If your boat does not have that nice, clean sparkle, it’s time you get rid of gel coat oxidation and restore the shine. Gelcoat or ‘gel coat’ is an epoxy or resin polymer used to provide a finish on fiberglass surfaces.
What Is Gelcoat Oxidation?
Oxidation happens due to environmental exposure and drying out the gelcoat surface, making it lose color and gloss, and become flaky. This layer of gelcoat needs to be removed not only to bring back the shiny look of your vessel, but also to protect it.
If the gelcoat is only lightly oxidized, you will be able to restore it easily with a non-abrasive liquid cleaner or beeswax.
If, however, the oxidation damage is severe and you are wondering about how to remove oxidation from gelcoat, read on and learn how to:
- Remove oxidation
- Eliminate stains
- Seal in the shine
Miami Yacht Services advises you to invest in good equipment as the job will be much easier and faster, and you’ll be sparing your hands and shoulders. Additionally, you will be more likely to address the gelcoat oxidation issue more often, hence protecting your boat. Besides, once you get the equipment, you will have it for a long time, so it is a good investment.
How to Remove Oxidation?
The first step should be washing your boat. If you skip this step, you will still be able to get good results.
Apply the oxidation remover on the whole fiberglass surface. The best oxidation remover is the least abrasive one, as it won’t damage the fiberglass. We advise you to get a bunch of different products and test them out on small surfaces before you start.
Use an orbital buffer to apply the oxidation remover. Put the oxidation remover on the buffer and hold it against the hull, then switch the buffer on. Never keep the buffer in one place for too long as it will damage the gelcoat. Move it back and forth, going over the same place a few times. Start with light pressure, and increase it after you get the hang of it.
Remember to clean your pad frequently to achieve optimum and fastest results. Also, be careful that the buffer cord does not go around the buffer as the cord can easily get torn.
There will surely be some spots you’ve missed – redo them by hand. If the damage by oxidation was severe, you may need to repeat the whole process once again. After you’re done, get rid of the oxidation remover product with a new bonnet on a buffer.
Removing the Stains
Eliminate the stains with a rubbing compound and a rag. If there is rust, use an acid-based cleaner, but make sure to apply it only on the rust and rinse after, to make sure your gelcoat does not get damaged.
Polish and Make It Shine!
The best polishing product is a combination of polish and wax. Apply the polish with the buffer, moving it back and forth. After the polish dries, remove it. For maximum results, polish your yacht two times.
Although your vessel looks new and shiny after all these steps, it is crucial to seal in the shine with beeswax. Otherwise, your hard work will be noticeable only for a few days, as the gelcoat loses the shine. Apply two layers of beeswax and give it a final polish with a microfiber bonnet. Re-wax every six months.
Removing oxidation from gelcoat is hard work, but if it is performed frequently enough, and with the right equipment, it will definitely pay off, as your yacht will look fantastic, and the effort and time you need to put in maintenance will significantly decrease.
It goes without saying that regular maintenance reduces damage and costs while making your vessel look brand new. If you have too many things on your hands, reach out to us, today. We are happy to help!