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-   -   DIY Gelcoat Repair (http://www.wakeworld.com/forum/showthread.php?t=674757)

grant_west 03-01-2009 10:50 PM

DIY Gelcoat Repair
I got some nicks and scratches that need to go. This is my first try at gell coat repair. Here are some pick's of what I have done so far. Like I said first time @ it so if you have any advice <BR> <BR>I got the direct color gell from spectrum. They have all major brands of gell in factory colors. You can buy it in liqued (for spraying) or gell (for chip's and holes) I got the gell. <BR><img src="http://www.wakeworld.com/MB/Discus/messages/65921/674758.jpg" alt="Upload"> <BR><img src="http://www.wakeworld.com/MB/Discus/messages/65921/674759.jpg" alt="Upload"> <BR>This is the chip I was gonna fill. <BR><img src="http://www.wakeworld.com/MB/Discus/messages/65921/674760.jpg" alt="Upload"> <BR>First things first. I got a space heater and got the garage nice and warm. <BR><img src="http://www.wakeworld.com/MB/Discus/messages/65921/674761.jpg" alt="Upload"> <BR>Then I prepped the aera with Acetone <BR><img src="http://www.wakeworld.com/MB/Discus/messages/65921/674762.jpg" alt="Upload"> <BR>Tape off the aera <BR><img src="http://www.wakeworld.com/MB/Discus/messages/65921/674763.jpg" alt="Upload"> <BR>Take a dremel and clean out the aera to be filled. The gell will have a better aera to stick to. <BR> <img src="http://www.wakeworld.com/MB/Discus/messages/65921/674764.jpg" alt="Upload"> <BR>I filled the chip with gell and coved it with packing tape and then sanded it with 220 and then 400. The chip is VERY hard to see. went all around the boat and filled every deep scratch and or chip. <BR><img src="http://www.wakeworld.com/MB/Discus/messages/65921/674765.jpg" alt="Upload"> <BR><img src="http://www.wakeworld.com/MB/Discus/messages/65921/674766.jpg" alt="Upload">

grant_west 03-01-2009 10:55 PM

This is the first repair aera after 220 and 400. <BR><img src="http://www.wakeworld.com/MB/Discus/messages/65921/674769.jpg" alt="Upload"> <BR>The last picture above is holes that I filled. This is at the back of the boat below the water line where the orignal peedo tubes went into the boat. With the new Perfict Pass paddle wheel I don't need the orignal peedo tubes so I took them out. I figured this would be a great place to start and learn how to do it. That way if I messed up no one would see the repair.

grant_west 03-01-2009 10:58 PM

Filling the holes at the back of the boat. <BR><img src="http://www.wakeworld.com/MB/Discus/messages/65921/674773.jpg" alt="Upload"> <BR><img src="http://www.wakeworld.com/MB/Discus/messages/65921/674774.jpg" alt="Upload">

peter_c 03-01-2009 11:11 PM

I really like your no fear attitude of DIY projects <IMG SRC="http://www.wakeworld.com/MB/Discus/clipart/happy.gif" ALT=":-)" BORDER=0> Nothing like taking a grinder to your gel coat. Even more fun to drill holes in it though for the PP and other accessories.

grant_west 03-01-2009 11:21 PM

Yea that's the WORST part you have a tiny chip and your supposed to widen it so the gell stick's. Nothing like fixing a small chip by making a gash your finish. 2 steps backwards to go 1 step forward LOL. <BR>The holes in the back of the boat were there from the factory. When I got new digtal dash gauges they read speed from the Perfict pass wheel. So I took off the plastic peedo tubes and thoes holes were what was left behind.

my_malibu 03-02-2009 12:05 AM

damn west takes wet sanding to a new level <BR>going to hit the patch with 1500 and 200 then polish?

svoruz 03-02-2009 6:10 AM

Nice work. I have a foot long scratch down the side of the hull. It's not deep, but it's very noticeable. Do I need to make the valley of the scratch deeper so that the gel coat could have something to hold on to? And how do I do that? Grinder?

grant_west 03-02-2009 6:53 AM

Scott: quick answer IMO NO you don't. After I finished the sequencing trailer lights I launched my boat to test out the lights. The lake this time of the year is so low I have to launch where my trailer was st such a angle that my trailer guide pad floated off. I decided to load my boat with out the trailer guide pad. BAD IDEA. I put the same type of scratch down the side of my boat in about 4 spots. The scratches were just deep enough that if I wet sanded them out I think you would see the low spot's in the reflection. I decided to put the gell in the scratch aera to fill the low spot's so to answer your question I would say No just clean out the scratch aera with Acetone. Fill the scratch and then sand away the extra. Sand and polish the entire aera. That way you wont risk sanding threw your orignal color trying to get down to removing the scratch. thats what Im doing in photo #8

bjeremi 03-02-2009 7:46 AM

Man you do good work. How much for the repair gel?

trevorg7 03-02-2009 7:54 AM

Grant - You do great work. <BR> <BR>I've wondered if there is a waiting list to buy your boat once your done with it? Someone is going to get a well sorted boat. <BR> <BR>T

grant_west 03-02-2009 8:39 AM

Trevor: Owning a boat you have 3 options #1 You have to have deep pockets to keep up with all the dammage you collect and pay some one to fix it all. #2 You just don't worry about it and fix what you can and try to keep your boat as nice as you can. #3 Roll up your sleeves and get after it. IMO stuff happens you can either drive yourself crazy and walk in and around your boat on egg shells and TRY to keep it free of dammage and even then it still happens. I was like that the first years of owning a boat. Each time I took it out and returned it with out dammage it was like a huge weight off the chest. When stuff started happining and it didn't get fixed and I would have to look at it stressed me out. I found if I just used my boat how ever I like and didn't worry about all the stuff that would happen and just fixed it later I had a much better time with my boat. I can't say I wasn't pissed and didn't fly off the handle when the weekend after I re carpeted my boat some A hole's cigrette from 3 boats away in a tie up burned a hole in my new carpet. Your boats never gonna stay in tip top shape unless you get busy.

mendo247 03-02-2009 10:10 AM

That harry looking! Nice work!

david_e_m 03-02-2009 2:22 PM

Is there anything that Grant can't do ...exceptionally well? <BR> <BR>David E.M.

bjeremi 03-02-2009 2:52 PM

Answered my own question, seems to be about $22 for the patch kit. Was there enough in one to do all of your repairs? Now I just have to figure out if my supra is white or cream <img src="http://www.wakeworld.com/MB/Discus/clipart/happy.gif" border=0>

grant_west 03-02-2009 3:34 PM

J. There is plenty of gell to do lots of small repairs. The thing is the "instructions say mix 1/2 of the gell in the container with 10 to 12 drops of MEKP (hardner) So you only get 2 batches of gell for the small container in the first picture. <BR> <BR>If you could figure out how to mix it in smaller 1/4 oz quanitys I could easy see you getting 4 batches out of a small container. I just didn't want to try and guess and have the wrong amount of gell or to much hardener. To much hardner will cause pin holes or air bubbles in the gell. <BR>I figured the $25 bucks I payed for the container was cheep if I only need'd to do it once. Truth is this seem's to be a very easy project. If you buy color matched gell the hard work is done. Im not done so im knocking on wood. But it would seem as if im close. I have sanded and polished the boat before and know what Im doing there. The stuff I had no idea about Im pretty much done with it. I would say if you know how to sand and polish then the gell repair is easy your golden. Pretty easy project. <BR> <BR>If anything I messed up on is I used to much gell because I thought it would shrink a bunch <BR>i could have saved a bunch of time and material if I wouldnt have put so much gell on each patch. You only need a tiny bit above the repair aera to account for shrinkage

wakeeater2003 03-02-2009 3:38 PM

"Is there anything that Grant can't do ...exceptionally well?" <BR> <BR>Spell or use proper grammar. Sorry Grant, I had to answer the question. Boat looks good!!! Almost Summer!

grant_west 03-02-2009 3:41 PM

LOL: True that Mike.

jmanolinsky 03-02-2009 6:44 PM

LMAO.......er, sorry! <BR> <BR>Great job, I can't wait to see the finished pictures. I patched some chips in my gell with Marine Tex. The sanding and polishing is the hard part. <BR> <BR>Jman

bill 03-03-2009 5:18 AM

nice job but you didnt just wrap the hull in Carbon fiber ? ;)

nauty 03-03-2009 6:45 AM

Grant, did I understand correctly that after applying the gel you put tape over the repair, let it harden, and then sand the tape off? I have a couple of spots that I need to fix, so any advice would be appreciated.

grant_west 03-03-2009 7:14 AM

Richard: I put the packing tape over the wet gell. <BR>This way you can spread the gell and make a smooth surface. You don't need to do it. But I do think it drys a bit faster/harder. You will need to remove the tape and then wipe the repair aera with acetone. <BR>As the gell drys it remains sticky. Putting the acetone on the repair aera will make it not sticky and will allow you to sand it with out the sand paper getting clogged. <BR> <BR>IMO you should start with a small repair aera. Then when you sand with your first grit 220 the aera gets larger as you go up in grit's over lapping the edge you dont wanna get to close to a rub rail and end up against it. <BR><img src="http://www.wakeworld.com/MB/Discus/messages/65921/675089.jpg" alt="Upload">

nauty 03-03-2009 7:23 AM


denverd1 03-03-2009 7:47 AM

grant, looks great! Nice details and pics. Of course, nice work as well.

pierce_bronkite 03-03-2009 8:11 AM

I wish I had those type of skills. <BR> <BR>I only got skills like computer hacking, nunchuck skills and bow hunting skills.

murphy_smith 03-03-2009 9:00 AM

Grant, are you saying that once dry...you removed the packing tape and wiped with acetone...and then went on to sand. <BR> <BR>I used spectrum about six months ago but the color match was off. There is a company called gel-coat products in Seattle that will do a custom match that you send them for about a $100 with paste and or gel coat.

helinut 03-03-2009 9:30 AM

Hey Grant, <BR> <BR>Are you saying that after you used 400 grit paper that the picture above was the finished product? Or did you hit it with even finer paper? From your pictures I'm not seeing what I would consider a "final" product. <BR> <BR>Of course I could be wrong... <IMG SRC="http://www.wakeworld.com/MB/Discus/clipart/happy.gif" ALT=":-)" BORDER=0>

bulletlines 03-03-2009 9:46 AM

Nice work Grant. <BR> <BR>I'm sure the finishing steps vary..Here in Central Texas there is only really 1 true gel coat shop that all the Austin and San Antonio dealers use: and I got the following from them.. <BR> <BR>They sand with 400, then wet sand with 600 and 1000, use medium rubbing compound or Finesse It, and then use Nu Finish as the wax, polish, and sealer.. <BR> <BR>Thanks, <BR> <BR>Ken Land <BR>Bullet Lines <BR><a href="http://www.bulletlines.com" target="_blank">www.bulletlines.com</a>

grant_west 03-03-2009 10:06 AM

Yes Im not done. The last picture was with 400 grit. Ill finish it this weekend. <BR> <BR>This is how it should go. <BR>1.Acetone aera. <BR>2.Tape off. <BR>3.Sand or Channel out scratch aera. <BR>4.Acetone aera <BR>6.Apply gell <BR>7.Packing tape (not required) <BR>8.Let dry 4-6 hrs depending on how warm your aera is <BR>9.Remove packing tape <BR>10. Sand with 220,400,600,1000, 3m-Finesse it, ect <BR> <BR>For tips on polishing <BR><a href="http://www.wakeworld.com/MB/Discus/messages/65921/282492.html" target="_blank">http://www.wakeworld.com/MB/Discus/messages/65921/282492.html</a>

tuneman 03-03-2009 10:55 AM

Nice work, Grant. I definitely recommend the packing tape over the top. It cures better that way. <BR> <BR>A caution to do-it-yourselfers when repairing larger areas. Over time (1-2 years) it's likely that you'll see your repair. It's because you're curing the gelcoat the opposite way that the original was cured. Covering with tape helps this.

spherren 03-03-2009 12:41 PM

Tuneman, does that mean that mine will show up in 2 years. My dealer is repairing about 14 different cracks in the gell coat where the windsheild was drilled under warranty. Will they reappear?

tuneman 03-03-2009 1:23 PM

No, the cracks will not likely reappear, as long as the repair is done correctly. I'm talking about a slight variance of color over time, due to several variables. If the repairs are on white or a very light color, it's not likely that you'll ever see them. Darker colors are more difficult.

spherren 03-03-2009 1:39 PM


wstr01 03-03-2009 2:01 PM

Ok, I'm gonna try this. I have a few small dings to patch. If I blow it I can always get it done by a professional (or take it to Grants house). <BR> <BR>The only thing I'm not real clear on is when to remove the tape? While it's drying or after it's dry? <BR> <BR>Great how too BTW.

bulletlines 03-03-2009 2:03 PM

Grant, <BR> <BR>You may know the answer to this.. Let me know.. <BR> <BR>Gel Coat shops cover the repaired area with something for the gel to cure: very similar to what you did with the masking tape.. However, some of the shops use a spray on film that hardens, allows the gel to cure, and then the film is wiped off with a sponge and water: What is this spray on film called? <BR> <BR>Thanks, <BR> <BR>Ken

murphy_smith 03-03-2009 3:04 PM

Ken, <BR> <BR>What you are referring to is PVA (poly vinyl alcohol) which you can spray or brush onto the new gel.

grant_west 03-03-2009 3:09 PM

Knee Brace Boy: <BR>7. Apply Packing tape <BR>8. Let dry 4-6 hrs depending on how warm your aera is <BR>9.Remove packing tape <BR> <BR>Yes you remove the packing tape after the gell is hard. This takes 4-6 hrs. Im sure if its 80 degrees out and your boats in the sun its much faster

wstr01 03-04-2009 6:18 AM

Duh. Geezo. I totally missed 8 and 9. I need to stop skimming over instructions. Comes from my youth when I would get a model car to build and toss the instructions right after opening the box......... <BR> <BR>Thanks.

murphy_smith 03-06-2009 8:12 AM

Grant, what tool did you use to spread the paste?

phil2302 03-06-2009 9:38 AM

Wow,nice work, Thanks for the info. <BR> I have recently purchased some gel-paste from spectrum and will be attempting the same type repair. <BR>Question: <BR>The tape you are applying over the wet/uncured gel is ordinary clear packing tape? <BR>Isnt there any potential for the newly applied gelcoat to be pulled off the repair when the tape is removed after gel has cured? <BR>Also, Anybody know if gelcoat adheres well to repairs done with Marine-tex? <BR>Thanks for taking the time to post this repair of yours!!

salty87 03-06-2009 12:45 PM

i've never tried but marine tex says gel coats don't adhere well

murphy_smith 03-06-2009 12:50 PM

Marine tex is an epoxy...gel coat is a polyester based product <BR> <BR>Poly don't stick to epoxy very well. <BR> <BR>Instead of marine-tex. Use Evercoat formula 27.

wakebrdr38 03-06-2009 1:12 PM

did mine about a year ago and it did pretty well. Close enough match seeing as it isnt in a real noticable area. I got a big one to do now though, is the chine the area where the side meets the bottom. My trailer has somehow hit that many times and has removed that edge right next to where the fenders are on the trailer. Dont know how hard its going to be to do those edges

saceone 03-06-2009 1:20 PM

can't wait to see more pics! <BR> <BR>keep it up

wakeshoe 03-06-2009 1:44 PM

Grant, <BR>Don't mean to be a puss, but when you write "aera" you are meaning "area" aren't you? For some reason my eyes can't seem to deal with aera.

phil2302 03-07-2009 9:28 AM

Quote "Marine tex is an epoxy...gel coat is a polyester based product <BR> <BR>Poly don't stick to epoxy very well. <BR> <BR>Instead of marine-tex. Use Evercoat formula 27" <BR> <BR>OUCH...I fixed the crunch with marine tex figuring I could then coat the marine tex repair with Spectrum gel coat. Guess I will have chisel out the Marine tex and redo with Evercoat formula 27. <BR>Gel will def adhere to this? <BR>Thank you Murphy

brianbass 03-08-2009 9:08 AM

Grant, was that the chip from you dropping the Corona on your front bow on purpose? Hahahaaa not funny. I yelled at you even though it is your boat. If I would have known you were doing a gel coat project, I would have had alot more fun in your boat last summer <img src="http://www.wakeworld.com/MB/Discus/clipart/lol.gif" border=0> It looks good. Ready to take it out and BUMP that shiot <a href="http://www.DJBrianBASS.com" target="_blank">www.DJBrianBASS.com</a> <BR> <BR>(Message edited by brianbass on March 08, 2009)

grant_west 03-15-2009 4:34 PM

I had a chance to finish up what I started and I have to say Im happy with how it came out. The spots on the deck were the ones I wanted to come out the best so you wouldn't see the repair. I would say people with a bit of skill would have no problem fixing most small repairs <BR><b>this is a shot of the first repair outside in the sun out in direct sun light it is almost impossable to see the repair</b> <BR><img src="http://www.wakeworld.com/MB/Discus/messages/65921/678461.jpg" alt="Upload"> <BR> <BR><b>This is the back of the boat where I filled 4 holes.</b> <BR><img src="http://www.wakeworld.com/MB/Discus/messages/65921/678462.jpg" alt="Upload"> <BR> <BR><b>This is the side of the bpat where I had like 4 pretty deep scratches down the side</b> <BR><img src="http://www.wakeworld.com/MB/Discus/messages/65921/678463.jpg" alt="Upload"> <BR> <BR><b>This is the deck where I had a chip</b> <BR><img src="http://www.wakeworld.com/MB/Discus/messages/65921/678464.jpg" alt="Upload"> <BR><img src="http://www.wakeworld.com/MB/Discus/messages/65921/678465.jpg" alt="Upload"> <BR><img src="http://www.wakeworld.com/MB/Discus/messages/65921/678466.jpg" alt="Upload"> <BR> <BR>In my garage under lots of floursent light if you know where to look you can see where the New gell starts and stop's. When taking the picks I had to look for a few min's to find the repair aera. <BR> <BR>A quick review. <BR>After the gell is set. <BR>Tape off a small square around the repair aera. <BR>And the repair aera with 220. <BR>Remove the tape and make a larger square with tape. Sand with 400. <BR>Remove tape and make a larger square and sand with 600. <BR>Remove tape and make a larger square with tape and sand with 800. <BR>Remove tape and sand with 1000 then 1500 <BR>3M Rubbing compound then 3M "Finess it" 3M hand glaze. Then Wax it. Done

texastbird 03-15-2009 4:47 PM

?Hard to argue with results. Very nice!

kko13 03-15-2009 6:56 PM

[IMG] <BR>i bought my boat as a fixer upper. and used some of grants trix on the back transom as it was in desperate need of help. the first pic was when i first got it and it go way worse before i found the time to fix it. <BR> <BR><a href="http://i218.photobucket.com/albums/cc100/kkotige/o322v005.jpg" target="_blank">http://i218.photobucket.com/albums/cc100/kkotige/o322v005.jpg</a>[/IMG <BR>this pic is after 1000 grit wet sand,3M compound,3M finess-it #2,then a coat of wax. <BR>[IMG]<a href="http://i218.photobucket.com/albums/cc100/kkotige/DSC02646.jpg" target="_blank">http://i218.photobucket.com/albums/cc100/kkotige/DSC02646.jpg</a>[/IMG] <BR>It was not as tuff as i thought it was going to be.i have never wet sand or used a buffer b4 so i was a little concerned.But at the end of it all im real happy with the results.

ottog1979 03-15-2009 8:04 PM

Grant, <BR> <BR>Awesome work! What are you using as a buffer? You don't do this all by hand do you?

grant_west 03-15-2009 8:28 PM

<img src="http://www.wakeworld.com/MB/Discus/messages/65921/678567.jpg" alt="Upload"> <BR>I use a Makita for large spots. I used a small air driven polisher for all the work in the picks.

scottieb 03-15-2009 9:10 PM

Grant, <BR> <BR>Very nice! Thanks for sharing. <BR> <BR>Was the wet sanding done by hand or with the Makita? I need to wet sand my entire boat (recent purchase) to remove years of oxidation and am hoping to save my hands some hard labor.

newty 03-16-2009 6:14 AM

That is seriously encouraging for the do-it-yourselfer. <BR>Thanks for the step by step. As always nice work, I love your attention to detail!!

bchesley 03-16-2009 6:52 AM

Grant I am so disappointed in you. Those plat form brackets need some love.

h2oproaccessories 03-16-2009 7:24 AM

-hats off- good job!

saceone 03-16-2009 7:57 AM

good job grant! keep it up

epic1 05-05-2011 10:43 PM

Grant, you need a job that requires you more, or grand kids or something. You make me feel soooo lazy. Thanks for the tips, gel coat repair is my next step. Looks too easy when you do it. So jealous. Let the haters hate.

Houstonshark 01-27-2013 12:20 PM

Sorry to revive an old thread but I have a question. Grant, for sanding, did you sand everything by hand or did you use any sort of orbital or palm sander? I'm guessing on the flat areas you block sanded right?

I repaired some areas under the bow of my boat last night. I ran out of time and forgot to apply the packing tape. It will be at least another week before I can get back to work on the boat an sand it. Is there any issue with letting it sit this long before sanding?

Iceberg 01-27-2013 5:26 PM

It should skin over and cure, the plastic or spray is used so it cures properly at the surface. If you put extra on, it should work out, especially if you leave it for a long time. It will probably just be harder to sand, ot that gel-coat is that hard. Use a block to knock down the high points. If you use a power sander, be very careful and look often. Also, wet sand only. The orbital will come in handy when you are using cutting polish and wax.

brycejb328 03-27-2015 6:57 AM

I saw you post this link in a current thread. I just wanted ask, now that its been quite some time since the repair, have any shadows or "ghosting" popped up around the repairs? or has the color remained relatively consistent between the repair and the existing gel?

grant_west 03-27-2015 7:51 AM

Bryce the tepair still looks great I have no way of knowing where the repairs in the deck used to be but I know where the pedo tubes used to be ill take and post a pic of what it looks like currently. But the repairs have stood the test of time

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