Badly faded gelcoat

Colvic Watson

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I've put an offer on this boat but the topsides are really badly faded and chalked - what would you recommend to get them looking good again? Thinking of a non-professional respray job. But if it was resprayed, how much might that cost? 19ft long and fairly shallow topsides.

Thanks. Simon

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seanfoster

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I've just ordered some compound just for this job.

The most common product used seems to be farecla g3, but this stuff apparently blows the socks off it (when used with an electric polisher).

The stuff I've ordered is Aqua Buff 1000 and 2000, it's widely used in the US (where it's from) the website is : http://www.aqua-buff.com/

I've ordered it from these people: http://www.mbfg.co.uk/cutting-compounds.html
 

VicS

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Farecla G3 is intended for hand use! G6 is the medium grade for machine use

See Farecla's website http://www.farecla.com/

I last used Starbrite compounds and polish (see pics) http://starbrite.com/subcatalog.cfm?CatName=Marine

3m is another popular brand

I have always used pastes and a foam compounding mop with water in a trigger spray bottle. I have not yet tried the self lubricating ones that are used with a lambs wool bonnet

 
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In partial answer to the OP....
Most people would not spray paint, it would be done with a roller. A good roller applied finish will be far better than an amateur spray application. And cheaper.
Also, if you try spray painting with those other boats alongside, you won't be very popular.
Cost? All the manufacturers produce guides to help estimate the materials needed.

Having said that, I agree with the others. The first thing to try is a really thorough compounding and polish. It will be even cheaper.
 

Steve Clayton

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Seajet

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First of all, the Manta 19 is a good boat, should have sold more. i'm sure you know this, but as she's a lift keel, try to ensure the keel plate itself is inspected, lift keelers often suffer corrosion if sat with their keels retracted and inaccessible for maintenance.

I keep my 22' lift keeler on high trestles every winter for this reason, they're easy to make, I supply simple plans for my class association; if I can be any help with that feel free to PM me.

Polishing out 'chalking' tends to be hard work, and only lasts a season, two at best, and you can't keep doing it !

Another 'solution' FOR NOW is to use 'Owatrol'. It was first marketed for this purpose, but now they keep quiet about this ( I think I know why, more anon ); now just a posh paint thinner.

After cleaning the topsides, you just wipe on the Owatrol with a rag, couldn't be simpler.

This brings back the colour almost miraculously, and just a wipe on every Spring keeps it going.

I did this after my topsides chalked years ago.

HOWEVER, after about 4-5 years, it formed a finish like old, cracked dry varnish.

At that point I cleaned the topsides down properly, applied primer and International Toplac.

On the first attempt, I did not know this stuff needs a LOT of thinning to get a decent result, it was like porridge !

Next season I rubbed the topsides down by hand sanding block and used thin Toplac, by brush - couldn't get a decent result with rollers, found foam pads a disaster.

Thinned toplac by brush suits me, and I'm rather boat-proud; not enough to have the boat transported to an Interlux centre and THOUSANDS for a respray, though they do a good job...
 
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capetown

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G3

Hi VicS
Are you sure G3 is for hand use only?

Always thought it's for hand and machine.

I've been using G3 liquid for years with an electric polisher and white foam pad, in fact only using it this last Friday on a grp clinker.
 

capetown

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Seajet,
I've been very tempted to use Owatrol, to save all that compounding, glad you tested before me.

A common thought is that cutting the gelcoat is job done, but don't seal it.

I've given up on waxes and polish, trying nano seal (A Glaze), it's expensive but dead easy to apply, although their prep is........ well lets just say it did'nt work for me.
You still get the black water lines, but cross fingers it's held up better than polish/wax.

I'm trying Crystal Glo on a red car that is'nt lacquard, been on for nine months now, used in London and only washed twice, been very impressed so far.
 

Colvic Watson

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Thanks for those replies, much food for thought. Sounds like Owatrol for a year or two then do it properly with Toplac. I tried polishing and waxing a 27 footer and 4 of us worked all weekend for the result to be a bit better than before we started. It was a white hull so not so noticeable but it still seemed like a lot of effort for not much. Plus you see boats where it's not been done completely evenly and it looks bad. But then no excuse with a 19 footer!
 

macd

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Haven't tried the Owatrol route, but it sounds promising, and a sight simpler than the alternatives.

Chalking can be removed (it's actually just surface oxidation), but serious cases, or cases where there's also a lot of shallow surface scratching, can require more aggressive treatment than mere polishing. Whether this is practicable depends on the depth of gel coat remaining, so it's worth doing a small test patch somewhere unobtrusive (say, where a boot stripe might later be applied).

Start with 600 wet&dry, working down to 1200. (For the feloniously-inclined, this is also the best way to remove fingerprints. Honest buffers should wear gloves.) Then use the polishing compounds. Don't use one of those cheap buffing machines: you'll be at it 'til Christmas. The one you want looks like an angle grinder. Indeed some variable-speed angle grinders work perfectly well with a 3M buffing mop. The compound's spec sheet will advise on polishing speeds.

Yes, it's laborious, but certainly doable on a 19-footer.

The key to slowing the return of chalking is an annual coating of a UV-protective wax. It works in the Med, so it should work where you are.
 

tross

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What ever you do, you are putting off the inevitable - you are going to have to paint it at some point. I had a Pirate 17 with exactly the same issue and I tried all the polishes etc.

You can get a very good finish with Toplac doing it yourself.

First fill and sand back the hull and apply the undercoat, flatten, then apply two top coats.
But here is the trick - make sure the paint is warm and that you use a good quality mini foam roller. You must apply thin coats and work them in hard. I know what everyone says but working the top coat hard and then flicking off with a good quality brush really works. I did this with my sons 12 and 8 doing the flicking and the finish was good - even the old boat yard hands had to admit that it was close to a spray finish.

A couple of other owners asked how I achieved this and following my advise they got similar results.
 

VicS

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Hi VicS
Are you sure G3 is for hand use only?
I thought was what I had read but I cannot get the brochure to down load from the website.
It is what I used the first time I did mine though and I did use a machine!
Maybe what they meant is that is the grade to use if hand compounding.

other parts of the website indicate that it can be used with a machine! There's even a tutorial video!
 

ghostlymoron

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What ever you do, you are putting off the inevitable - you are going to have to paint it at some point. I had a Pirate 17 with exactly the same issue and I tried all the polishes etc.
Sorry, I don't agree. I would try to retain your original gelcoat finish as long as possible - have a look at VicS's results with his Seawych! Of course, if you cut it back too often or too vigorously, you will eventually remove all the gelcoat but until you see white paches appear polishing is the best treatment.
I don't think that the painted finish looks as good as gelcoat unless its properly sprayed and cutback and polished and if you're going to cut back the paint you may as well cutback the original finish.
 

Dipper

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I've used Owertrol Oil a couple of times on my current boat and several times on a previous boat (including the mast). The tin I have is the original Owertrol. I see that they now market different formulations depending on what you want to use it for.

When I apply it to the hull, I wipe it on very thinly and before it is dry, wipe over with a dry cloth or kitchen roll and remove as much as I can. That may prevent any build-up. Very easy and quick to use and it is so thin that a little goes a long way.

It's one of those magic products that has lots of uses - primer, rust proofing, thinning, aids adhesion, seals, improves paint flow. When I used it on a neglected, dull aluminium mast with tiny surface corrosion spots it brought it out in a nice shine and protected it from the elements.
 

ghostlymoron

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I've used Owertrol Oil a couple of times on my current boat and several times on a previous boat (including the mast). The tin I have is the original Owertrol. I see that they now market different formulations depending on what you want to use it for.

When I apply it to the hull, I wipe it on very thinly and before it is dry, wipe over with a dry cloth or kitchen roll and remove as much as I can. That may prevent any build-up. Very easy and quick to use and it is so thin that a little goes a long way.

It's one of those magic products that has lots of uses - primer, rust proofing, thinning, aids adhesion, seals, improves paint flow. When I used it on a neglected, dull aluminium mast with tiny surface corrosion spots it brought it out in a nice shine and protected it from the elements.
The data sheet for Owatrol doesn't mention polishing GRP
 

Seajet

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if you're going to cut back the paint you may as well cutback the original finish.

I have to disagree with that one ! The gelcoat's primary function isn't to look pretty, it's a waterproof barrier...

As for the spelling of Owatrol, I'm 90% sure that's how the stuff I used has always been spelled, I have an old tin, quite a few years old, just had a look and it says 'Marine' in thin black letters then 'Owatrol' in large white print, wierd !...
 

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