can go back and apply the next coat. I did everything below the rub rail in a day using a 10" applicator. Smaller ones work great above the rub rail around stantions etc. The main thing is to put it on thin and build it up. If you get a run, that can be tough to remove, so best to just 'bury' it in more coats. Going with thin coats greatly reduces the chance for runs. Sharp body lines and things like snaps can cause excess material to wring out of the applicator and cause a run, so keep alert around those areas. The applicators I've had for years from my Vertglass days. Some folks use a cotton towel, but I find they leave lint behind in the finish and don't level out as well. I go one extra step to preserve my finish, after a few days, I wipe on a coat of pure marine wax. Not hard, just wipe it on, let haze and then wipe off the haze (Wax on/Wax off). This helps shed dirt and water spots. My slip doesn't have a full finger or floating docks so I can't do much to the hull sides after I'm in the water so the wax helps me keep her clean.
    Acrylics make stripes and vinyl names look great. Dark faded hulls also can really benefit from this type of coating. The more faded and weathered the gelcoat, the more dramatic will be the improvement from using acrylics. A shiny new hull will not benefit from coating. Keep the material off of glass as it will dry and look crappy. Harsh high pH cleaners and black streak removers can cause temporary yellowing of the coating, but using a pH neutral soap afterwards gets rid of the yellow. Acetone will attack the coating so be careful using it around a coated area. Also, some spray sunscreens can attack the coating causing a discoloration or if you sit with a sun screen coated leg draped over a gunwale or someplace for a long time, it can attack the finish. We usually sit on towels on the treated foredeck on the bow anyway since it's hot and don't have any problems. BTW all this info came from the school of hard knocks, been there, done that, got the T-shirt.
    Don't really need tape, just be careful. After a short time, you begin to develop a technique and can be quite accurate. I do tape off my bottom paint though so I don't drag black onto my applicator and then into the coating. You can do a spot repair of an area that maybe didn't get enough coats and began to degrade. I tape off the area and strip it and re apply. Pull the tape and run a coat or two over the line and it all but disappears, enough to fool the eye. As my grand father used to say, 'a man on horseback will never see it'. Back up a couple of feet and you cannot.

    When the time comes to remove the coating, ZEP makes a stripper for their floor coatings. It's about $25 a gallon and works like a charm to remove it. I just fill a spray bottle with it and use a white scrubbie pad and spray stripper on the hull and let it sit a few minutes keeping it wet and then scrub it with the white pad and a hose and follow with a soapy wash. If any coating remains, just rinse and repeat. It really melts the coating and it more or less sloughs off with the scrubbie and a hose.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2017
  19. Outdoorfunguy85

    Outdoorfunguy85 New Member

    Nov 15, 2017
    If you're going to vinyl wrap it, contact Gatorwraps. They wrap all kinds of crazy things and lettering decals. You might also want to check Gatorprints.
  20. RobF300

    RobF300 Member

    Nov 22, 2006
    amityville, new york
    old and useless
    413 Chrysler straight inboard
    With min upkeep a painted hull should last more than 10 years, if you do not take care of it and beat it up like anything else it won’t last but even with min. Care it should exceed 10 years.
    It can also be repaired, imron and allcraft are repairable. I was not impressed with alexseal as far as how it ages and I’m not alone in this.

    Wraps are not THAT. cheap, are not repairable, and will never give you the depth and gloss that a proper paint job will.
    Save those for the fish and speed boats or other boats that want the look of crazy graphics without the expense.

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