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  1. #1
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    Gel-coat...wax, or no wax?

    Below are vague recollections of something I heard, or read somewhere about not using wax on gel-coat.

    A few days ago I read that it's best not to wax your boat, or gel-coat, as the wax is what dries out. Seems like I recall the article, post, or something (may have been a youtube video now that I think about it) saying that gel-coat is porous as well, perhaps more than auto paint (talking micro degrees of porosity here) and the wax gets in the poors and dries out. Almost like oxidation, or mimicking. Seems like I also recall gel-coat needing oils to keep it from drying out. Something like that, I think, is what I read.

    If this be the case, and we shouldn't wax gel-coat, then what's best to lock out the aging?

    Are drying and oxidation the same thing?

    If the gel-coat does dry, then it would seem that good ol' Meguiar's #7 would be a great option to revitalizing the gel-coat before sealing or waxing...whatever is best. The idea being to put life back into the gel-coat, get some serious gloss going, then seal or wax (provided wax won't make things worse).

    What are your thoughts, and can you provide info to back-up your thoughts?
    Bill

  2. #2
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    Re: Gel-coat...wax, or no wax?

    I have been in the marine biz for 35 years and it's no secret gel coat opens up as it ages....best to keep it waxed so it seals and levels the surface. No matter what, it needs to be corrected and leveled every 2 - 3 years...the good thing is it's a lot thicker and harder than paint so a good wool pad and rotary will get it done. No "burning"the paint. Collonite is a favorite for gelcoat. If possible the best thing is to paint over it and seal it forever, like the yacht mfr's do - with 2 part urethanes; Imron, Awlgrip or Alexseal. This is my boat and I painted it 7 years ago and it still looks new - no drying out. See my article here:

    Oxidized gelcoat makeover (Pics) - The Hull Truth - Boating and Fishing Forum
    gelcoat:

    paint
    Glen
    '14 2LT Corvette


  3. #3
    Senior Member tuscarora dave's Avatar
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    Re: Gel-coat...wax, or no wax?

    I seem to recall some clown coming on the detailing boards spamming for some sort of acrylic glaze product who said exactly that in some demonstrational video that he had to try to boost the sales of his "as seen on TV" type of product. As I recall it, he was "Booed off the stage".

  4. #4
    Director of Training Mike.Phillips@Autogeek's Avatar
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    Re: Gel-coat...wax, or no wax?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hoytman View Post

    Below are vague recollections of something I heard, or read somewhere about not using wax on gel-coat.

    A few days ago I read that it's best not to wax your boat, or gel-coat, as the wax is what dries out.

    Seems like I recall the article, post, or something (may have been a youtube video now that I think about it) saying that gel-coat is porous as well, perhaps more than auto paint (talking micro degrees of porosity here) and the wax gets in the poors and dries out. Almost like oxidation, or mimicking. Seems like

    I also recall gel-coat needing oils to keep it from drying out. Something like that, I think, is what I read.


    Gel-coat, which is a pigmented polyester resin will oxidize readily. I don't think a coat of wax would accelerate oxidation however. Somewhere in my word files I have a pretty good definition of oxidation and what's taking place at the surface level, I found years ago and then dug it up when I was writing my book but I don't think it made to final editing.

    Just like everything, the quality of boat finishes had been improving and gel-coats being used on boats today are a lot better than the gel-coats that came on boats in the 1960's and 1970's but yes, they do still oxidize.


    Quote Originally Posted by Hoytman View Post

    If this be the case, and we shouldn't wax gel-coat, then what's best to lock out the aging?
    If you have a gel-coat finish that's oxidized you want to first remove the oxidation and then polish the surface to a smooth high gloss and the seal the surface with a quality wax or sealant of some type. The idea being to create a barrier coating to seal out water and oxygen which.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hoytman View Post

    Are drying and oxidation the same thing?
    Not really, oxidation is the surface of whatever is oxidizing giving itself up, that is giving up molecules of matter. Oxidation will more readily take place if the surface is dry or dried-out versus not dried-out.


    Quote Originally Posted by Hoytman View Post
    If the gel-coat does dry, then it would seem that good ol' Meguiar's #7 would be a great option to revitalizing the gel-coat before sealing or waxing...whatever is best. The idea being to put life back into the gel-coat, get some serious gloss going, then seal or wax (provided wax won't make things worse).
    The oils found in #7 will indeed penetrated into a porous surface and restore color and hinder oxidation, Meguiar's also makes a dedicated boat polish that theoretically would be more in tune with the needs of a gel-coat finish than a paint finish but over the years I've personally used a lot of #3 and #7 when restoring gel-coat finishes with very good results.


    I used both #3 and #7 on my Sanger hull for years and years to maintain the hugger orange gel-coat followed by a coat of wax or sealant and sometimes both.

    I also machine applied #3 to my Starline Deville after first compounding and polishing to restore a rich, vibrant color.





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  5. #5
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    Re: Gel-coat...wax, or no wax?

    Thanks for the reply Mr. Phillips.

    With all the mis-information on the internet it's hard to discifer what is good information and what isn't. It's good to know there's people out there with plenty of knowledge through years of experience, such as yours.

    What's your input on painting, as Glen suggested? (That's not a knock on Glen...rather and attempt to get info from someone who's known for being the "guru.") Obviously it would still need to be maintained, but it may not need it as often...I'm guessing.


    Glen,
    I am guessing by looking at the bottom photo that the striations I'm seeing in the top photo may actually be shadows from sunrays. Is that guess right? I assume the hole boat is shiny like the bottom picture, and it looks awesome.


    I also need info on repairing gel-coat. My dad's Baha Cruiser Hull looks great since I buffed it out last year, but the top-side (vertical portion) just above the rub rail has long cracks in it the length of the boat and I would like to repair them myself. Sort of has a sprider web effect to it. I wish I had a photo, but it's 200 miles from here.
    Bill

  6. #6
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    Re: Gel-coat...wax, or no wax?

    Quote Originally Posted by tuscarora dave View Post
    I seem to recall some clown coming on the detailing boards spamming for some sort of acrylic glaze product who said exactly that in some demonstrational video that he had to try to boost the sales of his "as seen on TV" type of product. As I recall it, he was "Booed off the stage".
    Seems like I recall someone pushing a product as well Dave. At least now I know I wasn't nutz for posting this.

    My thoughts were that if it gets corrected it's going to need something to seal it, as Mr. Phillips and Glen suggested.
    Bill

  7. #7
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    Re: Gel-coat...wax, or no wax?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hoytman View Post
    Thanks for the reply Mr. Phillips.

    With all the mis-information on the internet it's hard to discifer what is good information and what isn't. It's good to know there's people out there with plenty of knowledge through years of experience, such as yours.

    What's your input on painting, as Glen suggested? (That's not a knock on Glen...rather and attempt to get info from someone who's known for being the "guru.") Obviously it would still need to be maintained, but it may not need it as often...I'm guessing.


    Glen,
    I am guessing by looking at the bottom photo that the striations I'm seeing in the top photo may actually be shadows from sunrays. Is that guess right? I assume the hole boat is shiny like the bottom picture, and it looks awesome.


    I also need info on repairing gel-coat. My dad's Baha Cruiser Hull looks great since I buffed it out last year, but the top-side (vertical portion) just above the rub rail has long cracks in it the length of the boat and I would like to repair them myself. Sort of has a sprider web effect to it. I wish I had a photo, but it's 200 miles from here.

    no those striations are real - gelcoat, esp in dark colors lasts a few years and then requires religious maintenance - it opens up and washes out if left to it's own. And painting hulls is common place among good mfrs in the marine business. Mostl Yachts are painted and Intrepid and Formula use paint on their hulls, along with Fountain. It's the only was to go if you want looks and low maintenance. Very rugged too.Depending on prep, it's about $100 a foot.

    do some searching at thehulltrith.com for more info..
    Glen
    '14 2LT Corvette


  8. #8
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    Re: Gel-coat...wax, or no wax?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hoytman View Post
    Seems like I recall someone pushing a product as well Dave. At least now I know I wasn't nutz for posting this.

    My thoughts were that if it gets corrected it's going to need something to seal it, as Mr. Phillips and Glen suggested.
    The stuff was called "Poly-Glo" and is a thin varnish that works pretty well for a year or two - then needs more - and 5 years down the road looks pretty bad. There is no solution but to grind it off. In the marine game, we're pretty down on it. There is no substitution for proper maintenance with good products , just like here with cars and other toys...

    and here's a few more painted with epoxy primer, 2 part urethane basecoat and then sikkens 2 part clear - actually BMW formulation:


    and mine - yup shiny all around - after 7 years - no waxing whatsoever...hit with UPGP a few weeks ago for the first time:

    nothing beats fresh clearcoat gloss:


    BTW, I have been in touch with the guys at Optimum and they say Opti Coat 2.0 seals gelcoat well. I have not tried it but...may for a few spots hard to get to... (radomes, etc)
    Last edited by glen e; 02-02-2012 at 10:41 AM.
    Glen
    '14 2LT Corvette


  9. #9
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    Re: Gel-coat...wax, or no wax?

    I'm not sure the "Poly-Glo" product you mentioned was what I heard about, but it doesn't matter.

    I'd sure like to get my dad's boat looking like that, but I can't see dad wanting to paint it at this stage. I do have some opti-guard that I can use after I buff it out this spring.
    Bill

  10. #10
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    Re: Gel-coat...wax, or no wax?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hoytman View Post
    I'm not sure the "Poly-Glo" product you mentioned was what I heard about, but it doesn't matter.

    I'd sure like to get my dad's boat looking like that, but I can't see dad wanting to paint it at this stage. I do have some opti-guard that I can use after I buff it out this spring.
    it was probably a derivative of a floor wax - we get that a lot too...look into 561/501 duragloss combo I posted above in my link - very powerful stuff that works very well. Bought it here!
    Glen
    '14 2LT Corvette


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