How do I refinish my older Whaler?
Gelcoat is the original finish on all Boston Whalers. We recommend using gelcoat for the most durable, longest-lasting refinishing material. Note: Any structural defects will have to be properly repaired before attempting to re-gelcoat.
For crazing (fine, cosmetic hairline cracks like a spiderweb), the easiest method for refinishing is prepping the original gelcoat first. Use 50-grit sandpaper to scuff up the finish and knock down any high spots or blend in any imperfections.
Blow off the surface with an air blast and then wipe with acetone (this will remove any dirt or wax left on the surface). Blow off the surface again, making sure any moisture, dust or acetone is completely out of the surface cracks.
Skim over the surface with either a marine filler or a gelcoat paste to fill in any imperfections.
After the filler is cured, re-sand with 100-grit sandpaper to blend in and prepare for respraying.
Wipe with acetone as previously mentioned.
Mask off areas that are not to be refinished.
Note: A surfacing agent or wax should be added to the gelcoat when ordered. This is very important; without the wax the surface will remain sticky after curing. We recommend thinning the gelcoat with Patch Aid. This product provides a uniform finish with minimal yellowing and discoloration. Styrene or acetone can also be used; however, the gelcoat may change colors after a short period of time (styrene) or leave pits (acetone).
Note: Experiment with thinning to match your particular conditions and equipment.
After the gelcoat is cured, the surface will need to be sanded with several different grits before it can be buffed with an electric buffer and a good paste compound (made for gelcoat). When using a regular sander, we recommend first using a 180-grit sandpaper to get the major orange peel removed, and then wet-sanding with a 500 or even 600-grit sandpaper before attempting to buff. If you have access to a DA (dual action) sander, 240-grit and 600 should work fine before buffing.
If considering a polyurethane paint such as Awlgrip or Imron, use the same preparation to fill the imperfections and then follow the manufacturer’s instructions for preparation. A specific primer should be used in each case.
Regular boat paint would be the most economical method for refinishing. Interlux or Petit are two of the most popular manufacturers. These can be sprayed or brushed on according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Boston Whaler gelcoats, resins, fiberglass, etc. are available through:
Mini Craft of Florida: 1-800-282-8244 (www.minicraft.com)
Spectrum Color: 1-800-754-5516 (www.spectrumcolor.com)
Interlux Paints (www.yachtpaint.com)
Pettit Paints (www.pettitpaint.com)