How to Gel Coat a Boat

How to Gel Coat a Boat
Gelcoat is the protective coating that keeps a fiberglass boat watertight. It is also the material that makes a fiberglass boat sparkle like glass. Anyone can apply gelcoat with the proper knowledge and tools. It does not take a great deal of strength to gelcoat a surface, either for an original coat, or repairs, but it will take several days for the application and proper drying time.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Fine sandpaper; 300 grit to 1,000 grit Sander Acetone Paint sprayer Gelcoat Gelcoat coloring Wax Buffer
  • Fine sandpaper; 300 grit to 1,000 grit
  • Sander
  • Acetone
  • Paint sprayer
  • Gelcoat
  • Gelcoat coloring
  • Wax
  • Buffer
Step 1
Sand the surface you wish to coat. Clean the surface with acetone. Mix the gelcoat and add the proper color you desire for the boat. White is a popular color for boats because it's easy to match for repairs and it does not hold heat like colored gelcoat. Colored gelcoat is very hot to the touch in direct sunlight and can cause burns.
Step 2
Use a paint sprayer to apply gelcoat over a large surface. Small repairs are easy to spread with a plastic spreader. Make sure the spreader you choose is flexible so it follows the form of the surface you are covering.
Step 3
Spread gelcoat in thin coats. Let the gelcoat dry for at least two hours between coats. Coat the surface with two layers of straight gelcoat. On the third coating, add 10 percent surfacing wax. Let the final coat cure for at least 24 hours, 48 is better, before finishing.
Step 4
Use a fine sandpaper and wet sand the new gelcoat surface to a dull shine. Begin with a 300 grit sandpaper and work your way up to a 1,000 grit sandpaper. Wax and buff the new gelcoat surface to a high shine.

Article Written By Tami Parrington

Tami Parrington is the author of five novels along with being a successful SEO and content writer for the past three years. Parrington's journalism experience includes writing for eHow on medical, health and home-related topics as well as writing articles about the types of animals she has raised for years.

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