Finish Time: 1-2 hrs
Tools and Supplies
*Hand-held grinder and bits
*Countersink bit and drill motor
*Gelcoat resin and catalyst
*Wet/dry sandpaper (320-, 600- and 1,000 grit)
*PVA curing agent
Own a fiberglass boat long enough, and you’ll end up with a scratch, nick or gouge in the finish. It might be from a muffed landing, a dropped pair of fishing pliers or just a hole drilled in the wrong place. You can usually fix these yourself. It takes a bit of patience, but do it right and few will notice.
Complications occur when there’s damage on a textured surface like diamond nonskid or on a multitone finish. For these, call in a pro. Also, deep gouges may need structural fiberglass work or filler before you repair the gelcoat. On horizontal surfaces, liquid gelcoat works, but for vertical surfaces, a paste is easier to apply.
1. Match the Color
For current boats, your dealer might be able to supply matching gelcoat. But due to weathering on your boat, it may not match. There are kits from companies such as Evercoat with pigments to add to the resin for a match. If you have a sample, you can match a gallon of gelcoat from Rayplex Composites (fibreglass.com).
2. Clean Up Edges
Use a rotary grinder to smooth the edges to a 45-degree bevel and eliminate any loose material. If repairing a drilled hole, the surface might have become elevated from the upward pressure of an old fastener. Use a countersink bit or rotary file and a drill motor to carefully grind away the swollen perimeter. Scrape away any old sealant and clean up with acetone.