How to Roll & Tip Awlgrip Paint

Updated April 17, 2017

Awlgrip paint has had an increasingly positive impact on the way boats and other surfaces need to be painted. Several varieties of Awlgrip paint, primers and sealers have been produced, using high-tech laboratory research and development. Awlgrip contains a quick drying, high gloss topcoat, consisting of acrylic urethane for spraying, or polyester based polyurethane for brush and roller use. It provides an easy application process, where two methods of installing the paint can be used to achieve a resilient, high-gloss effect. Rolling and tipping requires a double process of application, and is best performed by two people working in concert over the same surface.

Wipe the entire surface down of the section you wish to paint, using a fibre pad and bucket filled with paint degreaser. Scrub to remove oil, wax and oxidation film. Dry buff with clean rags and let air dry. Mix enough epoxy filler to cover the sections of the surface that have deep scratches and gouges. Apply the filler with a putty knife, using a squeegee motion to fill in the areas. Let it dry.

Install a 120 grit sanding disk on an orbital sander. Use the orbital sander to sand the old top coat and epoxy filler material down to a flat surface. Do not use too much pressure, and keep the disk flat over the surface. Tilt the sanding disk for curves, but keep the pressure light. Do not run the edge of the sander hard into the surface. Use an air compressor nozzle to blow the dust residue off the surface. Wipe the surface down with paint degreaser and rags. Let air dry.

Use plumber's blue masking tape to mask off all surfaces that will not be painted. Mix the contents of a primer-sealer paint in a rolling pan according to directions. Dip a sponge roller in the rolling pan. Make vertical strokes with the roller for the first coat, then use sideways strokes for a thin second coat. Let dry according to directions.

Do a light hand sanding with 220 grit sandpaper, or use the orbital sander with very light sanding strokes. Apply a third coat, if you wish and sand again with 220 grit sandpaper. Let the paint dry and cure according to directions.

Light sand the surface with 400 grit sandpaper by hand, or a finer grit if you wish a smoother surface. Use the air compressor to blow away sanding dust. Wipe the surface with degreaser-wet rags. Wipe with dry rags and let air dry.

Mix a batch of Awlgrip paint in a rolling pan, according to the directions. Stir it vigorously. Dip a new paint roller in the rolling pan and begin to apply a thin coat from the top of the surface to the bottom, using vertical strokes. Paint only one section at a time. Step away after you have painted a large square section.

Have an assistant use a fine animal hair brush to paint over the section you have just completed. The assistant must start at the top left and pull the brush over the fresh paint ending at the extreme right. He should not make back and forth strokes, but pull one brush stroke from left to right, one on top of the other until he reaches the bottom.

Paint the entire surface, rotating between the roller application and the brushing. Remember: one section at a time. Let the paint dry when you have painted the entire surface. Sand lightly with 400 grit sandpaper by hand. Use the air compressor to blow aways dust. Wipe with a dry rag. Apply a second thin coat of Awlgrip with a new roller, doing one section at a time as you did before.

Have the assistant follow after you and brush over your painted coat, again, in one direction only. Two coats will be enough, unless you wish a higher gloss finish. If you do, sand lightly again and repeat the same alternating painting method. Do not sand that last thin coat.


Timing is everything with this roll and tip method. The roller person should quickly paint vertically, covering a section that is small enough so the paint does not tacky up. His assistant should be standing by and ready to lightly drag his brush across the painted already surface. He is not painting -- he is dragging a dry brush to achieve a finishing stroke that has no runs or sags.


If you are sensitive to paint fumes or have skins issues, wear a particle mask and gloves for protection.

Things You'll Need

  • Paint degreaser
  • Bucket
  • Fibre pads
  • Epoxy filler
  • Putty knife
  • Orbital disk sander
  • Sanding disks (120, 220 grit)
  • Air compressor
  • Rags
  • Epoxy primer-sealer
  • Masking tape (plumber's blue)
  • Sponge paint rollers
  • Paint rolling pan
  • Sandpaper (220, 400 grit)
  • Awlgrip paint
  • Paint brush (fine animal hair)
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About the Author

Chris Stevenson has been writing since 1988. His automotive vocation has spanned more than 35 years and he authored the auto repair manual "Auto Repair Shams and Scams" in 1990. Stevenson holds a P.D.S Toyota certificate, ASE brake certification, Clean Air Act certification and a California smog license.