How To Restore Tired Gelcoat
The first sign that the gel coat on your boat is beginning to fade is when it becomes chalky and has a matte finish. If water no longer beads up, all the wax is gone, and the surface is oxidizing. The sooner you catch this, the longer you can keep your gelcoat looking new.
Wax is crucial for your boat because it helps keep grime and water out of the gelcoat. Once the wax is gone, gelcoat absorbs quite a bit of gunk. Tired gel coat can even retain enough moisture to start to get moldy and mildewed. It can also begin chipping and breaking like a cracked eggshell.
Start restoring your gel coat by washing the boat thoroughly and removing all stains from the gelcoat, including any mildew spots. Use oxalic acid cleaners for stains. Regular boat soap works great for general cleaning. Rinse it clean with lots of freshwater.
If your rinse water comes off white, that means that the gelcoat has oxidized and is deteriorating. The only way to restore it is to remove the oxidization layer, polish, and wax it. This can be a lengthy process, but it can take a tired-looking boat and make it gleam like it just left the factory.
Its not possible to do the job without a strong power buffer. The first step is to get the oxidization off with a good quality compound. Different grits are sold for different purposes. If your gelcoat is severely oxidized, youll need to use a restoring compound or perhaps wet sand the entire surface.
How Long Does A Gelcoat Last
Did you know gel coats can keep your boat looking glamorous for up to 10 or more years? Give the old looking hull surface a new gel coat layer and forget worrying about it, as it will last you more than a decade provided you give it the proper maintenance.
All it takes is to apply a wax layer every three to four months, wash the hull with marine boat soaps, and store the ship in cool, dry places away from sunlight.
Just using a good quality carnauba wax, sealant, and fiberglass stain remover often will save the hassle of a labor-intensive Gelcoat job.
How Much Does It Cost To Gelcoat The Bottom Of A Boat
Unless the boat is going to be out of the water most of the time, there is not much point in reapplying gelcoat to the bottom of the boat. A better solution would be an epoxy barrier coat to keep the fiberglass safe from osmotic blistering and then an anti-fouling bottom paint to protect the hull from marine growth. Gelcoat is used to protect the fiberglass from sunlight and UV damage and therefore is not necessary under the waterline. If the boat does not stay in the water for long periods, you can apply gelcoat as you would to the topsides.
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Get The Gelcoat To Stay Put
In many respects, gelcoat is similar to paint. As it needs to be applied in a somewhat thicker layer than paint, however, it is predisposed to run, sag, and not stay where you want it. There are several things you can do to prevent this from happening.
1. Apply several thinner coats instead of one thick coat. You’ll need to lightly wet sand between coats to remove any surface wax and wait for each coat to cure. Building up a decent thickness, especially if you have a deep gouge, could take some time.
2. Thicken the gelcoat. Some experts suggest thickening gelcoat to a paste consistency with the addition of some form of filler powder. WEST system 410 microlight filler powder is one popular option. This helps, but any filler is likely to affect the gelcoat color and can make the surface more porous than the surrounding original gelcoat.
3. Apply some sort of cover to help hold it in position. For small jobs, such as repairs to hairline cracks, a piece of plastic shipping tape, of the type mentioned earlier in this article, is a great option. After applying the gelcoat, stretch a length of tape across the repair sticking it down to the adjacent sound gelcoat. For larger repairs, clear Mylar film, available from office supply stores, is an excellent choice as it can be lightly squeegeed into the still-wet gelcoat giving a smooth finish. By removing the air, there are no problems with any waxy surface.
After curing, both Mylar and tape can be easily removed.
Dont Confuse Gel Coat With Bottom Paint
One common misconception is that gel coat is waterproof and will protect the hull of a boat stored in the water. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
Boats left in the water, like liveaboard sailboats or powerboats, need to have several protective coatings applied to their bottoms. They first need a barrier coat, which is completely waterproof and keeps water out of the fiberglass. When water gets inside the laminate, it can cause osmotic blistering.
Secondly, a coat of bottom paint must be applied to reduce the growth of marine life and algae on the boats bottom. Depending on the temperature and nutrient levels in the water, a boats bottom can get severely fouled in as little as a month. Growth on the bottom of a boat causes increased drag and resistance, which will slow you down and cause your engine to overheat. Growth on propellers and running gear can significantly reduce their effectiveness.
Even with good anti-fouling bottom paint, boat bottoms need to be cleaned regularly by a diver to knock off all that nasty growth. The bottom paint prevents some growth and makes the bottom of the boat easy to clean. Allowing bare gelcoat to become fouled with growth will be very difficult to clean off and could permanently damage the boat.
The only boats that can get away without bottom paint are those stored on trailers or lifts out of the water and washed clean after every outing.
Cost To Gelcoat A Boat
If your boat is looking a little tired, you might think a fresh coat of gel coat or paint will spruce it up a bit. But re gelcoating a boat is no small jobit usually involves spraying the finish after removing all of the fixtures and preparing and fairing the surface.
The good news is that many boats can be restored to their factory-new shine by simply compounding and waxing the existing gel coat.
But if the surface has deteriorated and worn away, youll need to either paint or re gelcoat the boat. So how much does it cost to gelcoat a boat? The answer probably wont surprise youquite a lot!
Be Finished With The Finish
Re gelcoating a boat ranks up there with the biggest boatyard projects. Its a lot more complicated than applying a coat of paint, and its temperamental stuff that youll want to get some practice with. Its not impossible to DIY gelcoat projects, but only if experienced with epoxy, resins, and other fiberglass projects. If youre new to boating and thinking of re gelcoating your new boat, consult with your local boatyard to pin down the scope of the project and average cost before you dive in.
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Factors Affecting The Cost To Re
Re-gelcoating is pretty simple if the old gel coat needs no repair. It just requires a few cleaning steps, sanding, and a final application of a gelcoat and wax.
However, the scenario changes if your gel coat is damaged. Following are the two main factors that affect the total cost to re-gelcoat a boat.
Where To Buy Gelcoat
|davidfeeRegistered User||Krylon works just fine. You can even wet sand/polish it to feather it in with the existing color if you want.|
|davidfeeRegistered User||I suggest Krylon, btw, because gelcoat is a 2-part paint system, usually polyester resin-based. It is nasty stuff and must be sprayed. You need good respiratory protection to work with it.|
|Registered UserThread OP||Krylon?? Where can I get this from? Im assuming its not just krylon paint? Sorry for the ignorance but im tryin to feel my way through this. THanks-d|
|davidfeeRegistered User||Yes, I’m talking about regular cheap, $1.99 Krylon spray cans. It works fine. You can use anything you like… all I’m saying is that it doesn’t neet to be expensive or a big hassle.-David|
|Registered UserThread OP||I took a look at that site and they have a ton of different products. What specifically would you recommend? I need something thats lighter weight and sandable to a smooth finish. Its going to be used for a electric sailplane.|
|I just repaired a glass fuse and the krylon looks very good.Bobby|
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Finishing The Gelcoat Repair
When the gelcoat paste is fully cured, its time to wet-sand the area smooth. Again, use 400-grit and then 600-grit wet-sanding sandpaper , along with a sanding block, to ensure a smooth finish. When its slick and even, follow up by applying a rubbing compound or an aggressive polish with a soft cloth. Finally, apply a coat of wax to the repair and the surrounding area.
Thats itmission accomplished! See, we told you fixing scrapes and scratches in gelcoat wasnt a big deal. And now that the jobs complete youre ready to get back out on the water and enjoy the boating lifestyle in your clean, slick-looking boat.
Topsides Gelcoat Repair For Vertical Surfaces
My Grand Banks 32, Seaglass, is in good condition for her age. But over the course of her 30-year lifespan, she’s suffered a few bumps and bruises, all now successfully repaired. What was in less-than-stellar shape, however, were the sides of the flybridge that once had a plethora of antennas and other equipment, since removed, leaving behind some ugly holes and previous weak attempts at repair.
Repairing gelcoat so that it blends into the original is not difficult given the right mindset, tools, and materials. But making repairs to vertical surfaces presents some unique challenges. Top of the list is that you’re fighting gravity. But there are several ways to overcome this problem, and the exact approach depends on the size of the repair.
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Apply Gel Coat Paste That Matches The Exact Color Of The Hull
Before applying gel coat paste, match the color of the paste with the color of the hull. This may entail some testing to get the right gel coat color. Once youve got the right color, fill the sanded down crack with a pigmented gel coat paste using a putty knife. Check that there are no air bubbles. Let the gel coat stand to cure it completely. Cover the treated area with plastic film or wax paper.
Polish The Gel Coat Area
If needed, a rubber compound can be used before polishing to smooth out dull surfaces.
Polishing protects gel coat areas by keeping the boats exterior clean and rust free. It keeps the area smooth and glossy. Polish restores and maintains the shine of a boats fiberglass gel coat. It restores the high gloss of the boats original paint.
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Ensuring The Best Results
For best results when using , do not apply in direct sunlight or when the gelcoat surface is hot to the touch. Marine Polytrol is designed to restore pigment, color and shine to the gelcoat, so it is not suitable to be used on white surfaces.
With Marine Polytrol, maintenance is easy. The results are long-lasting but when you see they are fading, simply repeat the easy process again.
About Owatrol Team
Our team are ready and willing to support you with your requirements whether it is protecting your newly laid deck or renovating a luxury yacht, whatever the application Owatrol US has the solution you are looking for.
What Is A Gelcoat
A gel coat is a thermosetting polymer that consists of either epoxy or polyester resin base. It is applied to fiberglass surfaces to give them a glossy, high-quality finish. Almost all watercraft manufactured using fiberglass have an outer layer of gel coating, particularly the hulls.
This polymer is applied in a uniform thin layer on top of the fiberglass in a liquid form, which then dries to harden and form a shell-like casing around the boat.
It often contains pigments and is available in many custom colors to make the boats exterior look appealing.
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How Much Does It Cost To Re
Do you miss the days when you showed off your shiny brand new boat? Every time you docked it, you probably felt proud of your water crafts lustrous exterior that made it stand out among the rest of the ships.
But that was years ago, right? and your ship has aged now. However, the good news is that you can make your fishing companion look all shiny again. How? Give her a makeover by removing the faded gel coat from the hull and replacing it with a new one.
In short, re-Gelcoat the vessel and make her look ten years younger. You can give it a whole new look by choosing a different color of gel coat too. Now, you must be thinking, how much are you going to spend in the process?
Well, the cost to re-gel coat a boat is not too high, considering how beneficial gel coats are as a part of your ships maintenance. So are you interested in the beautification process? Read on.
Applying Gel Coat To Your Boat In 10 Easy Steps
Sailing is one of lifes pleasures that land lubbers will never know. For boat owners, its experiential from buying or building a boat to applying gel coat to refurbishing and maintaining it to make it seaworthy. Boat owners know the importance of protecting their boats against the elements. One way is applying gel coat to your boat.
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What Is Gel Coat
Gel coat is the outer surface that you see on a fiberglass boat. It is usually white, although sometimes it is colored on the sides of a boats hull, and some manufacturers use a beige color instead of bright white. Gel coat is a smooth, waxy surface that protects the fiberglass underneath from UV sun damage and water.
Gel coat is a two-part polyester resin that is applied inside the mold when the manufacturer makes the boat. As a result, it makes fiberglass surfaces perfectly smooth, and everything on the boat is attached on top of it.
Gel coat lasts a very long time, but it doesnt last forever. The sun eats away at it over the years, and if not properly cared for, it can start to absorb dirt, grime, and salt. It can be restored by compounding, but that will eventually wear down the thickness of the gel coat until not much is left.
When the gel coat gets thin, and the fiberglass is showing through, something will have to be done to protect the boat. At that point, you can either regelcoat the boat, or you can have it painted.
Gelcoat Repair: Fixing A Boats Minor Scrapes And Scratches
Some people consider boat maintenance to be a chore, while others enjoy a sense of satisfaction when they work on their boat. Whichever category you may fall into, one thing is for sure: we all want our boats to look as clean and slick as possible. And when youre looking at a shiny gelcoated hullside nothing draws the eye faster than a scrape, scratch, or ding. Fortunately, minor gelcoat repair isnt a huge deal. In fact, we can boil down the process into seven easy steps.
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Average Cost Estimate To Re
There is no exact estimate of the cost to re-gelcoat a boat since all boats are of different sizes and display varying amounts of damages that need different steps of re-gelcoating. Even if you plan to only go for a color change on a new undamaged boat, it still needs to go through specific steps.
So, if you are getting professional, they might charge you around $300 to $500 per foot for the entire process. One-third of the cost is for the materials, and the rest two-third is the labor cost.
As an example, with a 16-foot craft, prepare to spend around $8000 on re-gel coating. However, this is just a rough estimate, and prices can significantly vary.
Prepping A Scratch In Gelcoat
Before you can fill a scratch in gel coat, you need to make sure its shaped in a V. Otherwise, if the scratchs shape is irregular the gelcoat paste may bridge either side and leave a gap underneath in some areas. If this happens, your repair wont last. We know this will be painful, but youll need to use the corner of a metal putty knife or a flat-head screwdriver and run it along the scratch, so the gouge is in that V shape from end to end. For larger scratches, using a Dremel may be necessary. Then wash and dry the area to be sure its perfectly clean before beginning the repair.
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Designed For Long Term Protection
EcoPoxy GelCoat is a premium gel coat formulated to meet rigid requirements of boating, transportation, and containment applications. Applied in a thickness of 16-20 mils, which gives this gel coat depth to survive considerable water sanding, compounding, and re-polishing. EcoPoxy GelCoat provides superior cosmetics and a long term protective life expectancy.