Boats are big-ticket items that need to be maintained to look and perform their best. One of the most common cosmetic solutions for restoring a boat to its original lustre is to fix its faded gel coat. The gel coat is both paint for colour, and epoxy for protection of the fibreglass hull of a boat. Keeping your boat looking fresh also helps to keep its value and will make reselling it easier when the time comes. While repairing the gel coat on a boat takes some practice, it is something that anyone can learn to do.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Wax remover (Acetone or Automotive Silicone remover)
- Waxing compound
Apply a little elbow grease and see if a good buff and wax won't solve the problem. In many cases, that's all that's needed to restore a boat's original lustre. It should be done at least once a month during boating season, and once before storing and removing the boat from storage.
Decide if the fading is more pronounced and won't be solved with a general wax and buff. If not, use a waxing product designed to clean and deoxidize damaged gel coats. Apply in the same manner as a normal wax.
Remove any existing wax build-up on the boat's surface. Apply acetone to remove the wax unless the gel coat is treated with silicone. Use automotive silicone remover if that is the case.
Apply compound wax. Using compound wax with a gritty composition scrubs particles from the gel coat to restore it. Select the proper grit by applying a small amount of compound to a limited area to see if it restores the original colour. Use a progressively stronger grit until you are satisfied with the results.
Buff as usual when finished and prepare to admire your lovely revived boat.
Restoring that shine
Tips and warnings
- Keeping up with waxing and general maintenance is much easier than stripping and applying a new wax coat. Well-maintained boats typically maintain their gel coat for 20 years or more before a complete refinishing is needed.
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