The Condition of your Gelcoat Reflects the Value of Your Boat
Yachts, powerboats, jetskis and amphibious vehicles are coated with several layers of gelcoat, as to protect the fiberglass hull from wear and damage. Gelcoat is a strong resin that adheres to the contours of your boat and flexes with the hull's contortions as it tackles the waves and weather.
If you get a lot of enjoyment out of your marine vehicle, the hull of is destined to suffer some wear. Regular docking, unforeseen events and heavy sunlight can take their toll, and even a few small blemishes can have a negative impact on the resale value of your nautical vessel. Professional hull scratch and gelcoat repairs can be expensive and inconvenient, so consider fixing it up yourself with a few simple tools and a Preval Sprayer or vFan Airbrush System.
Gelcoat is a polyester resin with many unique qualities, so the proper application of gelcoat is as much art as it is science. Regardless of your skill level with gelcoat application, the consistent spray pattern and portability of the Preval Sprayer make it an ideal tool for gelcoat boat repair touch ups.
MATERIALS YOU'LL NEED
Latex gloves Eye protection Respirator
Wet/dry sanding blocks with grits #220, #320, #600 or #800
Clean rags or paper towels Acetone Gelcoat and hardener – matched to the make and color of your boat Preval Sprayer, or
This How-To is focused on gelcoat touch ups. For a complete refinish of your boat, industrial spray equipment will be required.
Do not apply gelcoat if the temperature is below 65 or above 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Use sanding blocks, not paper, for a more even finish.
When filling corners and small chips, use acetate instead of bondo or lacquer filler.
Never spray gelcoat in direct sunlight during a hot day. The material will dry too quickly, resulting in cracks and/or a dull finish.
Do not use wax-lined cups for mixing gelcoat, epoxy or resins, as these will leave small shavings in the mix and disrupt your Preval sprayer.
Do not use any filler with fiberglass strands added.
Clean the Preval Sprayer by spraying through the unit with acetone, then save for later use.
Put on respirator and eye protection to protect yourself from fiberglass dust and the gelcoat fumes.
Grind out loose fiberglass and gelcoat with a Dremel, drill or grinding tool.
Wet sand on and around the scratch to eliminate all loose gelcoat.
Block sand the area and several inches surrounding it, starting with heavy grit to get chips and other loose materials, then moving to finer grits until the scratch and surrounding area is smoothed out.
Brush off the sanded surface, then clean it with acetone, using a one-direction wiping motion and paper towels or a clean rag to ensure the dust isn't smeared in.
Fill the scratch with auto body filler, lacquer putty or fairing compound. Apply as much as needed, thinly and evenly. Wipe away the excess but leave enough to allow for sanding, then let dry.
Sand the filling compound with #600 or #800 grit block then brush and wipe away all dust. Ensure the filler is even and smooth. If another coat of filler is needed, repeat Step 5.
Put on latex gloves, respirator and eye protection.