How To Paint White 3M 5200 In the Bilge

I am looking at a Chris Craft with a new 5200 bottom. The problem is that the restorer used white 5200 instead of the mahogany colored type. There is a lot of squeeze out in the bilge. I have read that the white variety does not hold paint well. My question(s): Can you scrape or sand white 5200? If I very lightly cover the white 5200 with the mahogany colored variety will it hold paint better? I am trying to not have the white be an eyesore in the bilge.

I think 5200 can be painted. You could prime it with a darker primer if that helps. I see some bottoms with all that there.

Thank you Matt. I had been kinda researching Snake Mt and the how and why they use certain products and the question posed itself. Being new to wood boats, I thought I would pick the expert’s brains! I do love this site!

I am sure there is some trick that I am missing so let’s see what others say

IHO, I would be a bit leery of someone who did the bottom in white 5200 rather than mahogany. It seems to be amateur-ish, 5200 bottoms need to be done right.

Painting is iffy. Everything says you can but I have never had much succcess with it holding. Especially areas in the water or get a lot of use. It remains very flexible so if you do paint, I would use a paint that is also flexible. You may want to try a test areas with Emerald Urethane from Sherwin Williams. Great interior/exterior paint or some other good acryic paint.

As far as removal is concerned, good luck. It is a bear to remove. Some like DeBond but I have never used it.

Start small in inconspicuos areas and experiment.


Thank you for the input. The job does look well done, except for the white 5200.

Thanks! I will take that into account. I kinda figured what ever I did, it would be a learning experience. I guess I am trying to find out what NOT to do in the process of hiding the white 5200… that is, unless someone has a fool proof way to deal with it.

You are not alone, thats for sure. At least you know it was done! HA. 99% of your bilge wont be seen. Just have fun and try stuff.

I think mahogany 5200 looks purple. John in Va

My idea of over coating with mahogany 5200 was, if it lost paint, it would not be as much of an eyesore. Thanks.

When I did my 5200 bottom, I used white because it was considerably less expensive than the red. As far as I know, It’s the same product .And what’s the difference anyway, when the boat was new there wasn’t any splooge of anything in the bilge. So no matter what color it is , so I guess to a purist it might seem unsightly .The paint sticks to 5200 in my bottom seams just fine. I imagine it would hold in the bilge as well. (where it should be dry).I painted all the wood in my bilge before it was assembled with the 5200,so you do see where it squeezed out. That bottom has at least 10-12 years on it now.

Thank you. It looks like I will do just that. I might clean it up a bit, hit it with some CPES as it is bare wood and then paint…hoping for the best!

If you can, have someone who restores boats survey the boat, just like you would get a buyers inspection done on a car.
Also, if you haven’t done so already, join the ACBS. The National website has something like 50 how to videos done from workshops, they have held over the years. Amazing information! Good luck!

I have done most of that and still have not come across any answer to my question as to how do I cover the white 5200 and not have it lose paint. I really have no concerns as to how well the job was done, just the white 5200. I guess I will give painting the stuff a whirl and perhaps I can come up with a definitive answer to this question. I thank everyone who made suggestions!

Paint does stick to 5200! prime it with a dark color if that helps.

White 5200 was used when my bottom was replaced several years ago on my1935 Dodge. There was minimal squeeze through and it was painted dark green. The boat is kept out of the water on a lift and the paint has held up well. The paint has remained adhered on the entire bottom.

Another picture

First, nice boat! Second, yes that is kind of where I am at. I will clean it up a bit and paint it. Thank you for your input.

Not sure if the brand of paint makes a difference but I used paint from Kirby Paint Company.