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Old 19-01-2014, 12:44   #1
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How to restore gel coat luster...

I just purchased a 1998 Hunter Legend. The boat is in excellent shape and very well equipped. However, the gel coat on the hull and cabin top is oxidized and I would like it to regain some of its original luster. Any thoughts or ideas? I have heard that a wet sand with 2000, then rubbing compound, then wax and/or conditioner would do it wonders. Others say never sand gel coat. Chime in if you have an educated idea of what is best.
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Old 19-01-2014, 12:59   #2
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Re: How to restore gel coat luster...

Here's a useful link: Tips For Compound, Polish & Wax - SailNet Community
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Old 19-01-2014, 13:03   #3
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pirate Re: How to restore gel coat luster...

Wash it down with 50/50 All Off and water.. hose her down with FW then when dry go over her hull with one of the liquid car restorers using a buffer... I did a Longbow hull like this with a product called T-Cut... came up a treat.. topsides I did by hand as we went.. something to kill time at anchor..
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Old 19-01-2014, 13:10   #4
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Re: How to restore gel coat luster...

Quote:
Originally Posted by paccrest View Post
I just purchased a 1998 Hunter Legend. The boat is in excellent shape and very well equipped. However, the gel coat on the hull and cabin top is oxidized and I would like it to regain some of its original luster. Any thoughts or ideas? I have heard that a wet sand with 2000, then rubbing compound, then wax and/or conditioner would do it wonders. Others say never sand gel coat. Chime in if you have an educated idea of what is best.
SV Liahona



Sand it!


Use these for wet sanding by hand.


3M 02600 4-1/2" x 5-1/2" Microfine Softback Sanding Sponge, (Box of 20) : Amazon.com : Automotive


They are 1500 grit.


Use these on a quality random orbit sander for large areas. Huge time saver.


3M Microfinishing PSA Film Type D Disc 268L, 5" Diameter, Green (Pack of 500): Amazon.com: Industrial & Scientific


Polishing is another issue.
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Old 19-01-2014, 14:10   #5
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Re: How to restore gel coat luster...

Unless it's really bad, you might not have to sand, Truth is you never HAVE to sand, just you'll be polishing forever if you don't. Might even be worth paying someone and watching them as to how it's done. If you polish and wax at least yearly, depending on where you are, it will keep it's luster forever.
You can damage the hull by sanding through the Gel coat if you don't know what your doing.
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Old 19-01-2014, 15:29   #6
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Re: How to restore gel coat luster...

If oxidation is heavy start with wet sanding. Lots of work but best way to start. Might have to go two grits. I like start with 1000 and then again with 1500. Then polish with 3m polishing compound. Then a couple coats good wax.... I just did my cabin and pretty much restored 1966 gelcoat look. I talked to a pro first for directions. He would have charged $1000 to do my 29'. But it is a lot of work
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Old 19-01-2014, 16:13   #7
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Re: How to restore gel coat luster...

First start with Collinite #920 then if that does not work go with all the other ideas here.

Collinite #920
Fiberglass Boat Cleaner
First step product restores blemished fiberglass, while preparing surface for follow-up wax application.
Restores neglected fiberglass finishes effected by weathering
Preps surface for follow-up wax shine and protection
Improves wax bond, spread and staying power
Available in 16 fl oz and 64 fl oz
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Old 19-01-2014, 16:13   #8
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Re: How to restore gel coat luster...

Try 3M Finesse with a buffer. It's more a cleaner than a buffing compound. Worked as well as rubbing compound on my tired gel coat. Be careful whatever you do. It's possible to grind through the gel coat if you are not careful. Too many compounding and buffings on my boat ground the gelcoat so thin the FRP layup underneath started showing through.
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Old 19-01-2014, 16:36   #9
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Re: How to restore gel coat luster...

The product you use will depend on how heavy the surface is oxidized. The first step is to take some rubbing compound and polish a small spot and hit it with a buffer. Then take some acetone and wipe the surface to remove the wax that was in the buffing compound so you can evaluate the gelcoat. If it stays shinny, then the surface is lightly oxidized and there is no need to sand. Start with a cutting type of rubbing compound (3m, mcguires and a host of other) and keep the pad moist while you a working the surface. After you have gotten the shine back, switch to a polishing product to get the brilliance of the gel coat.
If it needs something more agressing, you can try a section with something like aqua buff 1000 and see if that works. If not, you will have to start sanding. I would start with and 800 grit and then go to 1500 grit and the finish with trizac 3000. At that stage, you are ready to buff and polish.
Sometimes the gelcoat is shot and there is additional damage that needs to be fixed and it is cheaper time wise to just put a high quality polyurethane paint on the boat. If that is what you decide on, just search this forum for Minaret and follow his instructions. He knows what he is talking about.
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Old 19-01-2014, 17:18   #10
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Re: How to restore gel coat luster...

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
You can damage the hull by sanding through the Gel coat if you don't know what your doing.
And if your really ambitious you can polish thru it too. Polishing is removing material, just not very much.
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Old 19-01-2014, 17:41   #11
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Re: How to restore gel coat luster...

Quote:
Originally Posted by brankin View Post
The product you use will depend on how heavy the surface is oxidized. The first step is to take some rubbing compound and polish a small spot and hit it with a buffer. Then take some acetone and wipe the surface to remove the wax that was in the buffing compound so you can evaluate the gelcoat. If it stays shinny, then the surface is lightly oxidized and there is no need to sand. Start with a cutting type of rubbing compound (3m, mcguires and a host of other) and keep the pad moist while you a working the surface. After you have gotten the shine back, switch to a polishing product to get the brilliance of the gel coat.
If it needs something more agressing, you can try a section with something like aqua buff 1000 and see if that works. If not, you will have to start sanding. I would start with and 800 grit and then go to 1500 grit and the finish with trizac 3000. At that stage, you are ready to buff and polish.
Sometimes the gelcoat is shot and there is additional damage that needs to be fixed and it is cheaper time wise to just put a high quality polyurethane paint on the boat. If that is what you decide on, just search this forum for Minaret and follow his instructions. He knows what he is talking about.


Nice, someone else who uses Aqua Blue! I love water base. Don't forget to finish compounding/polishing with a glaze before waxing. I use Farecla. The Italians know how to make things glow. Can you read the label in the finish?
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Old 19-01-2014, 18:00   #12
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Re: How to restore gel coat luster...

I went through this exercise 2 years ago. My sequence of products was

1000 grit paper - coarse cutting compound - fine cutting compound - cut and polish wax - finishing wax

The whole thing is very slow. Expect 2 hours per foot just for the hull and more for the deck. Once you are done the annual touch up becomes easy. Once a year with cut and polish wax and twice a year with finishing wax will keep it looking great.

Works for me. The hull is 20 years old.

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Old 19-01-2014, 18:13   #13
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Re: How to restore gel coat luster...

Go to this link and do what it says

Tips For Compound, Polish & Wax - SailNet Community
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Old 19-01-2014, 18:16   #14
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Re: How to restore gel coat luster...

Quote:
Originally Posted by savoir View Post
I went through this exercise 2 years ago. My sequence of products was

1000 grit paper - coarse cutting compound - fine cutting compound - cut and polish wax - finishing wax

The whole thing is very slow. Expect 2 hours per foot just for the hull and more for the deck. Once you are done the annual touch up becomes easy. Once a year with cut and polish wax and twice a year with finishing wax will keep it looking great.

Works for me. The hull is 20 years old.

Attachment 74307


Good lord, two hours per foot?! 3M dry guide coat and the desired grit in the form of DA film discs; makes it more like two minutes a foot. For the sanding, anyway.
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Old 19-01-2014, 18:31   #15
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Re: How to restore gel coat luster...

Whoa ! Two hours/foot was for the whole process.

I didn't have scaffolding so that added a bit of time continually moving the ladder.
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