Sep 07, 2018

Gelcoat Finish vs. Marine Paint for Your Yacht’s Hull

The Difference Between Gelcoat vs. Paint

Gelcoat Finish vs. Marine Paint for Your Yacht’s Hull

When it comes to boat bottom painting, yacht owners typically have two choices – use a gelcoat finish or go with marine paint. At Yacht Management South Florida, we offer top-quality boat bottom painting and gelcoat refinishing services using only premium products. Our yacht maintenance experts have repaired both gelcoat and painted hulls, and buffed them until they shined like brand new! We explain the difference between these two boat bottom paints.

What is a Gelcoat Finish?

Gelcoat is a resin-based finishing material often used on newly manufactured yachts. Once applied onto a hull, this adhesive-like material dries into a hard, shell-like casing.

Gelcoat is formulated to be UV protective and stable against harmful chemical reactions. Yacht hulls are often exposed to several chemical vapors, so this stability is an advantage.

Gelcoat finish is known for its long-lasting durability. With proper care and high-quality gelcoat refinishing when necessary, a gelcoat finish can last a couple of decades without major repair work.

What’s the Difference Between a Gelcoat and Painted Hull?

Marine paint is a urethane paint formulated specifically for use on boats and yachts. When it comes to boat bottom painting prices, marine paint is generally the more expensive option. However, marine paint does come in a lot more colors.

Painted hulls are especially resistant to cracking and peeling, but marine paint has less chemical stability, which makes it less durable than gelcoat finish. Thus, painted hulls are more vulnerable to chipping due to chemical reactions.

Unlike gel coat, marine paint requires additional preparation before application. However, marine paint is easier to work with, making it a popular choice for DIY repairs. It dries to a glossy finish, unlike gelcoat, which needs multiple coatings and an additional clear glossy top coat.


Does Gelcoat Paint or Marine Boat Paint Last Longer?

When it comes to choosing gelcoat vs. paint for your vessel, you are likely to ask which boat hull paint lasts longer. The longevity of gelcoat paint is one of its biggest advantages. Gel coat paint for boats can last up to two decades before needing major repair work, while marine paint will typically need one or more major repairs within ten years.

However, repairing and refinishing gel coat is much more labor-intensive than with marine paint. Your yacht’s hull will have to be sanded down, buffed, and polished to regain its shiny finish. If the gelcoat finish needs to be reapplied, that will take even more time. Re-gelcoating often costs more due to labor costs.

A Boat Hull Paint Comparison: Gelcoat vs. Paint

Gelcoat vs. Paint

Regular Boat Bottom Painting, Repair, and Gelcoat Refinishing

Whether you go with the long-lasting durability of a gelcoat finish or the showroom shine of marine paint, our certified yacht technicians have boat bottom painting, repair, and gelcoat refinishing services to ensure your yacht’s hull remains looking brand new.

Yacht Management South Florida, Inc. offers safe haul-outs, high-quality dockside services, and complete yacht care at our Fort Lauderdale marina and full-service boatyard. To learn more, contact or call our Fort Lauderdale yacht management and maintenance today!

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