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Old 06-02-2023, 11:23   #1
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Can this gelcoat be recovered?

Lots of this cracking all over the topsides. Can it be saved? What causes it?

I've tried T-cut, no effect. I've tried G3 cutting compound paste, little effect.

I'm wondering if next stage is to try some 1000 wet and dry, followed by 2000 and finish with cutting compound?

Any advice greatly appreciated.
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Old 06-02-2023, 19:07   #2
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Re: Can this gelcoat be recovered?

Gelcoat is not forever. Yours is old and tired. Time for paint.
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Old 06-02-2023, 20:53   #3
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Re: Can this gelcoat be recovered?

I'm thinking that there's something else, other than age, wrong. Gelcoat, even at 20 & 30 yrs. old, below decks, will be really shiny, and not exhibit the cracks shown in the picture posted.

I think you would be well served by drilling a little hole down into the gelcoat. If there's a cored deck underneath it -- of any kind -- moisture has got in, and the gelcoat's been flexing. Gelcoat, being really brittle, those would be stress cracks of some kind, most likely. What drilling the hole down is about it to get to a little bit of the core, and find out if it is dusty dry -- in which case I am joyfully wrong-- or damp, confirming water ingress.

If it is dry, fill the hole with epoxy, and carry out a cosmetic repair; if not, then you have something structural to consider.

If you can do a cosmetic repair, then paint is one option. Most of it is not forever, though, and vulnerable to being chipped and scratched.

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Old 07-02-2023, 01:19   #4
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Re: Can this gelcoat be recovered?

Thank you both for your replies.

For context, the boat is a 1980 Verl 900.

Just to reiterate, my decks are fine, this is in random areas all over the topsides, the area of the hull between the waterline and the decks. There is no core here, the gelcoat is coated over GRP. I shall take some more pictures, some further away for a better perspective next time I visit the boat.

I do not believe they are stress fractures as they appear in random areas, in random shapes and sizes that do no correlate with what I'd expect any stresses would create.

In my limited knowledge, I would guess that it is either thinning of the gelcoat in areas over many years of cutting and polishing and/or a lengthy period (years?) of a lack of attention.
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Old 07-02-2023, 02:08   #5
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Re: Can this gelcoat be recovered?

It is UV degraded gelcoat and the damage is all the way through, so sanding and polishing isnít an option.

For painting over this, a 2-part epoxy primer to stabilize this is key. I like to sand as much of the gelcoat away as is practical because that eliminates much of the cracks. Then an epoxy primer that can be rolled on, like sold by Awlgrip, Interlux etc. Awlgrip 545 is my favorite, but beware that these are very toxic and you need very good ventilation or even do it in the open air and have a cartridge respirator as well. For spraying you need pressure air supplied respiration.

There are many topcoats to choose from; I use Awlgrip because I am familiar with it, but I do recommend a 2-part polyurethane.

Check Jamestown Distributors for product options.
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