View Full Version : Gelcoat Restoration issues

07-24-2012, 01:32 PM
I am trying to help a friend compound/polish his boat as it looked oxidized when he picked it up. I used the properboatcare.com kit (which I have used on my Mastercraft with excellent results).

I started with the fine polish to remove the oxidation, which didn't take all of the oxidation away. I used the heavy cut compound and then did another quick pass with the fine polish to bring back the shine. The boat looked great, but as soon as I put wax (Collinite 870 fleetwax), the oxidation look came back. I tried stripping the wax again, washing the boat with Dawn, and rewaxing the boat. The oxidation look came back again as soon as I applied to the wax. It appears as though the gelcoat is absorbing the wax.

Has anyone else had this situation and how did you correct the gelcoat to get it to shine? I have never ran into this situation. When I run my hand down the gelcoat, it sticks where the oxidation is coming back. You can see in the attached picture that the oxidation came back along the bottom of the running surface and where the trailer fenders are. I believe the previous owner used the boat in salt water about a dozen times - I am not sure if that would have any impact on the gelcoat at all.

I am afraid that the previous owner might have gotten close to going through the gelcoat, as it doesn't seem like I can restore the shine. I don't want to start wetsanding/compounding if the gel is thin. Is there any good tests to determine the thickness of the gel without buying one of the expensive tools that reads the mills in the gel?

Thanks for the help and any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

07-24-2012, 04:32 PM
Gelcoat doesnt absorb wax. One of 2 things is happening.

1. You didnt clean boat properly before waxing. What it looks like just before wax is a true indication of the gel's condition... but it has to be clean, and dry. Dishsoap and water or straight up acetone does the trick.

2. You applied the wax, but didnt remove the excess after it dried (this can take some elbow grease with a microfiber towel, by hand).

What Im getting at is that the wax isnt causing the issue. If you didnt get all of the oxidation out, then it will show whether the boat is waxed or not. I wouldnt worry about removing too much gel- many times it will take a good amount of wetsanding to remove all the oxidation. Compound alone doesnt always cut it.

07-24-2012, 04:40 PM
My guess is you didn't get all the oxidation off in that area.