Catalina "smooth" gel coat has a pebble grain texture. Is this normal? - SailNet Community
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Question Catalina "smooth" gel coat has a pebble grain texture. Is this normal?

Greetings all -- I'm working on a 1986 Catalina 24, trying to buff out the topside fiberglass, which is quite oxidized. What's weird is that the gel coat, even in the nominally "smooth" areas has a definite texture to it. It's sort of like really bad orange peel on a car. Because of this, it's really hard to buff the gel coat to any real shine.

This boat seems partly neglected, and partly suffering from overly aggressive cleaning along the way. (Current owner mentioned the use of Soft Scrub and also bleach.) Leaves me wondering if I'm seeing where the gel coat has been damaged.

Has anyone else encountered this or something similar? I don't want to risk wet sanding the existing gel coat to smooth it up, because who knows how much gel coat thickness is still there on an older boat.

Would appreciate any suggestions or thought.

Mark
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Re: Catalina "smooth" gel coat has a pebble grain texture. Is this normal?

Could the gelcoat have been painted? LP paint can be pretty hard, but could be destroyed by buffing, etc.


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Re: Catalina "smooth" gel coat has a pebble grain texture. Is this normal?

They made a Catalina 24?
Siamese and Minnesail like this.

MINI MOO, a 1983 Wavelength 24 - she's a fast cow!
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Re: Catalina "smooth" gel coat has a pebble grain texture. Is this normal?

Look for a chip in the gelcoat, that might help tell how thick it is. Some flat surfaces on my Boat show some print through from the cloth but only with the sun just right. I would get the topsides as shiny as possible and the deck benefits from a little non slip from a less than perfect shine.
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Re: Catalina "smooth" gel coat has a pebble grain texture. Is this normal?

Hmm. The owner didn't say the boat had been painted, but I didn't ask. As far as length, he described the boat as a 24, and she looks about that length. Will double check.

Another interesting wrinkle on this boat is one of the owners washed the topsides with bleach, and now the foredeck is quite yellowed. I'm going to try my usual boat soap and see what happens. Any thoughts on what bleach might have done to older gelcoat?

Thanks, Mark
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Re: Catalina "smooth" gel coat has a pebble grain texture. Is this normal?

I'd find it surprising, if a single wash with bleach did anything noticeably destructive. Many use it to recover from a mold infestation. However, common advice is to not use bleach repeatedly. It's a harsh chemical, which will ultimately dull the gelcoat and I wouldn't be surprised if it could alter the pigment in the gelcoat over time. If it did the later, it's permanent, I'm afraid.

If you determine is was not painted, maybe it's some sort of tanic staining, which is more likely if around the waterline. Oxalic acid or On-Off should take that off fairly easily. Wax it up well afterward, if this works, as the old gel coat needs to be sealed to deter it from recurring.

If still a problem, you may want to resort to a wet sanding, compounding, buffing regimen to see if you can restore the flat portions of gel coat. I know of no way to effectively restore permanently damaged non-skid, other than grinding it down and re-applying a replacement. It would have to be very, very, very bad for me to even consider doing that.


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Re: Catalina "smooth" gel coat has a pebble grain texture. Is this normal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
I'd find it surprising, if a single wash with bleach did anything noticeably destructive. Many use it to recover from a mold infestation. However, common advice is to not use bleach repeatedly. It's a harsh chemical, which will ultimately dull the gelcoat and I wouldn't be surprised if it could alter the pigment in the gelcoat over time. If it did the later, it's permanent, I'm afraid.

If you determine is was not painted, maybe it's some sort of tanic staining, which is more likely if around the waterline. Oxalic acid or On-Off should take that off fairly easily. Wax it up well afterward, if this works, as the old gel coat needs to be sealed to deter it from recurring.

If still a problem, you may want to resort to a wet sanding, compounding, buffing regimen to see if you can restore the flat portions of gel coat. I know of no way to effectively restore permanently damaged non-skid, other than grinding it down and re-applying a replacement. It would have to be very, very, very bad for me to even consider doing that.
Bleach is bad for your stainless as well. Cleans that invisible protection that salt water wash will not.
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Re: Catalina "smooth" gel coat has a pebble grain texture. Is this normal?

if it is not smooth then it has been coated with a paint or gelcoat or some material has be eroded away. it was smooth when it came out of the mold. sounds like it may be painted. gelcoat when sprayed always comes out orange peel finish and needs to be wet sanded to be smooth. when eroded it has a surface like concretes the solids are worn away. is the whole boat this way or just in areas? if you have not already, read this thread by Mainsail it is the right way to do stand the best polish compounds to use.
https://www.sailnet.com/forums/gear-...olish-wax.html

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Re: Catalina "smooth" gel coat has a pebble grain texture. Is this normal?

You may be able to learn something using a light.
If painted, should be a primer between gelcoat and paint
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Re: Catalina "smooth" gel coat has a pebble grain texture. Is this normal?

Thanks for the suggestions and the thread on polishing fiberglass. Interesting read. Will see what I can accomplish.
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