What boat owners know well enough is also often the case with other utensils from house and ridges sealed with gelcoat. Soiling, flaked areas or slight cracks mean that the gelcoat needs to be touched up every spring. Extensive repairs are not always necessary.
Mend or repair
Smaller damage to the gelcoat is to be understood as peeling and slight cracks. The gel coat must be repaired if there are cracks or holes reaching down to the glass fiber reinforced substrate. Lighter damage, including weathering, moss and heavy soiling, can be repaired or freshened up.
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Renewing the gelcoat is only necessary if the surface has become porous over a large area and requires at least a uniform removal. In the majority of cases, there was an error in the processing of the gelcoat in the past.
Dust and fat
During the damage analysis, the nature of the damaged areas should first be assessed. Roughened surfaces and surfaces that have become uneven due to peeling can be repaired either by light sanding or by intensive polishing.
When touching up, the focus is on the complete removal of dirt, dust and grease residues. Therefore, in the event of flaking, the damage pattern must be assessed individually and, if in doubt, a comprehensive repair including the cutting open of the areas to be worked on must be carried out. If sanding has become necessary, repainting and polishing the surface is inevitable.
Drying and temperature
The freshly repaired areas where gelcoat and hardener have been applied should be covered with special foil to dry. It must be fixed with adhesive tape at the edges outside the processed areas. If air bubbles form during the drying process, these can be smoothed out.
Whenever a gelcoat is used, a stable temperature in the work room or area as well as in the work materials and tools is important. The ideal temperature for processing gelcoat, hardener and additives is twenty degrees Celsius. An air humidity over seventy percent should be avoided as well as a constant air movement, for example, by draft.Tips & Tricks If you have deviations from the ideal temperature, the humidity or drafts, as can be outdoor when repairing outdoors, pay attention to the changing dry and curing times.