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Old 07-01-2015, 02:05 PM   #1
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Exterior custom paint on an Escape?

I've seen some pretty interesting custom exterior paint schemes on fiberglass trailers, mostly through online searches. But I have not seen any Escapes with custom exterior paint. I've not been to any Escape rallies, yet.

I'm wondering whether anyone has taken on exterior painting and what the results were, or seen any Escapes with custom paint? There's a fair amount of discussion on exterior painting on fiberglassRV.com, but nothing specific on Escapes.

I'm also wondering whether there might be some sort of sacrilege involved in painting out an Escape and not sporting the default white with ETI branding? Would the Escape owners community view it as cool to see a painted Escape, or would it be like painting an Airstream?

Thoughts anyone?
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Old 07-01-2015, 02:13 PM   #2
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I think it would be great to see a custom painted Escape, and I bet it would look fantastic, and the owner would then have a very unique trailer.

That said, the gelcoat used is a proven tough, durable finish. One that is easy to touch-up, repair, and bring back to a nice shine.

With paint, the maintenance would be similar, but any repair tougher to patch, I would think.

Basically, I think for most it comes down to the fact that the original gelcoat is much less costly in the long run, especially for those that worry more about function, than looks.

Once we start seeing much older Escapes, we will likely see more of these older ones get painted, especially if any major repairs have to be done. I originally was thinking to repair the existing finish on the '76 Trillium 1300 I am working on, but it just would not look that great, and would take a heck of a lot of work to bring it back to something original looking, so I decided to use a good quality boat paint.
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Old 07-01-2015, 02:28 PM   #3
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I think this is like any other customization - it's your trailer, so you do what makes it the way you want, regardless of what other owners choose to do with their trailers. Some will not like the appearance, some may warn about potential effects on resale opportunities or price, but most will support your efforts to make the trailer your own, and will applaud creativity.

Discussions of countertop and fabric patterns and colours tend to follow this theme of personal choice.

I think the difference between Escape and other brands is simply that Escapes are all relatively new - they've only been built for a little more than a decade, so they're essentially all still in good condition. Custom paint jobs are often part of a renovation of an older trailer which no longer has a good finish on the original gelcoat. Some of those wild Boler schemes are on forty-year-old trailers.

Also, Escapes are all white. Some of the older Bolers had two-tone colour schemes that might not suit current tastes... thus the painting. Once one is painting, any colour is potentially possible.

I originally thought that painting a moulded fiberglass trailer with a gelcoat finish was a bad idea, because then the paint would need to be maintained and the gelcoat finish could never be restored. I now have a factory-painted fiberglass exterior motorhome, and I appreciate how much easier the paint surface is to keep clean than gelcoat. If a gelcoat finish could not reasonably be restored, or if body repairs or modifications resulted in appearance problems, it could easily make more sense to paint instead of doing laborious hand-finishing work with gelcoat. For a stock-bodied Escape, personally I would stick with decals for appearance customization as long as the original finish was good; if someone else wants to paint, go for it.
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Old 07-01-2015, 02:38 PM   #4
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See Post #7:

Clear coat exterior paint
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Old 07-01-2015, 02:42 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alukarisa View Post
... or would it be like painting an Airstream?
The big difference is that painting the aluminum of an Airstream means you no longer see the aluminum. The an Escape or other fiberglass trailers always has an opaque plastic (gelcoat) finish over the translucent glass-reinforced resin anyway, so it doesn't matter whether that's gelcoat or paint.

Trivia: Airstream painted some of their own aluminum trailers, marketing them under the "Argosy" name. They had aluminum panels which may not have had cosmetic flaws, plus even steel panels. It's not such a shocking idea, even for an Airstream.

Also, Airsteam routinely covers (with paint or a film) the exposed surface of the interior aluminum panels in their trailers.
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Old 07-01-2015, 02:46 PM   #6
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There is actually one painted Escape Trailer that I know of. It was painted by ETI for the original customer. The trailer has since sold at least one other time. I think it was either blue or green. I don't know if the for sale ad was here on on FiberglassRV. When I have more time, I'll look for it.
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Old 07-01-2015, 02:48 PM   #7
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See Post #4 here to go to the blue Escape.
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Old 07-01-2015, 02:51 PM   #8
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Good catch, Karen. I had forgotten about that very nice looking painted Escape... which is funny, since it is now (or was) in my area.
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Old 07-01-2015, 03:22 PM   #9
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Thanks for reference, I really love it! Very unique, and kind of retro looking.
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Old 07-01-2015, 03:47 PM   #10
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See Post #4 here to go to the blue Escape.
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Old 07-02-2015, 09:20 AM   #11
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Does Gel Coat have to be white or could pigment be added to it?

Just imagine how many more Escapes would sell if they came in various school colors.
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Old 07-02-2015, 09:36 AM   #12
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Just imagine how many more Escapes would sell if they came in various school colors.
They already have a 1yr backlog.
I suspect it is a headache that they just don't want to take on.
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Old 07-02-2015, 11:20 AM   #13
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That was interesting .... just viewed the blue Escape but noticed it was listed as a 17C ... ? What was a 17C?
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Old 07-02-2015, 12:09 PM   #14
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gel coat comes in many colors, take a look at a canoe manufacturers web site.
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Old 07-02-2015, 01:27 PM   #15
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It's the set-up and clean-up time that ensures that Escapes will continue to be white. To switch colour would destroy the production schedule and no customer would be willing to pay the cost for all the extra work involved.
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Old 07-02-2015, 11:28 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Grant & Kathy View Post
Does Gel Coat have to be white or could pigment be added to it?
Gelcoat can be various colours; even the white is pigmented - that's not its "natural" colour. My Boler is tan coloured, and others were various shades of yellow, green, and brown, and often two-tone (one colour for each moulded piece, upper and lower). Early moulded fiberglass trailers tended to have more colour, compared to the stark white which is now popular. The Lil Snoozy was tan for the first few years, which was the topic of some debate in the FiberglassRV forum, but is now white.

Although many colourful canoes are not fiberglass and not covered in gelcoat, lots are gelcoat and I agree they're a good example of available colours. So are power boats.

I think this is similar to the situation with commercial truck cabs, which are all painted (steel, aluminum, and fiberglass) so they could be produced in any colour, but essentially all of them come out of the factory generic white; each company which buys them uses that as a blank canvas to add their identity. When the generic white truck is sold, the next owner doesn't need to paint over a distinctive corporate colour if the white is still there. Similarly, police cars that were once black and white in most of North America went to white almost everywhere a couple of decades ago; no custom paint at the factory, all of the customization and markings went to decals, and they can be made back into generic white without repainting. (This is not universal - Edmonton Police Service was used generic white for years and recently changed to black-and-white factory paint.)

For very limited production runs of entirely factory-ordered trailers it would be practical to produce a range of colours, but I think that the resale market would be hampered by colour preferences.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grant & Kathy View Post
Just imagine how many more Escapes would sell if they came in various school colors.
Escape Trailer Industries sells every unit they can produce, and has a year-long backlog of orders. Increasing the appeal of the trailers with a colour choice might allow them to charge a higher price, but it wouldn't increase production (and therefore sales) at all. It would make the production process more complex and expensive to run (as Baglo explained).
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Old 07-03-2015, 06:56 AM   #17
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I feel very fortunate that I was able to personalize the exterior of Ten Forward by choosing the color of decals I wanted. I don't know of any other all molded towable manufacturer that has this option.
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Old 07-03-2015, 09:50 AM   #18
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I feel very fortunate that I was able to personalize the exterior of Ten Forward by choosing the color of decals I wanted. I don't know of any other all molded towable manufacturer that has this option.
True, and for us that's customization enough. I guess one could always paint it, but we love the clean look of white gel coat.
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Old 07-03-2015, 10:26 AM   #19
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Like Henry Ford said, you can have any color you like as long is it's Black!
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Old 07-03-2015, 12:33 PM   #20
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Reese was persuaded to have a unit painted a special colour in the past. It was not a good experience and he was not totally satisfied with the result. He says he will not do it again.
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