What is the best way to repair cracks in the gel coat - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance
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Old 09-19-2007
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What is the best way to repair cracks in the gel coat

What is the best way/recommended way to repair cracks on the deck and also crazing in the gel coat?
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Old 09-19-2007
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I do not think you can do much about crazing expect paint the deck. Cracks however, a little job I need to tackle soon, need to be ground out a bit a and then filled with a matching gel coat. It is important to keep water out of the underlying structure so cracks should be attended to.

There is a company in Florida that does custon matching gel coat. they have the colour codes for many common manaufacturers. They are Mini-craft of Florida.

Gary
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Old 09-19-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saurav16 View Post
What is the best way/recommended way to repair cracks on the deck and also crazing in the gel coat?
The cracks and crazing are caused by the flexing of the fiberglass underneath. Gelcoat repair is time consuming and expensive. If the flexing is not stopped, the cracks will return (unless they were from exterior force damage) There are some glass professionals on this forum:
http://www.boatdesign.net/forums/
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For cracks on the deck you fill it with gel coat as well?
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Old 09-19-2007
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Saurav-

If the cracks are just crazing, then you will probably need to paint over it. However, if the cracks are stress cracks, then you need to fix whatever caused the cracks in the first place. Gelcoat is generally less flexible than the underlying laminate, and if an area of fiberglass is bending due to stress, the gelcoat will generally crack before the underlying laminate is actually damaged. However, without proper reinforcement, which may be as simple as adding a couple of layers of glass, the laminate will eventually fatigue and fail.

Deeper cracks in the gelcoat need to be ground out, filled with thickened epoxy and then either painted or gelcoated.
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The cracks for the most part are just under the stanchions, which is common right?
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That probably means the deck has some problems and that water has gotten in the core, if the deck is cored there. Do the stanchions have solid backing plates under where they are mounted? If not, I would take the stanchions off and check the deck beneath. If the deck is sound—without core or without core problems—sand the gelcoat, and re-gelcoat the top before remounting the stanchions. When you re-mount the stanchions, and add a decent size backing plate of stainless steel, aluminum, fiberglass or epoxy-coated marine plywood. If you use anything but the stainless, add fender washers. If the deck is cored—pot the holes after drilling them out oversized and then re-drill the fastener holes through the thickened epoxy you use to pot the holes. I also like to counter sink the fastener holes a tiny bit to allow the sealant to form an o-ring type seal.
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So which product should someone with cracks use to fill back in the gelcoat or epoxy? I'm keen on epoxy myself and re-painting over, since my deck is Camel and I wanted white anyhow... Which epoxy is considered good for this purpose?

I had several cracks just from weathering and neglect, so perhaps there is a third cause? or is that considered crazing?
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A question from the cheap skate...

What is the difference between gel coat and supplies from the specialty store and a fiberglass shower refinishing kit from the home improvement store?
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I'd use either MAS or West Systems epoxy with a chopped fiberglass filler to fill the cracks. IIRC, you can gelcoat over epoxy, provided you scrub the amine blush off the surface. West Systems has aan article on doing it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lancer28 View Post
So which product should someone with cracks use to fill back in the gelcoat or epoxy? I'm keen on epoxy myself and re-painting over, since my deck is Camel and I wanted white anyhow... Which epoxy is considered good for this purpose?

I had several cracks just from weathering and neglect, so perhaps there is a third cause? or is that considered crazing?
The gelcoat you get from the bathtub repair kit isn't probably as UV resistant as the stuff you get from the specialty shop, since the UV exposure a bathtub gets is minimal.

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A question from the cheap skate...
What is the difference between gel coat and supplies from the specialty store and a fiberglass shower refinishing kit from the home improvement store?
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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