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WakeWorld Discussion Board » >> Boats, Accessories & Tow Vehicles Archive » Archive through February 10, 2003 » Gelcoat Repair Guidelines... « Previous Next »
By John Klein (jklein) on Friday, January 03, 2003 - 9:00 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Hi All and Happy New Year:

It's been a while since I've posted here. Been busy.

Anyway, I've got a pretty minor 6 inch dock scar on the colored part of my Malibu. It's not too deep. I went to the dealer to get it fixed and when he told me it was going to cost 600 bucks, I bailed.

Subsequent to that, I ordered the color matched gelcoat from the supplier to Malibu. I was going to try and fix the problem this weekend. I've fixed minor stuff below the water line before, but never something in such a high profile spot on the boat. The two approaches seem to be:

1. Thin it out and spray it on.
2. Spackle it on and sand it.

Anyone done #2 with professional results?


By swass (swass) on Friday, January 03, 2003 - 9:09 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Yes, but it takes time and patience.

Fill the scratch, making sure to leave extra material. Sand the area using a sanding block. If you try using your hand only, you'll likely end up with ripples in the gel. Start with about 350 grit WET paper, and work your way up to about 600. When you are done sanding, buff the area with polishing compound.

By Chris Foye (wakejunky) on Friday, January 03, 2003 - 9:48 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
You might actually have to go to higher grit sand paper to really get the scratches out. Go to Tap Plastics or an automotive paint store and get 1000 or 1200 grit wet sand paper and then wet sand the final sanding. Then you'll get a mirror finish.

get the grip you deserve

also for sale

By Rick H (blastmaster) on Friday, January 03, 2003 - 11:02 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Chris is right 1200-1500 is way better.
By Tim Day (sunsetterlxi) on Friday, January 03, 2003 - 12:10 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
600 bucks, eh? I also have "scars" from some people who like to bang their board against the transom. I was thinking of having them fixed, but I was thinking of trying to fix them myself. Where did you find the color matched gel-coat? I had bought one of those 10 dollar kits from West Marine and could not even get the color close, so I didn't fix them. Your Sunsetter looks identical to my LXi color wise so any help would be appreciated.


By Phaeton (phaeton) on Friday, January 03, 2003 - 12:56 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
After rough sanding for the best results cross sand starting with 1000-1200 I would go to at least 2000. I go 1000, 1200, 1500, 2000, and finish with 3000. You barely touch it with a buffer and it's shiny.
By swass (swass) on Friday, January 03, 2003 - 1:03 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
No wonder it took me 2 hours to buff.
By John Klein (jklein) on Saturday, January 04, 2003 - 8:40 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Thanks everyone. I've read some articles about it and I've done some automotive painting before, so I'm familiar with wet sanding with a block.

Tim: I called Malibu and they gave me the name and number of thier supplier. Remember that the shelf life of the gel coat is about 3 months when kept in the refrigerator. Shorter if kept at room temperature.

Thanks again.

By Matt Dettman (matt_dettman) on Sunday, January 05, 2003 - 1:13 am:    Edit Post Delete Post

Minor scratches from boards banging into the transom should wetsand and buff out without having to put on any gelcoat.

Also, those transom savers that are out on the market are very effective!


By John Klein (jklein) on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 11:37 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
It worked out ok. Was pretty simple to do. The color match isn't perfect, but it's very close. I'm pretty happy with the results.

Thanks for your input.

By swass (swass) on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 11:37 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
What grit paper did you use?
By CBrown (powdrhound) on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 1:53 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Hey I've got a similar problem but have never repaired gelcoat before. Ive got about a six inch scar down near the chine. I have repaired a rusty old ute and have repaired dings in a surfboard so is it the same concept i.e. fill the hole, let it set, sand it back and respray it. I'm not sure what you guys mean by wet sanding either ???
By CBrown (powdrhound) on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 1:58 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
also will i cause any additional problems if I take the boat out again before its repaired??
By John Klein (jklein) on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 3:00 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post

I actually had to fix it twice. The first time I didn't sand it down enough and the new gel was so thin, you could see the scratch right through the new gelcoat.

So I sanded it down more with 300 wet(actually to the glass) then applied the new coat.

I worked the new coat down with 300 wet on a block. When it was pretty close I switched to 600 wet, then finished with 1500 wet. Finally I buffed it with Meguires color restorer, and waxed.

CBrown: wet sanding means to get wet/dry sand paper as they use in automotive finishing applications and wet the paper and the surface washing out the paper often as well as rinsing the surface often.

By CBrown (powdrhound) on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 6:41 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
how long did it take you to fix all up ?
By swass (swass) on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 - 5:47 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
CB, is the gash down to the glass? If so, I'd fix it soon. The glass will start to absorb water if you leave it.

I hate that. Even if you buy an OEM repair kit, the color still doesn't match exactly.

By james mccallum (jmccallum) on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 - 6:06 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Be careful you don't sand the original gelcoat too much. There is usually porosity in the the original gelcoat because it was sprayed into the mold. If you expose it, any polishing compound will fill in the voids. The compound I used was orange and the gelcoat was white!

When I worked at Performance Sailcraft we mixed the gelcaot with cabo-sil to thicken it, then apply it so that it just bulges a bit to account for shrinkage, and wet sand it with a block until you just reached the original gelcoat.

Oh and matching colours is tough. We were repairing boats 100' down the line from the sprayers and layup crew. So we got the SAME gelcoat batches and still a good eye could see the difference.

By John Klein (jklein) on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 - 12:38 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
I fixed three spots all at the same time. One was an 8 inch scratch, one was a little 1 inch scratch and the other was a small chip where I dropped a tool on it trying to get my tower off the boat.

I probably could have completed the entire job in about 4 hours (including 2 hours of dry time), but since I had to do the one 8 inch scratch twice, it took me about 6 hours.

By Rob Wilgus (robw) on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 - 12:50 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
This site has a nice article about gelcoat repair, written by a Malibu employee...

By CBrown (powdrhound) on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 - 2:07 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Its right down beside the chine, its definitely not down to the glas and I'm pretty blind so the colour match well close enough will do. I have a friend who offered to do it for me :-) as he's done his boat before but he's talking about using resin to fix it.
any thoughts on this....
cheers for the article too

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