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How to Restore Gelcoat Finish

If the gelcoat isn't completely worn out, you can restore it on your boat or an RV. Read this information to find a step-by-step explanation of the process.
Sheetal Mandora May 13, 2019
A boat or an RV can be one of the best means to travel and get out of the city once in a while.
But over time, the wear and tear faced by the vehicles can reflect on its overall appearance. No matter how much you may try to maintain it, there will be certain issues you'll have to keep a constant watch on. And one such issue that can come up is the gelcoat on your boat or the RV.

What is Gelcoat?

Before we get to the actual hands-on work, let us understand what gelcoat really is. It is a paint which is mostly utilized over fiberglass. Your boat, RV, and even surfboards have a fiberglass shell on top, and the paint protects it from harmful UV rays and oxidization.
There are many additives which are included in the paint so that it can be used on the fiberglass. And with this paint, the fiberglass shell can be kept looking like new for a long time. But with time, as the shell begins to fade and look dull, restoring the shine becomes quite necessary.

Applying Gelcoat on ...

a Boat

  • First, gather the necessary tools―gelcoat sealer, foam applicator, rubbing compound, rubber gloves, clean towels, boat wax, and an electric buffer. If you want, you can also get a commercial refurbishment kit.
  • If your boat is dirty, wear your rubber gloves and wash it as you normally would; let it dry properly.
  • Take a towel and apply some rubbing compound on it. Use this towel to gently wipe the fiberglass. This will help in removing the oxidized gelcoat on the boat.
  • Clean the area with water and use a dry towel to wipe. Then we will apply a layer of the sealer you purchased.
  • With the foam applicator, you will apply a layer of sealer. Leave the sealer on to dry completely.
  • After that, you need to wipe it properly with a clean towel. Now, the next layer of boat wax will be applied.
  • With a foam applicator, you will apply a layer of boat wax. Again, let it dry completely and then wipe with a clean towel.
  • In the end, all there's left to do is use the electric buffer to buff out the wax you applied and bring the shine back into the fiberglass shell. Use a clean towel to wipe the surface and see how your boat shines again.

an RV

  • You will need the necessary tools―sponge pad, spray bottle, car wax remover, fiberglass varnish, scrub brush, and rubber gloves. Consider these items as refurbishment products or purchase a commercial one (if you feel more comfortable).
  • Wear the rubber gloves, get a ladder, and clean the outside your RV. Use the car wax remover to clean the outside the RV.
  • Here, we are looking for removing the blemishes there may be on your RV. Once you are done, let the vehicle dry completely.
  • Take small sections to work on. With a sponge pad, apply the fiberglass varnish on the RV. You need to work in one direction as you use the varnish.
  • Make sure you don't put a lot of pressure on or scrub it. Just use wiping movements.
  • Leave the vehicle to dry completely. This layer of varnish will help smooth out the oxidization inside the fiberglass shell.
  • Once the area has dried completely, repeat the process again. Apply another coat, and let it dry as well. You need to do this step at least 4―5 times.
  • Once the coats are applied, your RV will get its original shine back. As an annual restoration plan, you can choose to apply another coat or two, if the fiberglass begins to fade again.
The items mentioned here, such as the boat wax, gelcoat sealer, fiberglass varnish, and car wax remover, can really work wonders. Using these items for the restoration/refurbishment process on your boat and RV will definitely make your vehicle shine with pride.