If the gelcoat, which is actually very hard and resistant, should suffer damage, it can be compared to a break in the lacquer layer. In order to repair cracks, chipping or holes, they first need to be enlarged. Another common reason for a repair is osmosis blistering.
Cracks, holes and chips
After a few years, hairline cracks can appear in the gelcoat layer, which in most cases form on the edges. Another typical reason for repairs is chipping, for example in the case of patio furniture. When bumping into or stacking, the gelcoat can be damaged by hard blows.
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Gelcoat repairs are usually done for visual reasons, as neither the damaged areas nor the underlying plastic have suffered any functional damage. Gelcoats usually consist of colors from the RAL scale.
Color matching with and without RAL
When touching up the gelcoat, choosing the right color is important for the result of the repair. In the case of transparent gelcoat, the repair is also carried out with transparent varnish. In the case of a colored gelcoat and a colored background, the existing paintwork decides on the color selection.
If both the surface and the gelcoat are the same RAL color, the same color can be used for repairs without hesitation. By later polishing the gelcoat, the repaired areas adapt to the remaining areas.
If the underlying fiberglass and gelcoat are different colors, a surface will need to be sanded out of a crack or hole in the gelcoat when repairing. In this way, the repair gelcoat is given the opportunity to cover it in the same way as the existing paintwork.
How to fix gelcoat
- Repair set with hardener
- Possibly tinting color paste
- Masking tape
- Cutter or box cutter
- 400 grit sandpaper
- Polishing machine
- Respiratory and eye protection
Apply masking tape in a rectangle around the areas that you want to repair. The taped inner edges of the crepe should be one to two millimeters away from the area to which the new gelcoat is being applied.
2. To cut
Make a V-shaped cut on the two edges of a tear. If it's a hole, cut the edge of the hole around at a 45-degree angle. Osmotic bubbles must also be cut open. The depth of the cut should be equal to the thickness of the layer of varnish.
Sand out the area within the cut edges. For small or narrow surfaces, you can stretch the sandpaper by hand over the spatula handle, for example. You can sand off any flaking off. If the flaking reaches the plastic underneath, cut the edges as under 1. explained. Wipe off the sanding dust.
Wear eye and respiratory protection and fill the exposed areas in several layers according to the manufacturer's instructions.
After hardening, remove the masking tape and polish the repaired area and the old area around it with an overhang of around five centimeters.Tips & Tricks When repairing, be careful not to expose any optical fibers. If necessary, cut off any protruding fiber ends.