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Old 10-21-2001
Sue & Larry Sue & Larry is offline
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De-Waxing Hulls

What product do you use to remove wax from a hull? Also, I’d like to do some work to the gelcoat on the topsides to a recently-purchased boat. Do owners typically wax the topsides or just the freeboard?

Sue & Larry respond: 
To de-wax a hull you can wipe with Interlux 202 Fiberglass Solvent Wash, Dupont Prep-Sol, acetone, or tolulene. To really do a good job, you will need many, many clean rags that you'll change frequently. Just make two to three wipes with each rag, then discard it. To continue to use the same rag will just spread the wax around.

Before answering the second part of your question, we need to address some boat terminology. Many people, ourselves included, inadvertently say "topsides" when we mean the deck or cabinhouse. The "topside" of a boat is actually the hull surface from the waterline to the gunwales, the upper edge of the side of the boat.

You can assume that any and every surface on your boat may have received wax at some point during its life. A good waxing protects a gelcoat surface, can bring luster back to a faded area, and will prolong its life. Good luck with your project.