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Old 25-09-2010, 22:30   #1
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Oxidized Gelcoat . . . What's Next ? Paint or Polish ?

I bought this boat 3 years ago and the gelcoat was heavily oxidized at that time (model year 2001). The boat has spent its entire life in the Long Island Sound area (40 degrees North). The first season I spent several days compounding and waxing. I used Starbrite Polish with PTEF, which I have used in the past with good results from season to season, and it is well regarded by Practical Sailor. It looked almost like new. Here's a picture from that time:



The compounding/wax didn't hold up well and by the following spring it looked like the following image:



I had read about Poly Glow and decided to give it a try. It was much easier than compounding and waxing. This is what it looked like after using Poly Glow:



The Poly Glow lasted very well the first season (last year). I gave it two more coats at the start of this season as per Poly Glow company directions, and it looked pretty good at that time but didn't hold up well through this entire summer (I think perhaps my surface prep wasn't good enough the first year). You can see what it currently looks like in the following image:



The Poly Glow company has been very pleasant and helpful and they sent me enough Poly Strip (as a no charge courtesy) to remove the coating. Their product seems to hold up better than wax and is easier than compounding, so I could start again with it, but I'm wondering if I should re-think my options. The way I see it there are 3 choices:

1) Bite the bullet and strip it, then paint the boat. It is beginning to seem like painting is inevitable. If I do that, the next question is what paint to use? (I would have to roll and tip -- it's not in my current budget to have it professionally applied.)

2) Strip and wet-sand, then compound/wax again, this time using a harder carnauba wax such as Collinite Paste Wax. Will wet sanding and Collinite make the difference and give me a finish that only needs to be cleaned and waxed each year? Compounding and waxing combined is too much effort to be an annual event. (40 ft. x 3 hulls x 2 sides to each hull = 240 linear feet of topsides.)

3) Re-do the Poly Glow, which definitely holds up better than wax and is easier than wet-sanding and compounding. I think I know how to use Poly Glow better now -- and could probably make it work more successfully than my initial foray with this material.

Would appreciate constructive feedback from others who've "been there -- done that".
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Old 26-09-2010, 13:48   #2
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THe gel coat is thicker than you think.

1000 grit wet sand, use 1 piece for each 3'x3' area, followed by 1550 then 2000 grit.

THen buff with white DuPont compound, wax with your choice.

That should get you 5 years.
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Old 30-09-2010, 11:43   #3
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Experiencs with Poly Glow

I just spent $55.00 to buy 3 bottles of the Poly Glow stripper in order to remove the Poly Glow on my boat (I have already used 1 bottle and some of the product remains). My experience with this product was bad. The Poly Glow turns to an awful grey color and is impossible to remove with anything but their product. They have you coming and going. I have a friend who also has had a similar experience. Cannot recommend this product to anyone.


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Originally Posted by SailFastTri View Post
I bought this boat 3 years ago and the gelcoat was heavily oxidized at that time (model year 2001). The boat has spent its entire life in the Long Island Sound area (40 degrees North). The first season I spent several days compounding and waxing. I used Starbrite Polish with PTEF, which I have used in the past with good results from season to season, and it is well regarded by Practical Sailor. It looked almost like new. Here's a picture from that time:



The compounding/wax didn't hold up well and by the following spring it looked like the following image:



I had read about Poly Glow and decided to give it a try. It was much easier than compounding and waxing. This is what it looked like after using Poly Glow:



The Poly Glow lasted very well the first season (last year). I gave it two more coats at the start of this season as per Poly Glow company directions, and it looked pretty good at that time but didn't hold up well through this entire summer (I think perhaps my surface prep wasn't good enough the first year). You can see what it currently looks like in the following image:



The Poly Glow company has been very pleasant and helpful and they sent me enough Poly Strip (as a no charge courtesy) to remove the coating. Their product seems to hold up better than wax and is easier than compounding, so I could start again with it, but I'm wondering if I should re-think my options. The way I see it there are 3 choices:

1) Bite the bullet and strip it, then paint the boat. It is beginning to seem like painting is inevitable. If I do that, the next question is what paint to use? (I would have to roll and tip -- it's not in my current budget to have it professionally applied.)

2) Strip and wet-sand, then compound/wax again, this time using a harder carnauba wax such as Collinite Paste Wax. Will wet sanding and Collinite make the difference and give me a finish that only needs to be cleaned and waxed each year? Compounding and waxing combined is too much effort to be an annual event. (40 ft. x 3 hulls x 2 sides to each hull = 240 linear feet of topsides.)

3) Re-do the Poly Glow, which definitely holds up better than wax and is easier than wet-sanding and compounding. I think I know how to use Poly Glow better now -- and could probably make it work more successfully than my initial foray with this material.

Would appreciate constructive feedback from others who've "been there -- done that".
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Old 30-09-2010, 13:13   #4
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Down here at 24 degrees N, I've found no "polish" or wax that lasts long. Even compounding to a gloss and waxing only yields limited results. I fear "Happy Days" has some Awlgrip in her near future!
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Old 30-09-2010, 14:18   #5
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My boat is 41 feet and was is seriously oxidized. I made some half hearted attempts to polish and wax but tried polyglow instead. I was pretty happy at first. But this season the polyglow (after 4 seasons) has stained and needs to be removed which I experimented with last week. Looks fairly painless to get off. So all in all to coat and remove after a few seasons is probably less work and less cost than either polish and wax or repaint. Not as good as polish and wax but acceptable. I think the results you got from polyglow are just one of the trade offs.
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Old 30-09-2010, 14:39   #6
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Wet sand the boat by hand 1000 grit paper, (No need to go to higher, grits). With a high quality buffer and either a high quality white wool cutting pad or a high quality foam pad polih with 3m super duty polishing compound, follow up with a different foam pad and Mcguires Diomond Cut polishing compound, finish with a good high qualiy wax.

The key to longjevity on dark colored gels is to wax a couple of times per season to deal with the uv rays. Personally if this is a newer boat I would never paint, the gel is much tougher than any paint. If you decide you want to use this meathod I will look in my shop for the specific brand names and colors (Grits) of the foam pads I use on my Makita polisher. Usually a pro boat detailer can do the work for a reasonable price.
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Old 30-09-2010, 14:45   #7
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If you paint--

I've had good luck with Brightsides (Interlux). Just be sure to thin it to the right consistency. Too thick and it dries too fast or sags. Too thin, and it dries too slowly and sags.

Oh, and pick a day when it's between 72 and 74 degrees outside.

3 and 4 knots of breeze, no bugs, dust or pollen.

Use thin foam roller-pads and a foam brush-- the smaller brush marks don't look as bad after they sag.

After you're done, get a new prescription for your glasses that's 2-3 diopters short of what you should really have, and you'll love the results!

"Repaint! And thin no more."

--Roland Tipper

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Old 30-09-2010, 15:56   #8
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Once a year I use 3M restorer wax with a electric buffer followed by a hand coat of Meguiars Tech Wax 2.0 for cars. Yes for cars I get it at Autozone for about 18 bucks a can. This holds up well for a year in NC. My gelcoat looks great and it is 30 years old! Paint and you will have to baby your girl and scratches are hard to fix and look good 2 years later even with Awlgrip.

Wax on Wax off
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Old 01-10-2010, 06:37   #9
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Here is a post from another site with step by step instruction on how to treat gel coat.
Tips For A Great Buff Wax - SailboatOwners.com
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Old 10-04-2011, 05:11   #10
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Re: Oxidized Gelcoat . . . What's Next ? Paint or Polish ?

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Originally Posted by S/V_Surya View Post
Here is a post from another site with step by step instruction on how to treat gel coat.
Tips For A Great Buff Wax - SailboatOwners.com
I decided to follow Maine Sail's "how-to" article in your link. I bought his recommended products and started removing the PoliGlow yesterday. The Poli Strip makes it easy. DO NOT try to strip PoliGlow using the PoliPrep (as they recommend in the instructions). The PoliPrep melts it but you'll just be pushing it around on the surface and it's way too much work (and a waste of time). The PoliStrip is good... I found yesterday that a can of PoliStrip strips about 90 square feet of surface (30x3).

Will start compounding today on the stripped portions. Looking forward to a shiny boat again.
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Old 10-04-2011, 06:33   #11
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I'm with Capngeo

I'm at 18N nothing works, other than yourself, and your doing it again in six months. It will be paint for me.

As to your question on which paint to use. At my home yacht club, 49N,a fellow racer showed up in the spring with his old race boat with a new colour. Looked fantastic and a colour I hadn't seen before. I asked him what brand of marine paint he used and he told me it was an automotive epoxy, half the price same durability. That was 7 years ago. I saw it last summer and it looked to be in great shape.

Cheers
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Old 10-04-2011, 06:57   #12
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Re: Oxidized Gelcoat . . . What's Next ? Paint or Polish ?

Folks,

I suffered through the annual wash, compound and wax routine on Aurelia for fifteen years, requiring a full eight hours each season. in 2007, I rolled and tipped the topsides with Sterling LP. My spring topside prep is now simply a wash with soap and water, taking only 20 minutes. Painting every five or ten years is a lot less work that compounding and waxing every year.

Cheers,
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Old 10-04-2011, 08:17   #13
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We love Poli Glow - always incredible great results

"3) Re-do the Poly Glow, which definitely holds up better than wax and is easier than wet-sanding and compounding. I think I know how to use Poly Glow better now -- and could probably make it work more successfully than my initial foray with this material."

Me thinks you hit it square on the head with that statement - "I think I now know how to use Poli Glow"

We have used Poli Glow for many years, and have always been proud of the results. If you don't follow the instructions exactly, you are going to have a problem in the long run. Proper prep (absolutely no wax), proper temperature, proper application technique etc. all make for a incredible finish.

Our boat is 38 years old, and just look at her appearance!
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Old 10-04-2011, 09:11   #14
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Re: Oxidized Gelcoat . . . What's Next ? Paint or Polish ?

My last boat, a Morgan 32, had a badly oxidized hull. After three tries, in succession, to compound it off with a power buffer all I had was tennis elbow. I wet sanded it with 1000 grit sandpaper and THEN buffed and waxed. Turned out great. Six months later my tennis elbow finally faded away. As some one mentioned above, gelcoat is pretty tough stuff. I commonly start with 320 grit, pushing hard, and work down to 600 grit before getting to buffing compound so 1000 will only remove a tiny bit of the most oxidized surface.

Rich
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Old 10-04-2011, 15:25   #15
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Re: Oxidized Gelcoat . . . What's Next ? Paint or Polish ?

Today I compounded and waxed. Major progress -- but not finished.

Before



After
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