What are the finish options for my truck canopy?

What finish options are available for truck slide-in canopies?

So you’ve bought a new slide-in unit.  There’s nothing like picking up a new truck canopy when it is looking its best! If you plan on keeping the canopy a long time, you’ll want to consider how long that finish will last when it comes to the weather and general wear and tear (think rock chips or branches).  The durability, repairability, appearance, and maintenance of each finish are going to matter. When it comes to fiberglass, there are basically two options for your finish: gelcoat or paint. 


Why Gelcoat Finish?

Gelcoat is a type of resin polymer that is used as a protective coating for fiberglass. Most customers are more familiar with the gelcoat of boats, but the same is used for car parts and slide-in canopies. Gelcoat is very durable, with added UV resistance and performs well against chemicals.  A good gelcoat finish will last up to twenty years before needing major repair work.

Small repairs are also easier to perform on gelcoat rather than paint.  However, once your gelcoat has passed its “best before” date, it can be more expensive to repair than automotive paint. Another downside of gelcoat is that it comes in a limited number of colours. However, a good maintenance routine will help make the gelcoat retain its luster for years!  Tufport units use Buffback gelcoat, which reduces the effort required to get it back to its original gloss.  


Why Paint Finish?

Your second finish option for your truck canopy is paint.  Automotive paint can be matched to your truck’s colour, has even better UV resistance, and comes in way more colors than standard gelcoat. However, paint can crack and peel, and is more susceptible to chemicals. Paint is also applied in a much thinner layer than gelcoat. A scratch on your paint may go directly through the paint layer to the base layer, rather than just on the surface. This makes it less durable than a gelcoat finish. If you need to repair a larger area, a can of colour-match paint can be bought and sprayed with minimal equipment. It can be relatively easily buffed and blended into the rest of the unit, unlike gelcoat.  

Whichever way you choose, a little maintenance will go a long way to retaining that perfect factory finish. Set a regular reminder for yourself to keep your slide-in looking its best. 

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