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Gell Coat cracks... Well the whole damn boat.

18324 Views 43 Replies 20 Participants Last post by  kidcarbon
So my boat is getting to the point where i want to rework the upper decks.

I have two problems , one is the boat is 40 years old and the gell coat has seen better days the second is that someone applied cheep paint over it and its cracking and flaking too.
So do i strip it down to glass and re do it all?
smooth it as much as possible and fill it?
or just go over it?

P.S. these holes are no longer there. I have redone them and they are the best spots on my deck as of now.

Thank you all for your time and for putting up with all my dumb questions.:)
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Only approach that will work is to sand off all cracked gel-coat. Maybe use chemical stripper on the paint on top of it first. 60 grit paper works fast-if you do apply high-build epoxy after[a good idea] scratches will easily be filled. Keeping all surfaces fair can be tough-it helps to have a selection of hard sanding blocks with profiles that fit your boats molded radius -easy to make from cut-offs of plywood or foam core.
Looking at pics,no way to only remove individual cracks,it's all cracked! That gelcoat is,or was, done. If it was a boat bottom,or maybe even topsides, rolling on clear epoxy could help ensure a heavy moisture barrier and be easy to apply to large,flat surfaces. But I see it as unnecessary, and way too difficult to achieve good results on deck. Please don't glass over gelcoat! Should not even apply clear epoxy over any gelcoat...if you must,sand it a bit,close one eye, andprime and paint over it. The new work will probably telegraph the old cracks but it may take a while,and surely would still be huge improvement over present condition.
Lots of repair methods discussed in this thread. Thougt IMHO most[that may not be successful] could actually take longer, and be more difficult, than what always works! I refer to removal of all gelcoat-on a small sailboat[say under 32 ft.]with the right sander and sandpaper can be accomplished over a couple of long weekends. The equipment is key-you need a powerful sander with a random-orbit action and just the right grit[this has to be trial and error based on hardness and thickness of gelcoat.]But 60 grit is usually about right. Don't waste your time on a low HP palm sander,save that for sanding the primer that you can roll on all surfaces to replace the gelcoat. There are always lots of areas that need hand-work,but if sanding blocks and next heavier grits of paper are used,then you'll still get job done.I don't remove every tiny bit of gelcoat,esp. in tight spots. If you greatly diminish the visibility of the cracks, even if not totally removed-then if cracks return the will be much fainter than otherwise.
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