People unfamiliar with boats would think they are all the same except for their sizes and shapes. In reality, boats have different purposes, and even the paints applied to their interior and exterior differ. The difference also extends to the various types of paint used for the boats’ different parts.
For example, some water vessels require gel coat paint for boats, while others use marine paint. A significant difference exists between these paints.
Understanding gel coat finish
Contrary to what some people think, the gel-coat finish is not paint. Instead, it is a resin-based finishing coat that you will often see on new yachts. After application to the yacht’s hull, it dries into a hard coat that resembles a shell casing. It provides UV protection and remains stable even in the presence of harmful chemicals. In addition, the gel coat finish lasts longer, as the material itself is durable. A high-quality gel coat finish will last for nearly 20 years without undergoing repair.
Pigments, often white, give color to the polyester resin. Gelcoat is suitable for fiberglass materials to protect the surface from external damage from abrasive and sharp objects.
Difference between gel coat and marine paint
When you say marine paint, you are talking about urethane paint formulated explicitly for yachts and boats. Marine paint is more expensive, but it has more colors available than gel coat.
Marine paints are not that chemically stable compared to gel coat finish. Therefore, when the boat and yacht hulls are painted, the chemical reaction with water and other environmental pollutants makes the paint chip easily.
You apply gel coat finish in several layers and top it with a clear glossy top coat giving the hull a smoothly tough and shiny coat. On the other hand, marine paint needs mixing and has a different preparation before applying it. But in terms of application, it is easier to work with marine paint.
Advantages (and disadvantages) of gel coat finish
Gelcoat finish lasts longer. Thus, it is more durable, which is one of the most significant advantages of the product. It can take around two decades before you need to do any major repair on a marine vessel coated with gel coat. Marine paint can last about ten years before your boat surface needs significant repairs.
However, you have to take more steps to repair the hulls coated with gel coat, making the process more expensive.
But otherwise, the gel coat finish offers several other advantages.
Gelcoat provides the boat’s hull with a glossy and smooth yet tough protective layer that allows the coating to resist adverse reactions to water and chemical, increasing the life of the coating, and conversely, the life of your boat.
The high-quality and beautiful look with a gel coat finish gives your boat an extended aesthetic appeal. In addition, with proper maintenance, your boat will look new for several years.
Gelcoat finish is quite tough despite its smooth and glossy appearance. It is a resilient product that resists corrosion, UV rays, and various weather conditions. It also resists graffiti.
It is easy to see why many people prefer gel coat finish to marine paint, particularly if you have a fiberglass hull. Although more expensive than marine paint, the length of time it protects your boat is proportional to the initial investment in coating your boat with a gel coat finish.
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