View Full Version : How about clear coating vs. continual gel coat maintenance?

11-21-2008, 06:11 PM
I've been struggling with the oxidation problem on my PS 205 for several years now. I've had a couple of fiberglass repair shops suggest thinking about clear coat, like they put on cars. The propose to compound/wet sand down to the good gel and then apply clear coat. They could even paint a new color and then apply the clear coat. It seems like a good idea except for the following:
1. Clear Coat will chip and crack if bumped against a dock or if a ski hits it. This isn't a huge concern for me because I rarely bump ANYTHING.
2. I've heard that sunlight will penetrate the clear coat and continue to oxidize the gel coat. Don't know if this is true or not.
3. Some of the threads here have mention of clear coat wearing off or pealing off. I wonder if this is because it may not have been applied properly to begin with.

I'm looking for input on whether this is a good idea or not. There is no clear concensus. MY gut is telling me there are potential problems because if there weren't everyone would be doing it.
Thanks for your input.

11-21-2008, 06:20 PM
I've seen a couple of boats that were painted and a couple that were clear coated. Long term I've never seen either be fabulous but they did really bring back the luster in the short term. If you're going to do it make sure it gets done right, fiberglass is not metal. It is somewhat porous and flexes so it needs to be painted accordingly.

It may be a little more expensive but you may want to consider a wrap of some sort. We had a customer do a partial wrap on an older MariStar and it turned out really good, changed the entire look of the boat. It was a pretty basic black main stripe (I think the boat was originally red) with a drip molded MasterCraft decal running down the center. he had a local sign shop do the design and installation so I don't have a cost on it.

11-21-2008, 09:54 PM
I completely ground, prepped, and gel coated my old ski boat. Many people suggested that I paint, using high quality automotive finishes and several clear coat layers instead of gel cote.

My cousin's drag boat was painted 10 years ago and still looks great. I have seen a few classic boats that were painted and clear coated as well.

Also, I have seen several boats that had clear coat peeling and chipping away.

I submit that it is a viable option. However, it has to be prepped and applied properly. If done right, it is durable enough for a drag boat.

One more rambling thought...resale value. If I am looking at a used boat and I see that it is finished with clear coat over gel coat, I may opt for the "other" boat.

11-23-2008, 10:05 AM
Thank you Corey and Skipper. Good input. I think I'm going to be better off dealing with the perpetual maintenance of gel coat. I know what to expect and can deal with it. With clear coat, it's unclear what I can expect and dealing with it may cause more headache in the long run. Thanks again.

11-23-2008, 10:41 AM
Gel coat restoration has been detailed here on Team Talk many times. You mention maintenance - have you actually taken a buffer and compound to it? I don't mean a random orbital wax applicator like you'd get for $30 at the hardware store, but an actual automotive buffer. IMHO, other than waxing once or twice a year, there shouldn't be any such thing as "gel coat maintenance". If one has to maintain their gel coat to keep it from looking dull, it's oxidized and will always be dull until the oxidized stuff is gone, as opposed to just covering it up with wax, paint, clear coat.

Most people, when they have dull gel coat, apply some wax. Looks good for awhile, but as the wax wears off there's still that layer of oxidation. Only solution is to buff the oxidized gel coat layer off.

Look at this Restoration Diary (http://www.mastercraft.com/teamtalk/showthread.php?t=12550&highlight=restoration+diary). Perfect example. It's a lot of work, but the results will be far, far better than some kind of paint job.

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08-25-2010, 08:37 PM
I am all for clear coat here is how mine turned out after I cleared it.

08-26-2010, 12:08 AM
Before and after clearcoat on the metalflake... there was really no other option as the oxidation was so bad. Buffing out would making it almost shiny, but only last for a few months. Now going on 2 years of zero buffing.