After removing all the decals , because they were all pealing, we decided the exterior of our 2009 Fuzion 403 deserved a new coat of paint and since white is really not a color we decided to change it to a rich beige.
Before I go on, this is not in any way a tutorial on how to paint your rig. It is, a recount of the trials and tribulations I experienced painting ours. Should you decide to re paint your rig research every phase of your project before you begin.
Re painting a rig is no small task. The details are un ending. It takes several times longer than you could possibly imagine.
I used Petit's "Brightsides" Polyurethane marine topside paint. This is a one part paint made expressly for fiberglass, which our Fuzion sides are, above the water line. Which I hope our Fuzion remains. I have used this paint on boats with no issues and good life span.
It can be applied in a number of ways, roller, brush , spray. I sprayed it using a HVLP spray gun from Harbor freight $50.00..Don't laugh, it did a great job. Care was taken as to paint thinning and pressure selection etc. A bit of practice on anything I wanted painted the same color as our rig was done before pointing the gun at our pride and joy. So my ladders , saw horses,garbage cans match our rig. Nice huh!
The paint, properly thinned, about 10%, goes on in two coats. The first coat just heavy enough to color the surface . The second wet enough for an even gloss. Keeping the gun 90 degrees to the work surface it is hard to run or sag this paint. It will sag, but it takes a lot of paint to do so. If it does...let it dry for a few days, sand out the run and re paint the panel, the entire, panel to make the repair. I could not rub out or blend this paint. Over spray is impossible to get off of freshly painted adjoining areas.
One quart covers aprox. 100 Sq ft.
The directions on the paint can describe a two coat paint sys. for rolled paint. Rolled paint is much heavier than sprayed. The drying process for sprayed paint is different because of it's thickness. Brightsides take s several weeks to "harden up". It is dry to the touch in about 4-6 hrs depending on the weather.
Ah weather??? I painted in the shade of a tarp. No direct sunlight. Temp ranged from 65-85 degrees. 50-70% humidity. The hotter the day, the faster the dry, the lower the shine. BTW...this is a very shiny paint. It can be toned down with a additive available form Petit Paint.
Note, HVLP is great however it takes a lot of air. Make sure your compressor is big enough to supply the air.
Buy lots of tape and enough plastic overspray material. Available form any auto body paint supplier. The plastic is easier to use than paper to mask off un painted areas, like windows, doors...I got the type that "clings".
Mask everything you do not want painted. Including the roof, wheels.
Oh yeah, move your cars a block away. Don't ask.
I wore a painters respirator and old cloths. If you wear prescription glasses? wear an old pair and use soap and water to remove the overspray immediately after you finish spraying. It will look like you got overspray on everything after you finish spraying...take off your glasses.
I used the blue and green painters tape as it has a longer applied life than the old regular masking tape which gets hard to remove after three or four days. Your rig is big and tape will most likely stay on it for several days at a time.
The key to a successful re paint is prep. All the silicone sealant has to be removed before you paint so it has to be cut away first then. SAND the residue off completely. I found the foam 3m sanding blocks in a 150-180 grit worked well . Plus, the square edges and angled edge shapes got into corners easily.
Every square inch of anything painted must be SANDED. I used a random orbital sander with 3m 320 grit scotch-brite type pads. Then wash it down with de natured Alcohol. Just before you start spraying wipe the work area down with a "tack" rag..If there is any sheen on anything to be painted, re sand it. The paint will not stick to glossy gel coat. (the old exterior finish)
You will spend far more time prepping to paint than actually painting. FARRRR longer. Like 10 days prepping and four hours painting. Really.
The Brightsides paint does not require a primer on well sanded fiberglass. On metal it does. Seems to work well on sanded plastics as well.
Unless you like climbing up and down ladders a thousand times a day, buy enough lumber to fabricate simple scaffolding. Faster and safer than ladders 10 feet off the ground. PLUS.. Spray Painting requires the spray gun to be at a constant 90 degree angle to the work surface. And, a constant distance from the work surface. Almost impossible from a ladder, AND, the paint needs to be overlapped while wet to prevent overspray lines. A walkway the length of your rig is the easiest way to keep moving while painting.
I covered the rig with a big plastic tarp that formed a large awning over the side or end I was working on . I did a side at a time, then the front, then the back. Before spraying I watered down the ground in the work area. I patiently waited to dry calm days to spray. I live in the woods and careful attention to details like wind and dust were essential to a quality finish.
Do not rush anything. Attention to prep details is everything.
I spent a little less than $800.00 on all the materials and tools needed to paint our 40' fifth wheel. Ours is a beige sides with red slide-sides, and a black skirt. I got the brand name decals form Fuzion for the front, back , and sides. Giving it a more factory appearance. I also used a 3/4" red stripe tape to break the beige and black color joint. I used color matched silicone caulk to re-seal as necessary. (imagine having a rig that the caulk wasn't applied with a gorilla's thumb?..Some artists work in stone, some in oils. I work in caulk!)
All in all way more work than I expected. All in all very satisfying.
The weather is supposed to be good tomorrow so I will take a few pics and put them up.