gelcoat repair

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gelcoat repair

Postby mainefalcon » Thu Feb 14, 2013 11:52 am

Hello,
After reading lots of information about how a hull can absorb water, I'm thinking I need to do some more work on the bottom of our Falcon. There were some large gouges in the gelcoat (about the size of a quarter, some larger) which I filled with Marine Tex and then sanded / blended into the rest of the hull. There are also several hairline cracks in the gelcoat on the bottom of the hull.

Do these cracks need to be filled? There seems to be a lot of folks here who have completely removed all the gelcoat from the bottom of the hull and re-coated with epoxy. I don't want to appear lazy, but it seems counterproductive to remove perfetcly good gelcoat only to re-apply it. Is there a product that can be used simply to fill-in and seal the cracks without removing all the gelcoat?

I've already painted the bottom with antifouling paint, so I assume that will have to be removed before filling the gelcoat cracks. Is this correct?

Thanks for the help,

John
mainefalcon
 
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Re: gelcoat repair

Postby DaveD » Sun Feb 17, 2013 11:32 am

Hi John,

I am going to be refinishing the bottom of my boat soon. I have a similar situation with cracks, mainly at the skeg and along the keel in a couple of spots. My strategy is as follows (similar to my bigger boat):

1. Strip the finishes off (paint to the gelcoat)
2. Grind out the cracks and fill them with some kind of epoxy (prolly West System for me because I keep it in the shop).
3. Fair out any big gouges.
4. Paint the bottom with the WS epoxy (3 coats).
5. Sand to rough it up.
6. Coat it with your favorite anitfouling paint (or BottomKote)

NOW, that being said, I am chosing epoxy as my barrier coat, because the traditional barrier coat of "tar" is becoming less available, plus it's not as durable (or environnmentally friendly).

On the big boat, I still have a can of tar to touch up between seasons and use VC17 for the bottom paint. I will be converting it to epoxy in a couple of years.

Good luck!

--Dave
A bad day sailing is better than a good day at work...
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Re: gelcoat repair

Postby mainefalcon » Tue Feb 19, 2013 9:30 pm

Hi Dave,
When you say in step 1 "paint to the gelcoat," do you mean you're going to remove all the gelcoat as well as the paint, or just the paint?

Thanks,
John
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Re: gelcoat repair

Postby DaveD » Thu Feb 21, 2013 10:49 pm

My Falcon had a painted hull.

I'm not sure of the process that was used to lay these hull out in the molds, but when I refer to the "gelcoat" I'm referring to the soft, light green/grey compound between the raw fiberglass and the paint.

Some people here used a planer to take it right down to the fiberglass, then they re-gelcoated and faired it out.

I stripped the paint off of my hull (60 then 150 grit sandpaper), then used a 3M marine filler to fill in any gouges. For cracks, I ground them out and used epoxy with a fiberglass powder filler to strengthen it up.
A bad day sailing is better than a good day at work...
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Re: gelcoat repair

Postby joecomet » Thu Mar 07, 2013 5:52 pm

Hey John
You know, those round spots sound like water blisters in the gelcoat. Not a big deal. Looks like you took care of them.
Speaking of dings cracks and such, have you'all tried West's 'Six 10' epoxy adhesive? Great stuff to fill in any ding, scrape, cracks, etc.. $22 a gun tube with throw away nozzle. A couple of bucks for a pair of spare nozzles. Think it will cure under water, though I havn't put that to the test yet. Plan to carry a tube in my spares.
Have a new design for my kick-up rudder. Will make new post for it.
Later ol Mainer. You'll have to come down and sail in some warm water.
Joseph
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