I’ve read that gel coat can be painted, provided wax, etc. is removed. I’d like to stencil some things onto a canoe, to make the entire hull camo colored. I have read that the paint will not be as durable as a gel coat. I guess I wonder how durable it will be. If doing this will essentially cause the canoe to look like hell from normal wear and tear, then maybe I won’t do it. What do you think?
I also wonder if a clear coat should be added, and how much weight this might add. Just some stencils will add near nothing, of course.
Some paints are more durable than others, but any paint can, and probably will get scratched to some extent. This will affect the hull bottom the most, obviously. How noticeable it will be depends on the color of you gel coat… Paint on the hull sidewalls will be much less prone to scratching.
two part paint from Interlux is great it is called Perfection. Use it on my kayak 6-7 years ago. Yellow color which faded slightly. But tough as nails and still shinny. You can roll it on and tip it with a brush.
I have painted gelcoated canoes a few times as well as over epoxy. A paint coating is real thin, so anything that will scratch it will go through the coating. You will have to repaint periodically to maintain a nice look. Or not if you are not particular about it. Prep is so important no matter what paint you use. Scrub the hull clean with hot water and straight ammonia(no sudsy stuff) before you sand. If you sand before cleaning you will entrain any contaminant into the surface. Salt from sweat, wax, grease- all of them can mess with your paint. I wet sand the hull with 150 grit before priming and then 220 between coats. Use the primer recommended for the paint you buy. It makes a huge difference.
Years ago I painted an old wood/canvas Chestnut with Parker Coatings Duck Boat paint. They have great camo colors and they are still in business in Green Bay, WI. Good Luck!
I’ve used various paints to disguise repairs. I’ve used acrylic paint from the arts section of Michaels. I’d get some fine sandpaper and lightly sand, dust, alcohol wash, and paint. The paint will stick but, as other posters note, scratches will bare the underlying hull color. So your stencils will have hull-colored scratches. Paint over the scratches every once in a while if that bothers you.