Category Archives: Gelcoat Spray Guns

A Comprehensive Guide to Gel Coat Spray Guns

We get asked a lot of questions about applying gel coat so we thought we would offer this guide as a way to help you understand one of the best methods, gel coat spray guns. Gel coat spray guns are invaluable tools for achieving professional finishes in gel coating projects. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a DIY enthusiast, understanding how these spray guns work and how to choose the right one can make a significant difference in your project’s outcome. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about gel coat spray guns, from their types and benefits to safety precautions and maintenance tips.

What is a Gel Coat Spray Gun?

Let’s start off by explaining that a gel coat spray gun is a specialized tool designed for applying gel coat, a type of resinous material, onto surfaces to create a smooth and durable finish. These guns atomize the gel coat, breaking it down into tiny droplets that are then sprayed evenly onto the surface, ensuring an even coating.


Types of Gel Coat Spray Guns

There are two main types of gel coat spray guns: conventional and HVLP (High Volume Low Pressure). Conventional spray guns use high pressure to atomize the gel coat, while HVLP guns use lower pressure, resulting in less overspray and a more efficient use of material.

Benefits of Using a Gel Coat Spray Gun

Gel coat spray guns allow for quick and efficient application, saving time and effort. The atomized spray creates a smooth and uniform coating, reducing the need for sanding and polishing. They also use less material compared to traditional methods, saving money in the long run.

Choosing the Right Gel Coat Spray Gun

When deciding which one is right for you, consider the size of your project, the type of gel coat you’re using, and your budget. It’s also important to choose one that is compatible with your compressor and other equipment.

Safety Precautions

Always wear protective gear, such as a respirator, goggles, and gloves, to protect yourself from fumes and overspray. Work in a well-ventilated area and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper use.

Using a Gel Coat Spray Gun

We’re often asked if it is difficult to use a gel coat spray gun. It really depends, it can be challenging for beginners, but with practice and proper technique, it becomes easier over time. Here are a few factors that can affect the difficulty level:

  • Skill level: If you’re new to spray painting or using spray guns in general, there will be a learning curve. Familiarizing yourself with the equipment and practicing on scrap materials can help improve your skills.
  • Adjusting settings: Gel coat spray guns typically have adjustable settings for things like air pressure, fluid flow, and fan pattern. Learning how to properly adjust these settings for your specific project and materials is crucial for achieving desired results. Again, practice before applying on your boat. You’ll be glad you did.


Cleaning and Maintenance

To keep your gel coat spray gun in good condition, clean it thoroughly after each use. Use a solvent recommended by the manufacturer to remove any gel coat residue. Regularly inspect the gun for signs of wear and tear and replace any damaged parts as needed.

As you can tell, gel coat spray guns are essential tools for achieving professional finishes in gel coating projects. By understanding how they work and following best practices for their use and maintenance, you can ensure a smooth and durable finish for your projects. If you have any questions about gel coat for boats contact our technical services team via Live Chat or by calling 888-505-2313.

What Products Do I Use to Paint a Livewell?

A livewell is a tank found on many fishing boats that is used to keep bait and caught fish alive. It works by pumping fresh water from the surrounding body into the tank, as well as keeping the water aerated.

Most live wells on boats are made of fiberglass and usually coated with gelcoat. For more information on applying gelcoat see our How to Apply Gelcoat article.

In the case that your live well is aluminum you can apply Aluma Hawk, available in white, blue, grey, black, sand and jon boat green to the aluminum surface.

How to Select a Spray Gun Nozzle Tip Size

What Size Spray Tip Should I Use with my Spray Gun?

It’s crucial to get the right spray gun nozzle tip size for your project for the ultimate professional results. But how do you know which one to choose? Our team of experienced painters has identified the five key factors that need to be taken into consideration when selecting the right nozzle tip size for each job. We’ll make sure you have all the advice and guidance needed to make an informed decision, so your project can look amazing with great coverage and finish!


1. Get the perfect size of spray gun nozzle tip to suit each job requirement.
2. Benefit from our comprehensive step-by-step guide that simplifies the selection process.
3. Access our expertise and knowledge to make the right choice without hassle and confusion.
4. Avoid costly mistakes by selecting a nozzle tip of appropriate size according to your needs.
5. Take advantage of our tailored advice and insights to enhance the efficiency of your work.

There are three main factors to consider when determining the size tip that will produce the best results.

  1. First, examine the coating that will be sprayed. Put simply, heavier coatings will require a larger orifice size than lighter ones. For example, primers are usually thicker than the accompanying paint so you should use a 1.7 or 1.8 mm tip to prime most surfaces. Most painters will stay in the range of 1.2 to 2.0 mm unless the paint being applied is specialized. (See chart below.)
  2. The next thing to consider is your project surface area. This determines the appropriate fan width that your sprayer will produce, that is, the shape in which the product will leave the gun nozzle. Airless spray guns have more control over the fan width than conventional spray guns because the coating is forced through the tip without being atomized by air. This causes the tip to have a large impact on the fan width and shape. Most boat projects consist of large surfaces and so a wide fan will increase the spray coverage and also provide the ability to spray close to the surface without too much build up. Smaller surfaces will require a small fan width to reduce overspray. This also makes it possible to spray further away from the surface without too much falloff because the fan is more focused.
  3. Lastly, consider the spray gun that is being used. Make sure that the spray tip you plan on using will be supported by the gun. Most spray gun manufacturers will provide this information in their product overview. The Bottom Paint Store distributes ES Manufacturing Gelcoat Spray Guns. The ES G830 gun will support a range of 0.8 – 2.0 mm. The ES G100 and G200 gelcoat spray guns support a range of 0.8 – 7.1 mm tips. If you aren’t sure about your gun’s supported sizes, check with the gun manufacturer.Spray Gun Nozzles For G830 Spray Gun
Common Spray Tip Sizes and Their Uses
Tip size (mm) Commonly Used for
0.8 Parting Films – PVA – very fine mist
1.2 Clear Coats – super fine finishes
1.4 All Around Tip – clears, base coat, single stage paints
1.6 General Purpose – light to heavy viscosity materials
1.8 Primers – will apply primer quickly
2.2 -2.5 Gel Coats and Resins – for thick resins and not paints

By considering these five factors, you can ensure you select the appropriate spray gun nozzle tip size for each job. If you have any questions or need additional guidance on selecting the right size, the experts at the Bottom Paint Store are here to help.

Bibliography Research Data