Repairing gelcoat is a very important thing to do if you own a fiberglass boat. While it is true that the gelcoat will protect the fiberglass surface, the gelcoat can be scratched, gouged and cracked due to bumps with heavy objects or simply old age.
Damaged gelcoat can really affect the appearance of the boat negatively. And when the gouges are too deep, it can even be a hint that the fiberglass structure underneath the gelcoat is damaged as well.
Calling a pro to repair your boat can be very costly. So, if the scratches on the gelcoat are minor, you actually can fix it by yourself. Here are some easy steps to repairing gelcoat with barely noticeable, if not completely invisible, sign of repair.
Five Easy and Effective Steps on Repairing Gelcoat
Choose Matching Color
If you want the repair to look invisible, the color of the gelcoat supply must be the same with what your boat has. You need to be careful with this because old age and chemical reaction can cause discoloration. As a result, the color of the new gelcoat might be slightly different with the color of your boat even though you are basically choosing the same color.
If the color of the new gel coat turns out to be different, you can mix it with coloring pigment to match it with the color of the boat.
Clean and Mark the Area
You need to clean the area first before starting to work. Grind the edges of the repair area so that the surface will be level and clean. Since the old sealant can prevent the new gelcoat from attaching to the cracks and fiberglass surface, don’t forget to clean it with acetone first.
After that, mark the edges of the scratch with masking tapes. It is important to prevent the undamaged area from being accidentally sanded.
Mix and Apply the Gelcoat
Now that the area is ready to work with, it is time to mix the gelcoat with hardener. The hardener is a catalyst that will make the new gelcoat layers stick to the fiberglass surface and cover the scratches, dents or gouges well.
After that, you can start applying gelcoat using a putty knife. It is okay to go over the repair area since the edges are covered with masking tape. Wait for around a5 to 20 minutes for the mixture to dry and harden.
After the gelcoat is hardened, you have to sand it so that the surface of the boat will be even. Be careful when sanding it and don’t go over the masking tape to prevent new scratches in surrounding area. When the surface is finally even, spray high quality marine polish to coat the newly gelcoated area.
Those tricks above will only be effective to repair minor gelcoat damage. If the boat sports deeper signs of damage and not only some minor scratches and cracks, it is best to call professional repairman because it is possible that the fiberglass structure needs to be repaired first before you can start repairing gelcoat.