Refinishing An Old Fiberglass Canoe

I have a 25+ year old 12’ Starcraft Canoe that could use a face lift. Boat is in excellent condition for it’s age, but the hull has oxidized over the years. Last year I tried using Armor All to revive the color, which worked wonders when first applied, but as it dried the color faded once again. After that initial application, when the canoe gets wet the green color seems to “bleed” off onto anything that rubs against it. Got the nagging feeling that I have fu#%ed myself. Have I done permanent damage to the gel coat? How would I go about getting the canoe refinished? Is this something that any autobody shop could do, or would I have to seek out a marina? Where ould I look in the Yellow Pages for “canoe painter”? LOL! Thanks in advance.

Wash a dog, comb a dog, still a dog.
It isn’t worth the time or money. With what you might spend, careful shopping could bring you a much better used canoe.

Just scuff and spraypaint
I have done a few old fiberglass canoes and really if you just want to freshen it up,…I wouldn’t spend much $ on it but just some elbow grease and quality spraypaint,…about 4-6 cans. If you just scuff it up with a greenie-pad then wash it down good you can get really good results if you spraypaint three coats about 1 hr apart in alternating directions. Spraypaint lines are virtually non-existant if you do it right.

Canoe Refinishing
I have been in the auto body business for 45 years and paited many composite canoes. Do any structural and cosmetic repairs,prime these areas, sand all with 380 grit and coat with a automotive single stage urethane paint. A local jobber should be able to hook you up with a lower end product that is affordable. The "good stuff is way to pricey to use on a cheap canoe.

Just paint it
I took this…

and turned it into this…

And what an excellent job you did.
Not only on the restoration, but with the documentation and sharing it with us.

Still one of my all-time favorite series of posts on the boards.


Interlux Brightsides Polyurethane Paint?
What do you all think of Interlux Brightsides Polyurethane Paint? Chesapeake Light Craft says it is perfect for canoes: “This one-part polyurethane paint is glossy, durable, and easy to use. Roll it on with a foam roller, tip it out with a brush, and everyone will think you’ve sprayed your hull. The instructions on the can say ‘Not for use below waterline,’ which causes some confusion. What Interlux means by this is that it isn’t for big, heavy boats that live in the water for months or years. For kayaks, canoes, dinghies, rowing boats and so on, which never spend more than a few weeks at a time in the water, Interlux Brightsides is perfect and we’ve been using it on Light Craft for 20 years.”

I will probably give it a try this off-season. The two-part paints seems too toxic for the garage and over-kill. I’d be grateful for any guidance. Thanks, Dave

Rubbing compound?
Marine suppliers are full of rubbing compounds and polishes specifically for oxidized/faded gel coat.

Scooter’s gaining some serious ground.

sounds fine
But my one thought is don’t buy expensive paint! I did and when I repaint it in a few years, I’ll buy Rustoleum epoxy based spray cans from Home Depot. The canoe is going to get dings and scratches.

Doug has an affliction
But he’s been doing some nice work.

There are worse fates.
But if there’s a way to injure yourself…

forgot to mention

– Last Updated: Aug-24-12 9:06 PM EST –

I primed the canoe with high build primer and then sanded.

middle sequences

Wait A Minute!
I only hurt myself when I’m not working on canoes! I agree with Andy that expensive paint isn’t worth spending the money on. On my Courier rebuild I just used off the shelf spray paint. Come the spring I will just tape off all the wood and whatever else needs to be covered and put a new coat of paint on. When I put the first coat on I did scuff up the old with some 220 sandpaper, gently, and then applied the paint. I thought it came out pretty nice!

If you scroll to the bottom of the journal you can find the section on painting the hull.


but Doug
you do remind me of Joe Btfsplk at times!