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Old 03-15-2012, 06:39 PM
 
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Default Painting fiberglass topper?

Anyone have an idea of what it would cost to paint a topper?
I talked to a neighbor who runs a paint and body shop and he said $600+.
I thought that was pretty high but what do i know.
Anyone had it done and what did it cost ya? Thanks!
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Old 03-16-2012, 06:21 AM
 
2,737 posts, read 974,288 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moose13 View Post
Anyone have an idea of what it would cost to paint a topper?
I talked to a neighbor who runs a paint and body shop and he said $600+.
I thought that was pretty high but what do i know.
Anyone had it done and what did it cost ya? Thanks!
To have a body shop paint it, $600 is not bad. In fact, that seems a bit low.
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Old 03-16-2012, 06:28 AM
 
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You really want fberglass professionally painted unless its a hoopti. I can spray just about anything but I have had my problems with thin fiberglass. A thick piece with no flex is OK to paint, but a cap could be a real problem.
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Old 03-16-2012, 07:07 AM
 
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Thanks guys!
I will scrap the idea.
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Old 03-16-2012, 07:53 AM
 
2,737 posts, read 974,288 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wilson513 View Post
You really want fberglass professionally painted unless its a hoopti. I can spray just about anything but I have had my problems with thin fiberglass. A thick piece with no flex is OK to paint, but a cap could be a real problem.
I painted the topper I put on my 89 Chevy truck. Bought it used, painted red, and wanted it to match the blue truck. Truth is, it's a pain in the neck! You have to de-gloss the original finish, use special primer, mask everything, and then paint at least 2 coats. I have no regrets that I did it, but I can certainly see what $600 (today) is not out of line.
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Old 03-16-2012, 09:10 AM
 
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I've painted several with Imron ... including fairly flexible fiberglass toppers ... when I changed trucks and moved a topper over to another color truck.

With a light scuff sanding to remove the gloss of the original gelcoat and give the surface some "tooth", it was no big deal to do this. The linear polyurethanes ... much used in the boating industry ... are ideal for this application. All of the major paint suppliers have their system(s) for this type of application. I shot one of the toppers with (the catalyzing additive) Centari, and didn't even use a prime coat ... just cleaned up, scuff sanded, and masked the topper. Looked great! the stuff kept flowing and leveling out for hours after I'd shot the paint (two thin layers, cross coated with almost no wait time between coats) ... and had a smooth surface gloss to it that looked like I'd spent hours with a buffer to polish it out after the application, only I didn't polish it at all.

FWIW, I've used Centari on everything from fiberglass to thin-skinned (4 mm Okume) plywood boats which have a lot of flex and impact in use ... and never had an issue with delamination, cracking, or failure in any way. They've looked good; one boat has seen heavy use for over 15 years and looks almost as good as the day it was painted. I've even used this product on my airplane, although there it requires the primer for the aluminum skin.
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Old 03-16-2012, 03:18 PM
 
Location: North Baltimore ----> Seattle
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Krylon flat gray worked pretty good for me. It's an old truck. It looks pretty good though, you wouldn't know that it was once bright blue.
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Old 03-16-2012, 08:10 PM
 
Location: East of Seattle, originally from SF Bay Area
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I did one that was red to match a black truck. Sanded lightly, wiped with denatured alcohol and sprayed it with a quart of Rustoleum oil based gloss
with an HVLP gun.

It only comes in black and white as far as I could find. It came out beautifully and lasted several year until we sold it, even in this wet climate.
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Old 03-16-2012, 09:15 PM
 
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Although I reiterate that it should be professionally painted at $600 unless its a hooptie, if you do paint it, it should be painted with a high pressure sprayer and clear coated with two part clear coat like Delclear.
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Old 03-16-2012, 09:36 PM
 
8,169 posts, read 21,392,136 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wilson513 View Post
Although I reiterate that it should be professionally painted at $600 unless its a hooptie, if you do paint it, it should be painted with a high pressure sprayer and clear coated with two part clear coat like Delclear.
BS.

You can readily paint these with a HVLP spray rig ... I've even bought a cheapie Harbor Freight special and painted cars with it and had no problems using a 3HP air compressor .... Not the ideal set-up compared to my shop's big 3ph240v12HP compressor, but still the "make-do" set-up was adequate for a few small jobs on-site.

Due to limited space requirements and overspray concerns for adjacent shop units or hangars, I've even had to use one of the old-style low pressure high volume fan-based spray rigs. We've painted boats in a hangar right next to airplanes and had no issues with the quality of the paint application nor problems with drift.

Never needed clear coats for final topcoats when using Imron or catalyzed Centari, either. And I'm in the Rocky Mountains where the lowest elevations are high concentration UV areas of 5,000' and up ... at home now, we're over 6,000' and my Alfa (as well, my topper on my 1995 F-250) have shown no deterioration in the paint work. One Catalina 22 I painted 15 years ago still looks fresh on the cabin topsides; white with a blue stripe. At that, I painted the leading edge and fences on my 182 when I had a STOL kit installed on it 20 years ago and it still looks very good ... and I get to wipe or scrub off a lot of bugs from that surface each year; typically wax it only once a year at the annual. The bird sat out on the ramp at 5,800' elevation for 10 years after I did that paint work ... with a 1 1/2hp air compressor and a low pressure touch-up spray gun painted outdoors away from other planes on the ramp using a portable generator that was just adequate to power up the air compressor.

The key to using any of the linear polyurethane systems is to use a complete manufacturer's system. If you're at the S-W counter, use their system throughout from prime through topcoat. If you're at another manufacturer's counter ... use theirs, Dupont makes some neat stuff ... as do others. Don't apply any more mil thickness per coat than needed to achieve manufacturer's specs per DFT; some painters seem to think more is always better ... and it isn't.

The folk at most commercial automotive paint supply outlets know their stuff. Seek out the places in your area and get their options and pricing for your project. I would expect to pay somewhere between $100-200 for the materials to paint a topper exterior.

RE: clear topcoats. If you're trying to match the color and surface finish of an existing truck, I'd be surprised if a carefully prepped and applied color system with two topcoats would even come close to the surface quality of a factory OE paint job. As in the topper would look a heck of a lot better than the factory job. I'd want it to match the truck, not stick out like a sore thumb ....

Last edited by sunsprit; 03-16-2012 at 09:45 PM..
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