Fiberglass Pop Top Painting

by Brian Hoare

During the past 2 weeks I have finally painted my pop-top. Some painting took place on the weekends, and the rest occurred after work. I was fortunate to have warm dry weather during the entire job, no morning or evening coastal fog that often occurs at my house. The entire job took about 20 hours. I removed the front luggage rack for painting, and painted the rear poptop in place. I used the Interlux fiberglass paint and products from West Marine to do the job. I basically followed all the procedures specified by Interlux for surface prep, and used all their products.

  1. Washed the poptop before painting with soap and water to get the dirt off.
  2. Removed the front luggage rack.
  3. Washed the tops again with X-14 for the luggage rack, and a bleach and water solution for the rear. I ran out of X-14. The bleach solution seemed to work as well as X-14 IMO.
  4. Sanded the tops with 60 grit using my random orbital sander, a sanding block, and by hand when required to get at the hard to get spots.
  5. Washed the tops off.
  6. Sanded the tops with 120 grit
  7. Washed the tops off again.
  8. Applied Interlux 333 brushing liquid to clean off any remaining dust and to "improve paint flow and slow hot weather drying time".
  9. Applied Interlux Briteside Primer to both tops. I used a paintbrush to apply the primer to the luggage rack, and both a paintbrush and roller to apply the primer to the poptop.
  10. Sanded tops with 120 grit.
  11. Cleaned top and applied brushing liquid.
  12. Applied another coat of primer.
  13. Sanded tops with 120 grit.
  14. Cleaned top and applied 333 brushing liquid.
  15. Applied Interlux Bluglo White, 1 part polyurethane paint.
  16. Sanded top with 220 grit
  17. Cleaned top and applied 333 brushing liquid.
  18. Applied paint - job complete

At this point the job should be complete. I wasn't happy with how the paint went on when brushed, so I ended up sanding and adding a third coat to the luggage rack.

This was a pretty tedious, time consuming task, but my top sure is shiny now. Brushing and using a roller was not the greatest. Despite all my efforts, I was unable to eliminate all the brush marks. If I had the money and equipment, I would think spraying to tops would produce better results. Heck, if I had money I would pay a professional to do the job.

Material cost - Due to my third coat on the luggage rack, I needed to buy an extra can of paint to finish the job. With careful allocation of the paint and primer, a 2-coat paint job can be done with 1 quart of paint.

1 quart Interlux Paint $23
1 quart Interlux primer $18
2 cans 333 thinner $20
Sandpaper, brushes, $17
paint tray
latex gloves

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