Oops...I think I stripped some gelcoat - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 10 Old 04-23-2016 Thread Starter
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Oops...I think I stripped some gelcoat

The previous owner put a barrier coat on my transom-hung rudder and was very sloppy about it, splashing a lot well above the water line. I wanted to clean it up a bit so I masked off a line about 2" above the waterline and put some citrus based paint stripper on. When I scraped it off it didn't do that great a job taking off the paint, but it sure seemed to take off the gelcoat...

So...what do I do? I'm only moderately worried about aesthetics. I have West System epoxy on hand, can I just spread some epoxy over the damaged area? Some sort of paint?

Thanks in advance.

I'm attaching two pictures, one is closeup with harsh side-lighting to emphasize the texture.
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Gelcoat closeup.jpg   Gelcoat damage.jpg  

Catalina 22
on a starboard tack

Last edited by Minnesail; 04-23-2016 at 02:39 PM.
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post #2 of 10 Old 04-23-2016
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Re: Oops...I think I stripped some gelcoat

Are you saying it took off the barrier coat--which is paint-- or the actual gelcoat?

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Ambition is a poor excuse for not having enough sense to be lazy ~ Steven Wright
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post #3 of 10 Old 04-23-2016
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Re: Oops...I think I stripped some gelcoat

It's always hard to tell from a photo, but it looks like you used a chemical stripper that was made to strip house paint, or something other than paint on a gelcoated fiberglass boat. Those ordinary paint strippers are much too aggressive and can dissolve gelcoat. I did that once over a small area.

You still have to remove old paint and barrier coat. There are chemical paint strippers that will do that without damaging any more gelcoat. I would suggest you google "paint stripper for gelcoated fiberglass" and you'll get products and advice for DIYers. After you strip away all the old materials, then you have to replace the dissolved gelcoat, to smooth the surface again. You can do that with epoxy, or other available marine underwater fillers.
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post #4 of 10 Old 04-23-2016 Thread Starter
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Re: Oops...I think I stripped some gelcoat

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Originally Posted by arf145 View Post
Are you saying it took off the barrier coat--which is paint-- or the actual gelcoat?
Doh! The actual gelcoat. I edited my post so it now says what I actually meant.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailormon6 View Post
You still have to remove old paint and barrier coat. There are chemical paint strippers that will do that without damaging any more gelcoat. I would suggest you google "paint stripper for gelcoated fiberglass" and you'll get products and advice for DIYers. After you strip away all the old materials, then you have to replace the dissolved gelcoat, to smooth the surface again. You can do that with epoxy, or other available marine underwater fillers.
Like this?
BACK TO NATURE
Marine Paint Remover



Then once the rest of the paint is off I could seal it with some West System epoxy? That will stick to whatever Catalina used to build up the rudder?

Catalina 22
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post #5 of 10 Old 04-23-2016
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Re: Oops...I think I stripped some gelcoat

Minne-
I've had that same "safe organic" orange creamy stuff take the coating off all sorts of things that I least expected. Welcome to the club.
Depending on your aesthetics and free time? I'd use white marintex first. Fill in the damage, sand it down (covering with some "Teflon" or mold release will help get it smooth) and see how bad it still looks. If it doesn't match well enough to ignore, the "guaranteed" cure is probably to just bite the bullet and repaint the transom. Take the opportunity to move any fittings and repaint the name and hailing port exactly as you want.
PITA, but it beats repainting a hull side, right?
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post #6 of 10 Old 04-26-2016
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Re: Oops...I think I stripped some gelcoat

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Originally Posted by Minnesail View Post
I haven't used that product, so can't say. When it comes to chemical paint strippers, don't be too put off by negative reviews that complain that it doesn't work very well. Many people don't understand that it takes time for them to break down the old paint. I recommend putting on 2-3 applications, or more, and give each application time to work before trying to scrape it off. If you aren't patient, you'll find that it will only soften one or two layers of old paint, but the layers beneath will still be adhering.


Quote:
Then once the rest of the paint is off I could seal it with some West System epoxy? That will stick to whatever Catalina used to build up the rudder?
You could, but, like hellosailor, I have had good success with Marinetex.
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post #7 of 10 Old 04-26-2016
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Re: Oops...I think I stripped some gelcoat

Second the West System.

Every stripper I've tried has broken my heart. To harsh or don't do as promised and there is always a big mess in the end. Now I do it the old fashioned way, by hand.
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post #8 of 10 Old 04-27-2016 Thread Starter
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Re: Oops...I think I stripped some gelcoat

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Every stripper I've tried has broken my heart. To harsh or don't do as promised and there is always a big mess in the end. Now I do it the old fashioned way, by hand.
The instructions say
Quote:
Hints: Let the stripper work for you.
Well that just makes sense.

Then it gets weird
Quote:
Give the stripper proper time to penetrate.
Maybe I got the wrong kind of stripper...

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post #9 of 10 Old 04-27-2016
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Re: Oops...I think I stripped some gelcoat

Ever been to Phuket?

https://youtu.be/x0bC__I-Lqs

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post #10 of 10 Old 04-28-2016
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Re: Oops...I think I stripped some gelcoat

Had petit spray cans on the underwater metals. Wanted to convert to Velox plus. Required bare metal so tried several different types of safe for fiberglass chemical strippers. All were totally ineffective. Maybe too cold here or I didn't wait long enough but none had any effect at all.
Ended up sanding which was very time consuming as many spots were inaccessible to even a dremel. Did hit the barrier coat in some small areas (a few inches) with power tools before biting bullet and going to just hand sanding. Wanted adequate thickness of barrier and a smoother fairing at junction of metal to glass. Used the two part Interlux 2000e product. Found you could modify with 2333n. So used it straight to build up thickness, sanded, then again a coat, sanded, then thinned. Step off between strut and hull gone. Good barrier coat every where. Holds paint well.
So if your areas are not too deep may want to go with that product. That way you can go with just one product. Can get it real smooth for a good cosmetic result. Depending on color and what you want may even get away with not painting over it.

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