Gel Coat or Marine Paint for Boats: Which is better?
January 8, 2015
As your boat is often your most treasured family vehicle, you always want it looking its best. But even with your best efforts to keep your boat looking great and polished, nature will still take its course and the elements will cause wear and tear. This constant exposure will lead to damage on the boat’s surface, and will need repair.
A hot button topic on boat repair is the choice between using gel coat or marine paint to repair the surface of the boat. Both have their individual advantages and shortcomings, but keep in mind that both gel coat and marine paint need similar preparation work to be done before either one can be applied to the boat’s surface. This can include sanding down the existing surface, fairing uneven or punctured surfaces, and so on. Additionally, although the specifics will vary, both marine paint and gel coat will require significant maintenance over time.
Marine paint is a kind of urethane paint designed specifically for use on boats. Many DIYers prefer to use marine paint for boat repair jobs as it is easier to work with and dries to a glossy finish. This means there is usually no need to apply an additional clear coat on top of the marine paint, which in turn reduces the overall time consumed by the repair project. Paint is also the better option if you want custom images or graphics on your boat, as paint is easier to apply as an image or graphic, plus you have more color options. The ease with which you can use paint for a boat repair job means less labor and less effort to achieve a glossy showroom shine.
Although marine paint doesn’t ordinarily have UV-light protection on its own, it’s quite simple to add such a protectant into the paint yourself before applying it. This prevents the surface from UV damage such as hazing and paint discoloration.
Gel coat is a resin usually found on newly-manufactured boats. It is generally less expensive material-wise compared to marine paint and is formulated to be UV protective, so no add-ons are needed. Gel coat is more conducive to small repair areas compared to paint, but the area where gel coat really excels is in its longevity. With the proper care, gel
coat will typically last up to two decades without the need for major repair work, while paint will more likely require at least one repair job within the same period of time. Additionally, gel coat can be made textured on its own by applying a textured surface on top of the gel coat before it fully cures. This eliminates the need for additional no-slip layers or coatings on the boat surface.
One of the disadvantages of gel coat is that there are usually only a limited number of colors that can be used. On top of this, it is comparatively more difficult to work with gel coat in making custom graphics or images on the boat surface. The biggest disadvantage of gel coat is that it is very labor-intensive. While gel coat is ideally sprayed on the surface, we would need to sand down, buff, and polish our way to get that fresh-from-the-production-line look.
Once you have decided on how you will want your boat repaired, or if you have any further questions about your boat repair options, don’t hesitate to contact DetailXPerts to schedule an appointment. Our detailers will be more than happy to assist you with your boat repair project or answer any of your inquiries. Call us today!
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