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Old 07-10-2006, 19:08   #1
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how to treat old anti skid?

Hi,

we've bought a 20 year old fiberglass boat with a badly oxidized gel coat (Florida waters). We're pretty sure we can buff her up quite nicely but don't know what to do about the anti skid which is built into the original gel coat.
Any suggestions as to how to restore that part of her?

thanks,
liz
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Old 07-10-2006, 20:02   #2
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3M make a nice line of professional refinishing products for fiberglass, available from any auto body shop supplier. I trust their expertise--and the broadness of their line--more than any special niche boat product maker.

WHen antiskid has worn down, there's nothing to be done except recoat it, or grind (sand, etc.) it down and recoat it. Cover it with Treadmaster, or apply more antiskid material. West Systems recommends using a paint roller (they have a PDF online, and free tech support) and thickened epoxy resin, to get a textured epoxy coat over the old stuff, minimal prep needed. Other folks add sand, or salt (which dissolves out, yes) or crushed walnut shells, etc. as a texture in the new coat. Some experimentation on scrap plywood is a good idea, because a great anti-skid for racers, maybe just tear holes in your foulies for cruisers with more modest goals.
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Old 08-10-2006, 05:41   #3
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My advice is to forget all that West Marine stuff.

Take Colonite #420 first. Liberally apply it to a buffer and grind away until it shines like new. I did my 45' boat in 1 day this way, including coach roof and every bit of fiberglass on the deck.

Once you have the boat looking good, keep it that way by immediately applying Colonite #885 Fleetwax.

Apply this wax by hand, and buff off while stick tacky - don't let it dry. The finish will last a year+ without need for re-waxing.

It's hard work, but your boat will shine like it's new.
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Old 08-10-2006, 09:21   #4
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Thanks for the great suggestions SOS and Sean.
Where I envision the problem is when we are buffing the anti-skid part. How do we buff down in the indentations to remove oxidations, deposits, etc. And when we do that, are we buffing away the "tread" of the antiskid?
Some things I'm thinking of trying are electric shoe polisher, electric car buffer, electric floor polisher along with the products you suggested - any cons to any of these?

liz
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Old 08-10-2006, 11:02   #5
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For Gelcoat restoration:
Get a pocket microscope from Radio Shack, etc. and under high power look to see if the gelcoat is NOT 'alligatored' .... looks like a dried-up mud puddle at high power. If you detect alligatoring then the ONLY recourse is to paint the surface. If not alligatored then ....

Take 2000 grit wet and dry sand paper using a capful of diswashing detergent per gallon of water as a 'lubricant' and with a hard rubber sanding block begin to sand the gelcoat flat and begin to remove the old oxidized surface. Gelcoat is usually quite thick 1/16-1/8" so in most cases you can 'hog' down through the oxidized layer into good gel. The object of sanding is to get a FLAT (planar) surface.

Get a (variable-speed) high speed auto body shop polisher with a few 3M foam (knobby polishing pad) and apply/rough polish with 3M "Perfect-it" Polishing compound. Do only a 2ft. X 2ft. section at a time, keep the bonnet moving at all times so you dont burn through the gel - use a 'light' touch as the speed is the controlling factor NOT pressure. Be very careful not to burn through sharp edges and 'round areas' of the gelcoat. High Speed Power buffing removes a LOT of gelcoat so go 'easy'.

Stop immediately if you begin to see/perceive the underlayment of polyester resin (usually green) or the appearance of the matting layer of fiberglass. If there isnt enough gelcoat or the gelcoat is alligatored; then, the only recourse is to paint. Continue doing the 2 ft. X 2 ft. sections until the whole boat is completed, then put the bonnets into a washing machine to thoroughly clean them. Then apply 3M "Perfect-it" in the same manner in 2ft. X 2ft. sections until done. By now the gelcoat will begin to look like 'new'.
Then with a clean bare wet hand, take (paste) Collinite Fleet wax (about 1/2" dia. 'blob' and PUSH it into the gelcoat. The function of wax is to seal the micropores of the gel. Dont smear on and smear off; push it INTO the gel. Continue with 1/2" dia blobs of wax and a bare wet and until the gel begins to show a 'showroom new' shine. Then apply one or two 'smear coats' followed with a clean high speed power buff with a knobby foam pad.

If the gelcoat hasnt oxidized down deep, the above method will bring the OEM (new) shine back. This is the method used to powerbuff a NEW boat when its pulled from its mold.

Every 2-3 years, STRIP out the old dead wax from the pores by using (soaking with) a caustic detergent, lightly powerbuff with Pertect-it and reapply the wax as above. If you dont strip the old dead wax, it will promote further oxidation.

Decent variable high speed powerbuffers, foam polishing pad adapters and pads, 3M Finesse-t and Perfect-it are available from most boarbuilding supply sources such as Jamestown Distributors .... www.jamestowndistributors.com, etc.

For the non-skid, simply get a medium-stiff scrubbbing brush and use Comet cleanser and a bit of water to deep clean the textured surface ..... then WAX with one of the newer non-skid 'deck waxes'.

Power buffing is THE way to restore gelcoat to a 'showroom new' conditon. Painting is only a "temporary" coating; the wipe-on snake-oil acrylic coatings (Island Girl, etc.) are very temporary coatings. Happy poilishing. if successful, your power-buffed old boat will be the envy of your marina.
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Old 08-10-2006, 12:35   #6
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Great suggestions - thanks so much.
I'm almost looking forward to it :-)

I guess I was getting a little fixated on the anti skid part, but I see it's no
big deal. It's our first boat and we are pretty new to a lot of this.

thanks again
liz
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Old 08-10-2006, 15:46   #7
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Practical Sailor,recent issue thought Woody Wax Was the best for shing up non skid. A friend of ours used it on his boat and it made a big improvement. If used according to the directions, it won't make it slippery, as waxing non skid sounds like an oxymoron


Jim
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Old 08-10-2006, 16:55   #8
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The only way to get into the indentations on antiskid? Is with elbow grease and a good bristle brush.

Most of us use the terms "buffing" and "polishing" interchangeably, but in the auto body business, they are different processes, and different machines to buff vs. polish. Make sure whatever "goo" and wheel you get are really the right one for whichever job you plan to do.
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