Have you ever thought that boats and other forms of watercraft have the ability to last long because they are usually over the water? Stop for a while and think again. The more they are likely to float or partially submerged in water, the more they are exposed to harmful bacteria present in both fresh and salty water. These bacterias, along with acid and alkaline, gradually harms the exterior of the boat by producing rust, thereby causing damage to the paint coatings down to the very base of every surface around your water vehicle.
Aside from natural deterioration brought about by the above mentioned scenario, accidents and other forms of mishandling are either caused by negligence or when a boatman decides to be drunk once in a while, resulting to bumping or colliding with other boats and later realized that holes were created on the floor due to a sharp object that punched the bow or the hull. The impact of this foolishness to the integrity of the boat may be greater than expected in terms of the needed expenditures for repairs and refurbishments and it is only when the culprit is sober that the realization sinks in and sends a message of mixed frustration and temporary repentance.
However, there is always a solution to every problem and a sigh of relief could be manifested with breakthroughs in gel coat repair. From minor damage like slight scratches caused by sideswiping. to major problems like high impact collision with hard and sharp objects, can be fixed with the proper knowledge and application of gel coat in order to restore the once shining and glittering aura of your watercraft.
To have a better and clearer understanding of the process, here are a few steps to consider:
- Determining the desired type of finish
Gel coat won’t work with a surface that is already painted because the different levels of paint coating previously applied are strong enough to repel the desired application. The thickness of the previous paint job impedes the gel coat application because the base surface cannot absorb the current chemical application with a rough surface dominated by the undesirable presence of foreign mixtures. The best thing to do is totally remove unwanted items, use a sander to partially smoothen the surface, check the level of smoothness and then begin applying the gel coat in an orderly manner.
- Preparing the surface for other applications
It is important to remember that the surface you want to appear glossy or shiny must be free from either oil, wax and other forms of spilled lubricants since the final touches of the gel coat also has wax elements that may mix up badly with unchecked and untidy boat surfaces. Make sure to clean the area around the gel coat applications at least a couple of diameters with a paint thinner and wipe away minute and unwanted residues with acetone. For much deeper holes and extreme scratch repairs, chisel areas resembling the letter V for a much better and stronger bonding surface.
- Apply industrial tape or adhesives around the area to be repaired
This is to prevent unwanted items from mixing up with the current applications on the surface like extra gel coat residues and bits of sandpaper splinters. Unintentional spraying likewise could be prevented with this strategy and as usual, use the acetone to ensure that the surface to be worked on is clean and ready for the next application steps.
Other steps to include in gel coat repair include filler application, mixing and matching the gel coat, mixing the stimulants, applying the gel coat and then finally performing sanding, buffing and polishing.
This type of job is risky if you attempt a DIY. It is best to have a gel coat repair completed by a team of experts.