Paint­ing a GRP cruiser

Canal Boat - - Restoration - STEPHEN DRURY

Q I am in the process of sand­ing down a 48-yearold Elysian cen­tre cock­pit cruiser ready for paint­ing. She has had many coats of paint ap­plied by pre­vi­ous own­ers, some I fear not ap­plied well.

So my ques­tion is, even though I am sand­ing hard I do not feel I will get all the other paint off. Is there any form of primer that would sort of fill in small cracks, or should I just give it a cou­ple of coats of primer and see how it looks be­fore the fi­nal coats? Is there a good primer? A

TONY REPLIES: If the ex­ist­ing coats of paint stay firmly ad­her­ing dur­ing the sand­ing I am sure they will cause no prob­lems when over-painted. If the cracks are in the paint films it may be bet­ter to use a paint strip­per that is com­pat­i­ble with GRP and take the whole lot off but you can get what are known as high build primers that may fill the cracks, es­pe­cially if you ap­ply a cou­ple of coats lo­cally to the cracks and then sand most of it off again. How­ever you will need to dis­cuss this with who­ever sup­plies the paint to en­sure com­pat­i­bil­ity. I would sug­gest that you dis­cuss this with In­ter­na­tional Paints (Akzo No­bel) and Hem­pel, both sup­pli­ers of ma­rine coat­ings.

If the cracks are in the gel coat then you need to be aware that they would al­low wa­ter ingress into the layup and may cause de­lam­i­na­tion and resin break­down (os­mo­sis). In that case I would rake them out and fill with an epoxy ma­rine filler and then sand back. Be aware that nor­mal car type polyester body filler tends to be por­ous al­though it should be fine un­der coats of paint and it is what we used on the GRP cruis­ers in the hire fleet.

Elysians have an ex­cep­tion­ally thick layup so will ac­cept far more os­mo­sis etc. than most mod­ern cruis­ers.

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