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Old 23-05-2022, 13:56   #1
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How to remove “ghost lettering” from old vinyl stickers on gel coat

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I removed old boat name with an eraser wheel and was left with “ghost lettering”. I read that wet sanding and buffing with a cutting compound would get rid of it. I did a test patch that will be covered by the new name.

Why does the gel coat under the old sticker and the newly sanded gel coat look off white and old? I would have thought it’d look newer compared to the exposed gel coat.

Is there a way to blend it? Do I just need to keep sanding?

Thanks
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Old 23-05-2022, 19:22   #2
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Re: How to remove “ghost lettering” from old vinyl stickers on gel coat

Try a heat gun and a razor blade scraper.
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Old 24-05-2022, 03:51   #3
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Re: How to remove “ghost lettering” from old vinyl stickers on gel coat

I already successfully removed all the sticker and residue. The issue is the gel coat is stained. See the linked photos.
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Old 24-05-2022, 03:52   #4
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Re: How to remove “ghost lettering” from old vinyl stickers on gel coat

There are so many shades of white & the original color may have been less white - perhaps now exposed by removing the surface layer. My gelcoat is lighter in color where it has been sun exposed for decades. In part this is why the pros custom color match gelcoat to the part of the hull they are working on.

On the stern, minor imperfections are usually not noticeable once you get the new graphics applied.
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Old 24-05-2022, 06:58   #5
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Re: How to remove “ghost lettering” from old vinyl stickers on gel coat

Bread,


I have done a few like that. Wash and apply the new name in the same place. The new letters trick the eye into not seeing the ghost image of the old name and in about a year the sun will bleach the image away.
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Old 24-05-2022, 07:19   #6
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Re: How to remove “ghost lettering” from old vinyl stickers on gel coat

The ghosting fade of the areas around the old lettering will simply not come out, but cheer up because it will fade over a few years and it is not noticeable from more than a few feet away.
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Old 24-05-2022, 07:22   #7
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Re: How to remove “ghost lettering” from old vinyl stickers on gel coat

Rubbing compound and a lot of elbow grease might help. It did with my boat. But if I looked closely, I could still see the difference in the fading. As mentioned, in time the fading will even out.
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Old 24-05-2022, 07:31   #8
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Re: How to remove “ghost lettering” from old vinyl stickers on gel coat

Wet sand with 600 grit wet/dry using a sanding block or firm foam pad. Compound out sanding scratches. You'll find that gel coat around the old letters has worn away. Under the letters is actually higher than the surrounding areas. Sand it down flat and any ghosting will dissappear.
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Old 24-05-2022, 07:55   #9
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Re: How to remove “ghost lettering” from old vinyl stickers on gel coat

Let the sun and uv do their work, in about 2 years you won't see it.
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Old 24-05-2022, 08:26   #10
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Re: How to remove “ghost lettering” from old vinyl stickers on gel coat

Previous owner of our boat did it with what looks like 80 grit. Not what I'd recommend.

If you can't buff it out, leave it and put the new name over it. It's not the end of the world.
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Old 24-05-2022, 08:36   #11
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Re: How to remove “ghost lettering” from old vinyl stickers on gel coat

The gel coat around the old lettering is faded and under the letters it was protected. The only thing I know to do is to "compound" it removing enough gel to match blend the surrounding area as best as you can. Buy big enough new vinyl letters to cover it!
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Old 24-05-2022, 12:02   #12
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Re: How to remove “ghost lettering” from old vinyl stickers on gel coat

I have used a product named EZ Strip with good results. It is an "all purpose remover." It took 3 applications to remove the previous vinyl lettering. I bought it a Home Depot in MX. It comes in a spray applicator bottle. A product from Canada licensed under "Eco Solutions ltd.
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Old 24-05-2022, 12:56   #13
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Re: How to remove “ghost lettering” from old vinyl stickers on gel coat

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Originally Posted by AnsleyS View Post
Bread,


I have done a few like that. Wash and apply the new name in the same place. The new letters trick the eye into not seeing the ghost image of the old name and in about a year the sun will bleach the image away.
This is the solution I found works best.

Tried buffing/wet sanding and never got good results.

Also, keep in mind, the gelcoat is only about the thickness of a playing card, so if you get too aggressive, you may create a bigger project.

Having done a very minimal amount of gelcoat color matching, there is no such thing as white gelcoat. To make new gelcoat indistinguishable takes a real artist.
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Old 25-05-2022, 00:08   #14
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Re: How to remove “ghost lettering” from old vinyl stickers on gel coat

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Originally Posted by valhalla360 View Post
This is the solution I found works best.

Tried buffing/wet sanding and never got good results.

Also, keep in mind, the gelcoat is only about the thickness of a playing card, so if you get too aggressive, you may create a bigger project.

Having done a very minimal amount of gelcoat color matching, there is no such thing as white gelcoat. To make new gelcoat indistinguishable takes a real artist.
Agree, althoug on the stern of my latest boat I simply painted over the old vinyl stickers and applied the new.

May sound a bit agricultural, but you dont see it.

Im also changing the boot top stripes colour. Just sticking the new adhesive stripes over the top.
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Old 25-05-2022, 05:13   #15
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Re: How to remove “ghost lettering” from old vinyl stickers on gel coat

get bigger letters for the new name
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