When it comes to boating, the last thing you want to deal with is a chipped or cracked gelcoat. But unfortunately, it’s bound to happen no matter how experienced you are. Whether it’s from hitting a rock, docking too hard, or just wear and tear, it’s important to know how to properly repair a chipped gelcoat. Here’s a step-by-step guide to get your boat looking as good as new.
Step 1: Gather Supplies
Before getting started, make sure you have all the supplies you need. You’ll need gelcoat repair paste, sandpaper, an orbital sander, a paintbrush, and a clean rag. You can purchase all of these items at any boating store or online.
Step 2: Clean the Area
The first step is to clean the area around the chip or crack. Use soap and water to remove any dirt, grime, or algae. Rinse thoroughly and let the area dry completely.
Step 3: Sand the Area
Using sandpaper, sand the area around the chip or crack until it’s smooth and leveled. Ensure that the sandpaper is fine-grained, as coarse-grained sandpapers can end up damaging your boat further.
Step 4: Apply Gelcoat Repair Paste
Using a paintbrush, apply the gelcoat repair paste on the chipped area. Be sure to fill in the entire area to avoid leaving gaps. Once the paste is applied, use the brush to spread it evenly over the surface.
Step 5: Let it Dry
Let the gelcoat repair paste dry completely according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This could take a few hours or even overnight, depending on the type of gelcoat repair paste you are using. The paste will harden and become a shiny surface.
Step 6: Sand the Repaired Area
Once the gelcoat repair paste is dry, use an orbital sander to sand the area until it’s smooth to touch. Be careful not to sand too much, as you can easily scratch the surrounding area.
Step 7: Buff and Wax
Finally, buff and wax the repaired area to give it a brand-new look. Use a clean rag to apply wax and buff with a polishing wheel or circular motions.
Repairing a chipped gelcoat is not as hard as you might think. By following these simple steps, you’ll be able to restore your boat’s beauty and protect it from further damage. Remember to take your time and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Never rush through the process or it may result in unsatisfactory results.