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Author Topic: Exterior fiberglass painting question  (Read 11087 times)

AmeDeBoheme

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Exterior fiberglass painting question
« on: August 22, 2013, 10:29:02 PM »
We are planning on painting our fiberglass 84 pace arrow. Nothing too crazy, just a fresh coat of paint and a new stripe. The previous owner power washed her before handing the keys over and she is in sore need of a new coat of marine wax. My question is:

We are still a week or so away from painting - will she be ok unprotected without a wax coat that long? We shouldn't wax before painting right? Also - I know there are "automobile" and "fiberglass" specific paints ($$$$$$) but I can't seem to find anywhere a reason why a decent quality exterior paint, some tape, a couple rollers and our extensive painting experience couldn't do a solid job....has anyone done this? (the exterior house paint and rollers I mean) Is there a reason not to other than it not being "the right way?"

dave61

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Re: Exterior fiberglass painting question
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2013, 06:45:31 AM »
The main reason to "do it right" would be for the best appearance and durabuility. Personally, I would not do what you describe but I would try some compound using a power buffer to see if it might be good enough to live with it.
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Alfa38User

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Re: Exterior fiberglass painting question
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2013, 08:40:03 AM »
No, NO wax of any kind before paint . You will likely have to give it a quick wash just before painting....

There are some marine single part paints (no catalyst needed) by International that I used for my 1st boat that worked very well by rolling on and then brushing out with a top quality brush. Not  nearly as cheap as house paint but looked from a few feet away like it was sprayed on, bright and shinny, no orange peel effect.   

If you are planning to keep this vehicle for a while, do it right, if not, then house paint may work but.... good luck on selling it afterwards. I wouldn't touch it with a 10 foot pole myself. But that's me!!
« Last Edit: August 23, 2013, 09:50:29 AM by Alfa38User »
Stu
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Jeff

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Re: Exterior fiberglass painting question
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2013, 08:43:28 AM »
Rolled on paint never seems to turn out as well as removing the decals, applying fiberglass restorer, and either having the decals replaced with something else or painting new stripes over the decal area.

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Exterior fiberglass painting question
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2013, 08:51:27 AM »
There is no need to wax the exterior except for cosmetic reasons. Don't do it if you plan to paint soon - it just makes more work at paint prep time.

As for rolling on an exterior paint, well, it depends on your skill, the paint quality and your desire for aesthetics. It isn't going to look like a new car and probably most people will be able to tell that it was rolled rather than sprayed with an automotive paint, but you can probably get it looking decent enough. Most house paints are designed to be self-cleaning, meaning they wash away a bit of their surface overtime. Higher gloss trim paints less so than wall paints, though. I don't think you want flat house paint on the coach anyway, so look for the highest gloss pain you can find. A better choice would be an exterior grade paint made for patio furniture or industrial equipment, maybe something like Rustoleum's exterior products. They are made for painting by brush or roller. Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore, and other major manufacturers make this type of paint too, but you may not find it in the local Home Depot. Figure on paying $60/gallon or more for a good grade of paint.

An epoxy paint designed for fiberglass would be best but hardest to use. I think a good grade of paint intended for metal surfaces would stick well enough. Marine stores are more likely to have paints that have the characteristics you need.  Get some advice at a major paint store - tell them you are painting an exterior fiberglass surface. Ask about prep and priming as well as the final finish.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
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buckstand

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Re: Exterior fiberglass painting question
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2013, 12:14:00 PM »
You don't need to worry if it's waxed because all the wax has to be removed in order to paint. Also, to paint exterior fiberglass you will need to sand for any paint to have any chance of adhesion. then we get into what  grit sand paper, lol, and thats another subject. It all depends on how ruff the surface is to start with but the final sanding will be around a 400 grit wet sand emery cloth. Finer grit if you want a better finish and use spray equipment (automotive finish). I have used 1500 grit on a show car base coat, clear coat finish.
I painted fiberglass cars, fiberglass car parts (hoods, hood scoops, doors, front-ends) and boats. My favorite paint was Dupont acrylic enamel (automotive paint) and a good spray gun.

Without seeing your coach, if the existing finish is there at all, I would try different grits of buffing compound first to see if she would buff out and avoid the repainting. Be careful when buffing not to burn through or scorch the gel-coat if it has a gel-coat finish, just keep the buffer moving and rpm below max speed.

But back to painting, if you don't want the paint to flake off in quarter or bigger size flakes sanding will be absolute. A good commercial grade enamel at the least and primer that is compatible with the paint that you are using are a must. I say "a must" because if not you will wind up with a bigger mess than when you started. Lastly, rather than brush and roller, have you thought about a airless spray gun?
Airless spray gun will not spray automotive Acrylic Enamel worth a hoot, you will need a good quality spray gun and compressor for automotive paint, but the other paints that you are referring too it would be something to maybe consider, I think you would get a better finish (smoother/higher gloss).
Good luck with whatever you decide....remember....preperation will make the final result!

 
 
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JCZ

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Re: Exterior fiberglass painting question
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2013, 01:35:29 PM »
You might want to think about washing it with Dawn dish soap.  It has an immulsifier in it that will strip all the old wax (even that left behind by the pressure washer) as well as and grease or residue left behind by the pressure washer.  It's safe on everything from glass, plastic, metals, paint, powdercoat, etc.
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Exterior fiberglass painting question
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2013, 07:28:51 PM »
I'd use something a lot stronger than Dawn. After sanding and final prep work, I would wipe it down with a clean cloth wet with lacquer thinner, MEK or acetone.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
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Re: Exterior fiberglass painting question
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2013, 08:45:31 AM »
Scrub it with TSP and green scrubbies from the hardware store, not the supermarket. The scrubbies will remove oxidization and gloss with the addition of elbow grease. Wear the long cuff blue rubber gloves from the hardware store too, TSP will give you caustic burns if you don't. Then follow the directions on the paint. Marine paint will work perfectly. Interlux Brightside and Pettit Easypoxy are two that I have used successfully many times. The roller and brush method can produce amazingly blinding shine with nearly invisible brush strokes. Scratches are easy to touch up, model airplane brush and it almost disappears for the first few years, before the fading is noticable. You might put a fresh coat on after several years depending on the color and sun fade. I had the same 22' fiberglass boat for 20 years. Painted it with Easypoxy electric blue 3 times. Mostly because of fender scuffs while rafted up. These aren't the scary toxic paints like you hear about either, they are a can of paint, open and simply stir it up. I find it similar to por-15 and keep some around.

Bill
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ndaugbjerg

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Re: Exterior fiberglass painting question
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2013, 09:29:18 AM »
I think Stu and Bill are right on target. The technique is usually referred to as "Roll and tip". I prefer Interlux Brightside single part polyurethane. I just repainted my sailboat deck after 7 yrs. It was still glossy; just getting a bit beat up from use. Do your homework on the internet and find a friend to either brush or roll. Brightside was developed with the DIY'er in mind. Done right, and it's not that hard, your neighbor in the site next to you won't know it's not a 10K spray job! As others have noted, the secret is in the prep. Study the instructions and pay attention to temperature, humidity and sunlight. And before you start, stop by a reputable automotive paint shop and get a quote. They won't tell you how to do it; that info's on the web but commit the quote to memory so you can enjoy the cleaning, sanding and painting.
Niels
NDaugbjerg

Alfa38User

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Re: Exterior fiberglass painting question
« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2013, 09:46:49 AM »
Quote
I prefer Interlux Brightside single part polyurethane.

Exactly that product!!!

Quote
Study the instructions and pay attention to temperature, humidity and sunlight.

Very Important!!. A somewhat cooler cloudy day may be best. I made the mistake of trying to do the cabin top under a dark protective cover on a sunny day in early Spring. The paint set up too quickly because of the heat under there and I was obliged to sand the cabin top again and start over!!! My other mistake was using a bright white on the cabin where an off-white would have been much much better. Couldn't go sailing without using dark sunglasses on a sunny day!!!! OUCH!

No such problem on the hull as the cover was removed first and it was painted a medium blue!!

The moral of this story is: consider the colour carefully before making a decision!!!

Since this is a single part polyurethane (no catalyst), for a large job, the painting does not have to be done in one session. The cans can be closed and the job completed later.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2013, 10:08:09 AM by Alfa38User »
Stu
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ndaugbjerg

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Re: Exterior fiberglass painting question
« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2013, 11:52:42 AM »
Stu and I both forgot another important detail. For tipping your paint job don't even look at brushes below the $25-30 range and get plenty of solvent to clean it with. A good brush will last the rest of your life if always cleaned properly and never let anyone else use it. Clean enough is not nearly clean enough. The difference on your finish is like comparing the results from a $1.79 spray can and the finish from a $1000.00 spray rig in the hands of a professional. If you can't drink 2 beers while you are cleaning your brush, clean it some more. I noticed that Stu did not mention reducer(thinner) and I am reluctant  to do so. Remember that you are  working on a vertical surface. It's a good idea to practice on a smooth non-porous test panel. and having a good helper (either on the brush or roller) will greatly speed up and improve the results. I have a boat partner who is known around the marina as Capt. Anal. I credit most of the success of our paint jobs to Steve and the patience of our wives.
Niels   
NDaugbjerg

elliott-maine

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Re: Exterior fiberglass painting question
« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2013, 08:30:08 PM »
I used Ezpoxy on my last boat.  I added Penetrol to improve it's flow with temperature.  Rolled on with a good quality roller and tipped with a quality foam brush.  No runs, sags, or brush marks.  People asked me who sprayed it on.
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meternerd

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Re: Exterior fiberglass painting question
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2013, 08:06:18 PM »
I bought a 95 Chateau last year.  40,000 miles and mechanically perfect.  Cosmetically....well....UGLY!  Fiberglass had yellowed and horizontal stripes were peeling and cracked.  I scraped all of the old decals, sanded it all to rough it up a bit, masked it, and sprayed a primer called "STIX" (sprayed with airless sprayer) that is designed for hard to paint surfaces such as fiberglass and aluminum.  Then I top coated it with white acrylic latex exterior semi-gloss enamel house paint.  It went on nice and smooth, gloss was just about right, and the new decals make it look like new.  I'll try to add a pic.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2013, 08:17:45 PM by meternerd »

 

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