How to Make a Gel Coat on a Kayak

How to Make a Gel Coat on a Kayak
Over time the gel coat on a kayak can become damaged. The mixing and application processes are moderately easy and only require a few simple tools. However, before adding a gel coat to a kayak, it's important that the damaged area is sanded and cleaned before the application process. A surface scratch can be sanded with 220-grit sandpaper, but a significantly damaged area will require sanding with a sander or repair tool that contains a sanding tip. Once the old gel coat is sanded away, you can blend the new gel into the old layers.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Respirator
  • Rubber gloves
  • Polyester gel coat
  • Liquid hardender
  • Mixing dish
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Coloring agent
Step 1
Turn on a respirator to clean the air of harsh fumes. A respirator is mandatory even in a well-ventilated area or outdoors. A mask is not enough.
Step 2
Purchase polyester gel coat. Contact the manufacturer of the kayak to request a batch of original, color-matched gel coat. If not, it is best to use Evercoat's "Marine Polyester Gel-Paste." Because it does not require air exposure to be cured, it is easier to work with. Gel coat is available at marine supply shops.
Step 3
Mix the polyester gel coat with liquid hardener, which is typically included with the purchase of polyester gel coat. If it is not included, you can purchase separately. Liquid hardener will make the polyester paste harden into the finished gel coat that is applied to your kayak. Use a disposable mixing dish and Popsicle sticks to stir the contents.
Step 4
Add a coloring agent. Coloring agents (e.g. paste or liquid) are added to the mixture, so the polyester gel coat matches the color of your kayak's existing gel coat. If you did not contact the manufacturer in Step 1, slowly mixing in small quantities of coloring agent until you achieve the closest match.

Tips & Warnings

 
Feather out the gel coat for smoother edges and a more blended finish between the old and new gel coat.
 
After sanding always clean the area with soap and water or alcohol. Dry with a microfiber cloth. Use blue masking tape to mask the area where the new gel will be added.
 
Do not sand the gel deep enough into the fiberglass, wood that you remove the substrate.
 
It is imperative that you wear rubber gloves and use a respirator when making and applying gelcoat on a kayak.

Article Written By Charlie Gaston

Charlie Gaston has written numerous instructional articles on topics ranging from business to communications and estate planning. Gaston holds a bachelor's degree in international business and a master's degree in communications. She is fluent in Spanish and has extensive travel experience.

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