Gel Coat Repair?

Discussion in 'Fiberglass and Composite Boat Building' started by hcontreras, Jun 19, 2008.

  1. hcontreras
    Joined: Jun 2008
    Posts: 6
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    Location: The Woodlands, TX.

    hcontreras Junior Member

    Hello everyone!

    I just bought me a used boat, it's ready to go, but I just need to repair what appears to be a Gel Coat patch. I am assuming that is all I need, but I'm not sure. I certainly hope I do not need fiberglass work on top of that. Here is the deal:

    I checked the area, and it seems to still be very solid, meaning the fiberglass that is exposed is still solid and still intact (does not have any soft spots). I have included these photos so that one of you can see it, and let me know if I can get away with just doing a Gel Coat Patch only. Let me know, what you all think.....Thanks in advance for everyone's help!

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  2. grady
    Joined: Oct 2006
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    Location: Scituate, Ma

    grady Novice

    Hi and Welcome, Well sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but that quite a bit deeper than gel coat. That being said it's not really a huge undertaking.

    Generally you have to grind back to fresh glass with a taper ( going form deep to shallow ) then prep the area with some un-thickened epoxy, and place a series of fiberglass patches to fill the void (this time going from smaller ones in the middle to larger ones on the outside. There are all kinds of threads on this forum with fiberglass repair as a subject) making sure each one is throughly weted out with resin, till the repair is fair with the rest of the hull.

    To further complicated things there seems to be a contour line in the middle of the damaged area.

    I'm certain a more knowledgeable fellow will respond, with more detailed info.
    I just wanted to say hello and give you my perspective.
     
  3. hcontreras
    Joined: Jun 2008
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    Location: The Woodlands, TX.

    hcontreras Junior Member

    Thank you for your reply. Your perspective is much appreciated Grady! We'll it's not quite what I wanted to hear, but we have to deal with it as it comes. I'll look up some of those "Fiberglass Repairs" on this forum, and see if anyone will offer some additional insight on this thread. Thanks for the welcome!
     
  4. fiberglass jack
    Joined: Dec 2005
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    Location: toronto

    fiberglass jack Senior Member

    if you are going to use gelcoat do not use epxoyasitwont bond to epoy, just grind the area alittle bit and grind the old gel back a inch or two in a little taper,add afew layers of glass try and keep the level of the new glass lower then the surface of the gel, get some gelcoat and ake a paste with a little micro ballons and cabosil and fill the area in sand fair and spray gel over sand and buff, your done
     
  5. hcontreras
    Joined: Jun 2008
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    Location: The Woodlands, TX.

    hcontreras Junior Member

    What type of resin should I use, since i cannot use epoxy?? Polyester, Vinylester? Or do you mean use the glass cloth and saturate with the gelcoat?
     
  6. grady
    Joined: Oct 2006
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    Location: Scituate, Ma

    grady Novice

    un-geled

    I don't know much about gel coatings, so all I can say is my guess would be that he definitely didn't mean using gel instead of resin!!

    I'm sure he was referring to another type of resin, such as the poly or vinylester ( rule of thumb is use what the boat was made from ) and I think 80 percent of older frg boats were made using polyester resin.

    Sorry about the epoxy info it's just that's what I use and have heard it's sticks to other resins better than most.

    I have only painted to refresh a boats finish (completely different animal)

    lots of luck
     
  7. tinhorn
    Joined: Jan 2008
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    Location: Massachusetts South Shore.

    tinhorn Senior Member

    Looks like an air bubble in the original layup - and a pretty small one at that. Grady's got the idea - grind it out, taper the edges at an 8:1 ratio, fill it with layers of glass and resin (vinyl if you have access to it), but don't use any more resin than you need to. Your strength is in the glass, not the resin. I've used Bondo as the final thin layer for finishing.

    Frankly, I think your odds are better at color-matching if you took a chip to an automotive paint store and had them blend you a spraycan of lacquer.
     
  8. hcontreras
    Joined: Jun 2008
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    Location: The Woodlands, TX.

    hcontreras Junior Member

    Nice Tinhorn! I like that idea! Will the bondo bond well to the glass/ resin repair? If it does, I'll just do that, and take a chip to the auto paint store to match.

    It might save me a bit of time and money....
     

  9. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Gel coat doesn't stick to epoxy, but epoxy will stick to gel coat.

    You can repair this with polyester resin or epoxy. Epoxy will be easier, but you'll have to paint. Polyester (or vinylester) can be more troublesome for the novice, but you can use gel coat. Frankly, I've never seen a beginner get a reasonable color match with gel coat. With this being the case and paint a very possible likelihood, then epoxy would be my recommendation for the driveway repair with less then experienced hands.

    Bondo and other automotive fillers shouldn't be used to fill that repair. It can (I wouldn't) be used as a surface filler to make final adjustments to the shape and fill minor imperfections, but it has limited ability to stay stuck on a boat, especially without a gel coat over it.

    Personally, judging by the basic nature of the original poster's questions, I think epoxy and paint is the best, easiest and fastest way to get the boat looking good again. You don't have to worry about strength or the filler absorbing moisture (like Bondo will) or the bond. Epoxy will do the whole thing and you may not need to use cloth (depending on how deep and it's location on the boat).
     
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