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Old 12-05-2014, 10:14   #1
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Gelcoat basically gone... Thoughts ?

Hello all,

I'm new to the forum and this is my first post... Historically I've been a new boat guy... BUT I purchased a 1982 Tanzer 27 this past October. This thing also happens to be my first sail boat. (Convo for another thread)

Now that that's out of the way - the boat was at purchase at best a "project boat."

Since October it's basically turned into a bottom up restoration with new, eh 'everything.' From sails to motor to electrical, lighting, cushions, etc..

I've done all the work myself and have been able to figure out just about everything I didn't know how to do going into it... With one exception. The Gelcoat is basically (completely) gone on the topsides. So much so that if the surface of the deck is dry, and you rake it with your fingers, your fingertips come up white... I'm looking for a pseudo quick fix to the issue to get me through the season before I put her back on the hard again and hit her with a hard coat of wax and a buffer wheel. Have heard some good things about woody wax?

Any feedback or advice will be greatly appreciated

- SeaTurkey
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Old 12-05-2014, 11:30   #2
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Re: Gelcoat basically gone... Thoughts ?

There is gone as in none left, and there is gone as in oxidized.
Maybe yours is just oxidized? If so you can "restore" it, if it's really bad and you have plenty left, start by wet sanding, if it's not so bad and or is thin, start with rubbing compound, then polishing compound etc. Buy a professional buffer, mine is a Makita.
It will look beautiful, until the wax oxidizes that is, tropics six months, up north a year?

Or paint
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Old 12-05-2014, 11:39   #3
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Re: Gelcoat basically gone... Thoughts ?

We have an old boat (alot older than yours) and we ended up epoxy priming and painting them. I'd highly recommend using either Interlux or Awlgrip two part polyurethans/ epoxy paints. They'll hold up better than any one part and especially for a deck durability is key. We tried just using Brightsides one part on the decks and it was a big mistake.

However if you are just talking chaulky gelcoat a big variable speed buffer and some compound usually does the trick. That or as said wet sanding if you have enough gelcoat where you don't see dark spots showing through.
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Old 12-05-2014, 12:01   #4
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Re: Gelcoat basically gone... Thoughts ?

No dark spots to speak of so I'm thinking I still have some left... Any quick fixes in the interim? I'm on a mooring and can't really do much (namely with power tools) until I get her back up on the hard?

Also... Have to ask.. A64 pilot? Apache? I'm a former marine and current airline pilot so it caught my eye...
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Old 12-05-2014, 12:06   #5
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Re: Gelcoat basically gone... Thoughts ?

Yes, former Apache pilot.

Only quick fix is to pay someone else to do it, there are some "magic" products that will put a shine back on for a little while, then they come off in patches and are hell to remove.
If you con't get to it now, I'd just wait, it won't sink the boat
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Old 12-05-2014, 13:46   #6
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Re: Gelcoat basically gone... Thoughts ?

Any idea what the ballpark cost would be to have someone else do it? I'm kind of a neat freak with the boat and the idea of spending the summer chasing people around with a magic eraser isn't exclusively how I had imagined it -
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Old 12-05-2014, 14:15   #7
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Re: Gelcoat basically gone... Thoughts ?

No idea, and I think since it's 99% labor, prices will vary widely based among other things, where you are
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Old 12-05-2014, 14:20   #8
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Re: Gelcoat basically gone... Thoughts ?

If you don't have power tools, I would just wash it and live with it until you haul out.

I will disagre with the Interlux Brightsides comment. We did it on our last boat and started on our current boat. On the old boat, the decks were shiny and smooth 3 yrs in with no waxing or buffing at all.

As with any painting project, poor preparation will make for a poor result.

The trade off with single part paints is they aren't as tough. So drag an anchor across them and you will put scratches in the paint. Some of the 2 part paints might survive but abuse it enough and you will get scratches and gouges. But this is balanced against, almost no effort to touch up any scratches. You clean the area in question. A quick brush on and unless you get inches away, you can't tell the difference. Much easier for a DIY project.
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Old 12-05-2014, 16:49   #9
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Re: Gelcoat basically gone... Thoughts ?

Another factor is how much of the deck area is molded non-skid. Those surfaces are much harder to restore than the smooth ones IME.

For smooth areas, a product called TSRW may get you through the season quite well. This is a liquid monomer that you apply with a sponge (after cleaning with their proprietary cleaner!), several coats in quick succession. It is quite easy to do, lasts six months to a year and is easy to touch up. Removal is also fairly easy... washing with a strong ammonia-based cleaner takes it off. We used the equivalent Southern Hemisphere product called Poly Glow on teh topsides of our previous boat when she was nearly thirty years old,and it did a creditable job of restoring shine to badly aged gelcoat.

We didn't try it on non-skid areas, so can't advise on that aspect.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 13-05-2014, 14:19   #10
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Re: Gelcoat basically gone... Thoughts ?

One thing you can do on the mooring is wet sand, if it's really heavily oxidized use a 400 with soapy water, when you've removed the heavy stuff go to a 1200 or 2000 grit paper, this is usually used for finish work on auto paints.
It will actually look passable enough to was at that point and you've done the heavy work you would have had to do prior to buffing anyway.
It should look acceptable enough to get you by the season and is something you would have had to do prior to buffing anyway. Hand sanding only, machines tend to cut through too fast.
I wet sanded the entire hull on a 32 Westsail in about 4 hours prior to buffing it out.
You can also use that sand paper to smooth oxidized plastic auto headlight lenses, you wet sand first, then use plastic polish to finish, works a lot faster and looks a lot better than just trying to do it with polish alone.
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Old 13-05-2014, 15:08   #11
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Re: Gelcoat basically gone... Thoughts ?

Mines got some dark spots near some of the edges and the rest is chalked pretty bad. The molded non skid is good except for a couple of spots in the cockpit. I am just going to wet sand and buff it for this year. It won't look perfect but I will not turn white. Most people said my hull would not buff out but it did ok. I am rebedding my deck now and running new wiring then I am done for the year. Short of sinking I am not doing anything but sailing. I have spent the last two months working on her now it is time to get out on the water. I wanted to redo my deck and non skid but ran out of time and money. So I figure I can deal with so so gelcoat one more season.

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Old 13-05-2014, 15:35   #12
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Re: Gelcoat basically gone... Thoughts ?

The "topsides" and the "surface of the deck" are two different things. Topsides being the sides of the hull. Deck being the surface of the deck.

Woody wax is a non-skid wax that you would apply to wax and preserve the deck without making it slippery, but you want something solid before you wax it. If the gelcoat on the deck has deteriorated, there's sadly just one solution. You remove every bit of hardware, or spend a couple of days masking it all off (which simply won't ever be as good) and then apply a new coating to the deck. Deck paint, epoxy, whatever you chose, but don't cheap out because if you're investing all that labor in masking or removing gear...that's the really expensive part of the job.

After you've done the deck (and if there was any recoring or repair to be done that needs to be done first) you can add anti-skid where it is needed. Many choices on that but often it is just a matter of adding "grit" or texturing into an additional coat in those areas that need it.

And only then, the woody wax or another non-skid wax to keep the new deck coating sealed and prevent UV damage.

On the topsides, the sides of the hull? You can always try a good polish and sealant/wx but if that doesn't do it, that's hull painting time. No real cheap magic solution to that, just a question of what it really does or doesn't need.
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Old 14-05-2014, 08:38   #13
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Re: Gelcoat basically gone... Thoughts ?

Try a test spot with "Penetrol." Penetrol (made by Flood) is a paint additive but by itself it puts back the shine to faded fiberglass. I have used it regularly.
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Old 14-05-2014, 09:46   #14
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Re: Gelcoat basically gone... Thoughts ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by WindLove View Post
Try a test spot with "Penetrol." Penetrol (made by Flood) is a paint additive but by itself it puts back the shine to faded fiberglass. I have used it regularly.
Interesting - could you elaborate a bit on how you are applying it and how long it lasts once applied. Thanks for any information.
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Old 14-05-2014, 10:14   #15
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Re: Gelcoat basically gone... Thoughts ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lifeofreilly57 View Post
One thing you can do on the mooring is wet sand, if it's really heavily oxidized use a 400 with soapy water, when you've removed the heavy stuff go to a 1200 or 2000 grit paper, this is usually used for finish work on auto paints.
It will actually look passable enough to was at that point and you've done the heavy work you would have had to do prior to buffing anyway.
It should look acceptable enough to get you by the season and is something you would have had to do prior to buffing anyway. Hand sanding only, machines tend to cut through too fast.
I wet sanded the entire hull on a 32 Westsail in about 4 hours prior to buffing it out.
You can also use that sand paper to smooth oxidized plastic auto headlight lenses, you wet sand first, then use plastic polish to finish, works a lot faster and looks a lot better than just trying to do it with polish alone.
Vida supra.

If "chalk" comes off on your hand you will need to wet sand. 3M makes a sanding sponge that is easy to work with and comes in superfine (about 1000 grit) and coarser grades, but doesn't last very long and costs $2 for a small sponge. Amazon carries cases of them. Grab a few pieces of black 400 and 800 sandpaper and use what works without excessive wet sanding. Keep washing off the oxidized material and use your "hand chamois" to feel the surface, when you get to the good stuff it will feel slicker and suddenly less material comes off. After the wet sanding then 3M heavy duty rubbing compound on a wool bonnet attached to a Makita 9227, then Finesse It Machine Polish on a foam bonnet, then a good quality wax on a fine wool (yellow) bonnet.

Gel coat is 10 times thicker than automotive paint. You might be shocked at the wonderful stuff hidden beneath the oxidation. If you are able to readily sand through the gel coat by hand, someone has already worked on it many times which seems doubtful due to its present awful appearance with early 80's gel coat.

Do not paint if you can save your gel coat, gel coat is a much better surface and it is also repairable (read Minaret's posts on this for color matching etc.)
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