Both trailers I have had where already painted, so saving the Gel coat wasn’t an option. with that I repainted Both.
Repairing and filling
The first trailer was full of holes and damage, with that I had to learn how to fiberglass and Bondo.
Small repairs can be made with Bondo. As fiberglass flexes, any large repair, or a hole filled but not reinforces will reappear over time as the bondo separates from the fiberglass. To solve this make sure the bondo layer is thin, and the fiberglass to reinforce it is thick. A little extra fiberglass is much better than repair cracks in your new paint job.
As you can see there are many holes in the side of the boler.
First I taped wax paper on to make sure we could separate the wood from the repair when we are done.
Next I took thin wood, that flexed enough to take the shape of the trailer and screwed it on to the outside. This creates the form. From the inside you can see the tight fit to the curve of the trailer.
Next we applied Bondo as recommended by a local shop. this did work, but needs to be applied in a thin layer. I would use Gel coat next time instead, a little tougher to find, but worth it.
Next Fiberglass cloth is cut to size, then wetted with the resin and a brush. (it was great having somebody show me how to do it on this ocasion, I have do it many times since on my own).
Then we left it to dry.
For the big opening (a hatch to convert this to a coffee shop had been cut) used a similar process, only instead of covering the entire area with Bondo, we screwed the piece that had been cut out in place.
Once lined up and held in place we cut strips of fiberglass cloth and wetted it in place. From the inside.
After the fiberglass had dried we added another layer, waited and added another and so on. Once the fiberglass work was done I went back and filled the gaps around the hatch with Bondo and sanded it smooth.
As with many projects it was easy to do, once all the learning was done.
Preparing to paint
Preparing to paint the trailer is a critical step. This involves a light sanding in the best, and a lot of fiberglass and bondo work in the worst.Regardless of the work that goes into it you should have a smoother finish that you think you would need. I learned this when spraying my first trailer, I had it sanded to what I though looked great, then adding the primer a list of flaws jumped out. It is worth taking extra time here, and after you r first coat of primer you can inspect and correct any flaws that jump out.
If the trailer has been painted, sanding all the paint off will make the new paint job look better and last longer. Still don’t sand the gel coat off, it is what gives the trailer the smooth finish and adds strength.
If your trailer is Gel coat, and you have decided to paint (there are many benefits to keeping the gel coat finish), then sanding the gel coat a little is necessary, but just to make the paint stick, make sure you do not sand the gel coat off.
I have read about the roll and tip method, but something wasn’t working when I tried it. I found I got a smoother finish with just an ultra smooth roller.
Rolling was quick, much cleaner than spraying and didn’t cost much. It also put a lot more paint on with each coat than spraying.
First I rolled on 2 coats of primer (on this project I just painted the top). With the windows out and the door off, the roller got everything, so no need to spray or brush.
If you want a smooth finish sanding now is a good idea. I was shocked at how smooth it already was, so I just very lightly sanded, wiped it down, an then started on the 2 coats of paint. The paint I used was left over from painting the Green Boler, making it easy to compare results when it was done.
The finished paint was slightly bumpy, but so little you had to really get up and inspect it to notice a difference in finish from the other trailer I sprayed.
Electric dual action Sander (already had) $20
Sand paper, fine and rough (already had) $10
Paint (already had) $60 (need less than half)
Ultra smooth rollers x4 (reusing causes bumps) $20
And some masking tape $5
Total cost to paint the top $145
To paint the bottom the same color the cost would be the same, if you wanted to paint the bottom a different color you would need to buy some more paint at $60.
To repaint the trailer two different colors $205
If the trailer has damage you may need bondo, or possibly fiberglass. This can drive the price up quickly.
From what I have read online the original windows are easy to rebuild, however I have yet had the need to do this. For our second trailer they were in good shape, and the first trailer didn’t have windows to rebuild.
For replacement window if you want the original windows you are looking used. For us we ordered a more modern window from Sunview Industries and had them shipped to us. With curved corners we had to order them bigger and cut out a larger opening to make them fit right. when I called them they new Bolers well and new what I required without me having to figure it out.
4. Roof vent