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Gelcoat : what use for the hull and superstructure of your boat ?

As a boat owner, you have probably heard of "gel coat". Indeed, it is a term known to all and stems from the English gel coat which translation in French gives "couche de gel".

Let's take a look at what gelcoat is. To give a definition, the gelcoat is a layer of gel that is applied to the visible surface of the hull of your boat, often made of fiberglass, the same fiber that makes up the majority of boats. After drying, this gel coat will harden and form a kind of waterproof resin. The cases involving the use of this product are various such as the appearance of scratches, chips or cracks on the surface of the hull due to a failed maneuver or a navigation too close to rocks for example.

In this article, we will focus mainly on boat gelcoat repair which is an essential process in the maintenance of your boat's surface.

Thus, we will see at first, what is the necessary material for a gelcoat repair on a boat ? What are the different types of gelcoat repair on a boat ? Finally, we will see for which reasons the repair of gelcoat on a boat is essential?

Table of contents

What equipment is needed for a gelcoat repair on a boat ?

The repair of gelcoat is an operation to be followed step by step with precaution and precision. To do so, it is very important to be well equipped with the right material to avoid damaging the surface. Do not neglect the recommended protective equipment such as latex gloves, a mask and glasses.

Finally, don't forget to be careful with the product you plan to use, given its harmfulness, it can be dangerous for your own health but also for the marine environment which will be polluted. D’où l’importance de bien penser à la protection de votre propre santé et celle de l’environnement.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of the equipment needed :

The tools :

  • A spatula;
  • A flat brush;
  • A paint roller;
  • A sander and polisher;
  • Sanding paper with grains from 180 to 600;

The products :

  • Gelcoat of white;
  • Colouring paste (in the case of a non-white boat);
  • Mastic (attention, the mastic is necessary only in case of deep impacts);
  • Polishing paste;
  • Shine cream;
  • Acetone;

What are the different types of gelcoat repairs on a boat ?

Now that you know what equipment is needed, you are probably wondering how to maintain and revive a boat's gelcoat? Well, gelcoat repair of a boat's surface comes in two forms, the simple gelcoat repair as well as the extensive gelcoat repair. Often, boaters do the simple gelcoat repair themselves as it involves dealing with small cracks or scratches on the surface of the hull or superstructure of the vessel.

In the case of major gelcoat repairs, it is highly recommended to call on the help of a professional in the field since we are dealing with more delicate operations.

For example, imagine a boat that is not white but red. Only two options will help you :

  • Use a gelcoat product with a pigment that is as close as possible to the original red color. Be careful, the observation is only made when the gel coat has hardened into resin after the drying stage.
  • Use a coloring agent with red pigment to mix it and get the desired result. Here again, the result will only be determined when the gel layer has hardened into resin after the drying stage.

 

Finding the right pigment and then mixing it to match the color of the surface of the hull or superstructure of a boat (not white) is a very complicated operation. Only a professional will be able to get close to the original color with his expertise using the right product and the right pigment.

How do I do a classic gelcoat repair on my boat ?

  • Delineate the damaged area that needs sanding, using the tape;
  • Sand the damaged area with water and sandpaper;
  • Consider applying acetone to degrease and clean the surface step by step;
  • Proceed to apply the white gel coat to the area, using the spatula;
  • Let dry according to the instructions in the product's user guide;
  • Sand again;
  • During the sanding process, increase the grit size of the sanding paper step by step to 600;
  • Using the polisher, refine it using the polishing paste and the polishing cream;

 

Be careful to store and apply the gelcoat product in a room temperature environment to avoid unpleasant surprises such as the formation of air bubbles during the drying stage, when the gel hardens into a resin.

Comment faire une réparation importante au gelcoat sur mon bateau ?

  • In this case, it is highly recommended to call a professional. Don't worry! Boatngo will not leave you without help. Boatngo has built a network of local laminators who offer availability, expertise and fair pricing. Tell us your needs and receive your personalized quote within 48 hours by clicking here

For which reasons is gelcoat repair of a boat essential ?

Gelcoat repair of a boat is essential for ANY boat owner when it has several scratches, impacts... on the surface of its hull or superstructure. It is the only way to repair the damage. So which yachtsman would leave his boat without maintenance, with scratches, big holes and various impacts on the surface ? None we agree !

It is because gelcoat repair is THE only solution to give your boat a beautiful finish that it is essential. In short, the gelcoat MAKES your boat, it contributes to its aesthetic aspect by its brightness in the sunlight as well as to its technical functions bringing resistance and waterproofing. It is therefore essential to know what it consists of for the proper maintenance of your vessel. Moreover, a boat is often made of fiberglass, and this same fiber is present in the composition of the gelcoat product.

What you need to remember !

Whatever they are, gel coat repairs are essential for your boat, whether it is for its good maintenance with a better waterproofing and resistance to bad weather or for its aesthetics with a beautiful appearance thanks to the finition of your boat.

Keep in mind, however, the idea that the gelcoat deteriorates over time. Indeed, the gelcoat will begin to lose its color under the effect of ultraviolet rays that attack the pigment that makes up the color. The color will therefore fade. In the case of a white boat, the gelcoat resin layer will tend to turn yellow.

Finally, you should know that if you take care to maintain your boat regularly, the work to be done on it will be less. For example, in the case of gelcoat that dulls the color of the surface, all you need to do is sand and polish it to restore its beautiful appearance.

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