A new season and a fresh look for the sacred boat fit well together. In contrast to any “muck,” such as overtaking the engine or exchanging the boat stalls, a glittering appearance is not witchcraft, and secondly, the admiration of the Stegnachbarn admiration and perhaps even envious glances. Before you go into the adventure, however, you have to pay attention to a few basic points, so that the final result is achieved. Read our advisors on spring cleaning and how they can start the new season with a completely clean boat.
THE FOUR STEPS TO A PERFECT-SURFACE FINISH:
- Washing – only when the surface is really clean, it can be polished and sealed afterward.
- Grinding – if the surface is already old and correspondingly dull or worn, must be ground before polishing. Select the abrasive or the paste as finely as possible to preserve the intact gel coat.
- Polishing – wait until polishing is complete before applying polish. When working with a polishing machine, care must be taken that the attachment does not develop too much heat due to too much pressure or excessive rotational speed!
- Sealing – the polished hull must be protected at the end either with UV-resistant wax or silicone products. Apply thinly, allow to cure according to the manufacturer’s instructions and then pass to final polishing.
Gelcoat is the protective outer skin of GRP laminates, which is originally about 1.5 thin and becomes dull and dull by oxidation over the years. Particularly endangered here are darker colors, which are particularly affected by environmental influences, such as the UV light of the sun, dirt or salt water. Also, there is still wear and tear through normal use. The same folding offenders on the side walls, make sure that a well-groomed boat has an imperfect cosmetic. Looking at such surfaces through a microscope, they appear anything but smooth. Buckles and indentations by broken out pieces enlarge the surface and offer dirt a much better attack surface. Scratched surfaces are also conceivable for the reflection of light.
KEEP AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
The first rule is: Get as much as possible of the existing substance. And that is all the easier, the new the boat is and the better the gel coat is still in the shot. The small holes can then be filled with a polish or wax and smoothed. Looks good and protects the boat against harmful environmental influences and further pollution. Anyone who takes this into account from the outset will have a lot of pleasure with a smooth and reflective outer skin with relatively little effort.
If the damage is deeper than 1.5 mm, it must be used in a more drastic way, such as a grinding paste, which removes the excesses remaining between the scratches, so that luster is restored. When it is time, experienced owners can be told of an examining look; others may have to ask the advice of a professional. This is a kind of last resort before you have to paint the boat, a rather expensive deal, especially since you should hire or have professionals. The following applies: Start with fine-grained means, to remove as little as possible and only then to refer to coarse if the desired success does not occur.
POLISHING WITH THE RIGHT PRODUCTS
Before the seriousness of the cosmetics, the most difficult task is to do it all: cleaning! It is not just about removing dirt with special cleaners (please use biodegradable products), but also of old polishes or wax, to create a clean surface. Then rinse thoroughly with fresh water. If the gel coat is still intact, a polish without abrasive can be applied after the drying process to get the maximum residual luster from the existing substance.
However, abrasive areas (under the fenders) will require a sanding treatment. Likewise, on deck, which is particularly exposed to the sun’s rays. The experienced gel coat caregiver will always test a product for its effectiveness in a badly visible place, before working on larger and prominent places. If grinding polishing is used, the final sealing of the surface should be carried out with UV-resistant Teflon or wax products. Please make sure that none of these agents contain silicone because the adhesion of other care products or lacquer is thereby greatly reduced.
CHECK THE WEATHER!
In cold or rain, polishing makes no more sense than in glowing heat. If you are talking to professionals, you will know that depending on temperature and humidity, they use different products. It is also advisable to avoid polishing in the blazing sun because the product dries too quickly on a warm surface and hinders the distribution. Often, the owner is often seen in the autumn after the boat is washed out and washed when the sun is no longer so strong, and it is relatively warm during the day. In winter storage in a hall it would be, but depending on the work done on the surrounding boats, there may be too much dust. If the boat is in the open, the seal in the autumn makes a good protection against the winter weather.
MORE COMFORT THROUGH COMBINATION
Good results when applying matte Gelcoat surfaces need two ingredients: patience and spit. Often, several work steps are required that lengthen the process, which is why resourceful manufacturers offer products that do several steps at once, to simplify and shorten the procedure. Grinding, polishing and sealing in a wash-up. This works, but it is and will always be a compromise. Combi-plasters initially carry the surface like fine abrasive paper, but they become the polishing agent as soon as the abrasive particles are consumed or ground. Sounds good and works, but if such a product is used on a surface that requires only a seal, such as in the case of newer boats, there is the risk of unintentional scratching.
MUSCLE OR MOTOR?
Anyone who is in a hurry will tend to machine polishing, but caution, which can have undesirable consequences if one is wrong with one of a polishing machine. And it also costs accordingly, because it should be strong and also slow, rotates (1500 rpm or less), to avoid overheating of the polished surface, which almost with a fast-turning Flex (approx. 10,000 rpm) is preprogrammed. Professionals, of course, have expensive professional machines because they need them every day for their jobs, but hobbyists, who only once or twice a year have their hand on the gel coat of their boat, pay so a 500 euro device as a rule not from. Do not worry, because you can borrow one or go back to the beginnings and work by hand with an old, but a clean cotton shirt. If this is too cumbersome, you can also use a special handgrip with ergonomically shaped handle, in which the polishing attachment can be changed. This saves force and distributes the print better than a blended t-shirt. No matter how, when manually reworking large fuselage surfaces, it is advisable to have an assistant who starts polishing while you are still applying the product, because this is faster, and secondly, it is prevented between the two operations too much time elapses, during which the product dries with the result afterwards also perhaps less perfect looks. This saves force and distributes the print better than a blended t-shirt. No matter how, when manually reworking large fuselage surfaces, it is advisable to have an assistant who starts polishing while you are still applying the product, because this is faster, and secondly, it is prevented between the two operations too much time elapses, during which the product dries with the result afterwards also perhaps less perfect looks. This saves force and distributes the print better than a blended t-shirt. No matter how, when manually reworking large fuselage surfaces, it is advisable to have an assistant who starts polishing while you are still applying the product, because this is faster, and secondly, it is prevented between the two operations too much time elapses, during which the product dries with the result afterwards also perhaps less perfect looks.
PURE PRINTING MATTER
Another word about the pressure of the polishing machine, which should be carefully dosed, because of the more pressure, the more heat. And the more heat, the more offensive react the abrasive or polish product and the treated surface. Special care is required with lamp holder kits, as they are often used for the last operation with which the high-gloss finish is produced. If you work with too much pressure or high revolutions here, the surface heats up too much, which could compromise the previous work steps and, unfortunately, the most desired surface finish. Therefore, move the polishing machine frequently circularly and replace the polishing head with a clean one every 15 to 20 minutes. (As a rule, the covers can be washed after use).
Conclusion: A beautifully polished gel coat dress is available to every ship and can be realized with a reasonable amount of time and money in most cases also by the layman. Prerequisites for this are the right equipment, the appropriate products and a dry, clean work environment that should neither be too hot nor too cold.