Join the discussion 44 Comments

  • pettyofficerp says:

    Andy,

    I restore boats back to their glory for fun! LOL, does that mean I am crazy? Probably.
    Anyways, I love Duratec/Hawkeye products. I have used gallons and gallons of their products.
    I wish they where better at educating their customers on how to more efficiently use Duratec products.
    My current project is a Tartan 34 and would like to add a gelcoat design for visual interest.
    Do you have any thoughts on what is the easiest and or the best way to accomplish this mission?

    Keep the vids coming, they are great!

  • Tim Wakefield says:

    Great help, Thanks alot

  • Brad says:

    Hi

    I had a question. Is there any household item that can be used to cure laminating resin or gel coat. I can’t get pva shipped here and the Surfacing agent I just bought was old.

    Do you know of anything?

    • ~Andy says:

      Surfacing wax shouldn’t ever go old; other options yes but wax should be good for many years after production. I’d maybe look more at the age of the catalyst or resin. Those are only good for about a year. Other problem may be temps your working in. Poly resins need to be in 65F or warmer during the cure cycle which could last up to 24 hours…

  • Max says:

    I was wondering how well a foam roller would work in applying gel coat. I know with regular paints (interior/exterior) from personal experience that a foam roller leaves an extremely smooth finish. I’ve used them before laying poly urethane on woodwork and many could not tell I did not spray it, even without hours of steel wool, and polishing.

    I’ve heard of people using cellophane or wax paper to allow laminating gel coat to cure. Any thoughts on this method?

  • Rich Green says:

    Andy,
    I really like your videos. You are very good at teaching. Thanks for the info.

    I have a question regarding gelcoat repair on my 1999 Maristar. My boat is a tan with a big black stripe. What would be the best way to fix an area that is half tan and half black? Thanks.

  • Baldimar Rios says:

    Andy, I wanted to ask you about some questions that keep me concerned a lot. These questions have to do when someone sprays gel coat. I have read your comments above and you say not to add a WAX ADDITIVE to your gel coat, that you use Duratec Clear Gloss Additive. The company that makes Duratec also says not to use wax in the mix. But the place where I am going to buy my gel coat recommends using Duratec Clear Gloss Additive and using STYRENE WAX for work done with gel coat below the waterline. Now my other question has to do with temperature and gel coat. I live close to the gates of hell in the summer time, Las Vegas Nevada were it’s a cool 100-105 degrees in the shade. Would you still catalyze gel coat at 2 percent when using Duratec, or would you recommend me to catalyze at a lower percent because of the higher temp. I hope you have the time to answer my questions.

    • ~Andy says:

      Hi Baldimar,

      First thing to remember is that Duratec is not to be used below the waterline; ever…. It is for above waterline applications only. In those situations it’s best to use straight laminating gel thinned with styrene to help with the spray. After it has set up, then go over that with PVA (poly vinyl alcohol). Evercoat is one company that makes this and I’m guessing that the composite store you’re buying materials from carries this.

      ** At no point should wax be mixed with duratec; it will mess up the cure..

      For your project, use the gel as I described above, catalyze at 1% and work in smaller batches so you can empty the material before it sets up in the gun. At no point should you under-catalyze resins for the sake of longer working times; you’ll run the risk of it not curing at all :-O

      Hope this helps!

      • Jimmy Spatz says:

        Hi Andy! Love the site all the informative videos You rock!
        I’m about to spray the exterior transom on my boat with new gel. As an alternative to PVA, can I achieve the same desired results using my layup coats with laminating gel, and as a final coat using waxed gelcoat with the wax already mixed in? I own both types of gelcoat, waxed and un-waxed, and do not own any PVA, so this method should also work for me too correct? Will thinning the waxed type gel with styrene cause any issues for a fully hardened cure for use below waterline?

        Thanks!!

        • ~Andy says:

          Nope 🙂 The styrene will evaporate out and not be an issue. Using waxed gel for the last coat will accomplish the same as using PVA.. Good luck!

  • Greg says:

    You had four coats total?
    Did you mix a new batch for each coat?
    I just applied a coat of gelcoat for the first time.
    It set up far too quickly for me to apply four coats, especially if allowing for some “set up” time between each coat.
    It is new material from Express Composites. I carefully measured 2% MEK-P with a syringe, per their instructions and stirred for over a minute. It was not a hot day. I don’t know where I could have gone wrong. Even for the one coat I applied, it was hard to avoid brush strokes. Yes, I did the ‘criss-cross’ 😉

    • ~Andy says:

      Each coat / batch was mixed new, and I only catalyzed what I needed for each coat to avoid waste. Temp plays a big factor in set up time, as does the thickness of the mix in the bucket. For example, 4oz sitting in a cup will set up much faster than 4oz spread thin in a paint tray. Brush strokes are going to be there no matter what you do. The key is to have enough material laid up so that you are able to sand them out without sanding through 🙂

      • Tom Morgan says:

        In the video u mix 4oz of gel coat with 1.25cc of mek-p. That’s what you used for the four coats, or did u mix 4oz’s for each coat?
        Tom

  • Tyson says:

    Hey Andy, Any thoughts on apply gelcoat with a small foam roller? I have a spot on the deck where the hatch was removed, and there’s a bit of a patch there. I applied a coat with a brush, but it left some brush strokes. It’s not an issue to wet sand it out, but I was wondering if a foam roller would work. Thanks!

  • Hey Andy,

    Awesome videos bro! Spent my winter evenings education myself with your wealth of knowledge.

    I took on a project boat last fall 13′ Whaler and I’ve sanded grinded and laid up new fiberglass and faired the whole thing. So I’m finally at the new application of gelcoat stage (recoating the entire hull) and I’d like your advice.
    There’s lots of original gelcoat on the hull but none in the repaired places…would you apply non waxed gelcoat on those areas to build up to existing thickness and then put a waxed coat on top of everything?

    Or what would you do?

    And… how long do you usually wait between coats of gelcoat?

    Can’t wait to hear from you!

    Cheers,

    Howard

    • ~Andy says:

      Hi Howard,

      Honestly with the amount of area you’re looking to coat, I think I’d be leaning towards paint :-). If you’re limited to rolling the gelcoat I’d definitely be looking at paint! Gelcoat is going to end up being 5x the work with little benefit. I believe Pettit and Jamestown make paint colors that are nearly original to the Whaler colors. I’ve not used Jamestowns paint, but can vouch for Pettit ez-poxy. Great stuff and can be rolled / tipped and look awesome! Hope this helps!

      • Sean says:

        Andy,

        I’m about to do the same thing with my project whaler and remain committed to spraying my hull with Gelcoat. Would you be able to answer Howard’s question? I have the same questions – and I’m not afraid of the work involved.

  • mike says:

    I’m making some non structural repairs in 3 of my hatch lids. Namely grinding back and filling the holes where the latch/lock mechanism are. The holes were oval in shape, and measured approx 1 1/2 inches by 3 1/2 inches. I’ve had excellent results thus far thanks to your “Hole in my boat” series when it comes to the resin/cloth/CSM portion of the repair. Unfortunately, I have had mixed results with the gel coat portion. I purchased some laminating gel coat and PVA from West Marine last week, and sometimes the gel coat will cure and sometimes it wont. Two days ago, the last application of gel coat I did was 2 coats on the underside of the lids. I believe I had the MEKP right( 10 drops per ounce), and I waited a whole hour before spraying the PVA. This morning I washed away the PVA and let it dry all day. However, this evening the gel coat felt soft so I tested it with some acetone, and it came right off? The only other variable I can think of is that it was raining the day I applied the gel coat. Any ideas? Thank you

    • ~Andy says:

      I’m guessing the gelcoat is old. I’ve not had good luck with resins from west marine. I always buy from a composite retailer as their turn-over is more frequent. Most resins have a shelf life of a year if properly stored…

      • Ray Leeson says:

        Hi Andy, I’m new to your videos, to be fair I’m new to gelcoat…I have an RV…or motorhome in the u.k which is where I’m based!
        I hope you’re still monitoring these comments because ..truth is, I need a little help!
        I’ve watched your gelcoat repair video and read the above questions…
        Can you tell me if my conclusions are correct..

        1: build up the coats using a new mix for each coat
        2: each coat should be tacky before the next coat is applied…I’m guessing depending on temp this should be an hour or so?
        3: on the last coat, spray PVA onto the tacky surface…

        Question: can I use the PVA neat or mixed with water???

        Regards Ray

  • Kurtis says:

    Hi Andy,

    I’m restoring my 1959 Glasspar Trident and I’m wondering about catalyzing gelcoat when thinning it with styrene for a spray gun. I know that the thinning ratio is between 10-15% maximum, but do I thin and then catalyze? or catalyze, then thin. If I thin and then catalyze, do I take into account the extra volume from the thinner when adding MEKP, or do I catalyze based solely on the volume of gelcoat without the thinner?

  • Stan says:

    Hi Andy,
    I want to shoot white gelcoat over a small area of maroon on my glastron, to redefine a few areas to my liking (long story). Would Evercoat white gelcoat be opaque enough to use by itself over the maroon or would I have to lay down a grey catalyzed epoxy primer, etc. as a base coat of sorts. I’ve sprayed tan gelcoat before and I didn’t use primer but I was simply overcoating cracked tan gelcoat.

    Thanks much & great videos

  • Clint olson says:

    Hello Andy love your vids.

    I have a question on my restore project. It is a c/hawk pilot house. The inside of the house is what I would call rough finish. It’s raw fiberglass with gel coat on it. The question is how should I peep this to roll on a fresh coat. There is really no way to sand it very well because of the rough finish. Any advice?? Thanks Clint

  • Clint olson says:

    Sent you an email thank you

  • Jason says:

    Greetings Andy
    I’ve learned so much from your videos…. I’m doing a large restoration on a 91 mastercraft prostar, the gel coat has seen better days ( crazing, numerous chips, pulled through fasteners) I would like to spray a fresh gel coat on the cap. What do you recommend? I know I will be in for 4 stages of sanding then compound, my big concerns are appearance, durability and repairablity.

    Thank you

    Jason

  • Brian says:

    I have built a bench seat for the house of my boat. glassed the whole thing faired it out and now am ready to finish. It is about 2ft x 8 ft with this much surface area do you thing i would be better off using epoxy paint or gel coat. I will let you know that I used the west system epoxy to lay up the glass.

  • David Fletcher says:

    I will be repairing an area of the hull at and along the waterline of my 40 ft sailboat. It is a long story however the area will faired with 3 m vinyl Ester compound and smooth. To get the best gelcoat top surface should it be sprayed and is so how should it be thinned. The oem gelcoat is .25 to .3p thick. How thick should it be to be due water at or near the aera5

  • Tony Wells says:

    Hi Andy, I live in the UK and am restoring a 17ft Proline center console. The hull is in v good condition as is the walkaround area on the boat apart from lots of small holes that have been filled badly from where attachments were fitted. These have all been dug out and repaired. I am now looking at either painting or re gelcoating the whole inner part of the boat. Any advice would be appreciated. I can spray either.
    Regards
    Tony

  • jay says:

    what about the 3m accuspray gelcoat gun with plastic tip,,,,,,,,and liner,,,,,,,,does it have to be thinned,,,,its seems to be perfect and you dont address this , im am curious as to why?

    • ~Andy says:

      I’ve not used that gun. Most people are not equipped for spraying so I don’t focus too much on that. I try and keep the info and tools within reason for most DIY’ers 🙂

  • Dave Smith says:

    Andy, I’m doing an 18 foot Donzi and have a fully primed hull ready for gelcoat. My plan is to use a Duratec high gloss additive with the gelcoat starting with the first coat is a quick coat of gel code followed by a second coat with 10% additive followed by two more coats with 20% and 50% additive of the high-gloss . After the last coat, I plan to spray PVA over all of it to get a hardened finished. I plan to do all of these back to back to back. I have someone helping me to mix. Any concerns from your side? Maybe some opportunities to streamline?

  • Charles Ruby says:

    Hey Andy, you make great instructional videos, but I have a question. I’m going to attempt you brush application technique for Gel Coat. The surface I am repairing as a Metal Flake embedded. At what point do I mix the Metal Flake in with the Gelcoat. I assume it would be mixed with the initial coat, then all subsequent, coats would be clear Gelcoat. Am I correct?

  • David says:

    Hi Andy,
    Very new to your site and very impressed. I am in the process of redoing the head which includes exposing (so,therefore, have to finish) an interior of the hull previously covered by cabinet. With your good tutorial I plan to gelcoat the exposed area that will remain visible with new layout.

    QUESTION: At 16:46 or so, you say something like “brushing on final gel coat pretty thick, I am getting ripples… This is what I want to see.” What are you showing us here???
    Put it on so thick that it ripples? Put it on so thick it just starts to ripple then brush it out and away so it levels? Let it ripple and set and then you can sand it down?

    I do not get why you want the rippling when in previous coats you put on thinner coats and worked to assure brush marks did not prevent gel coat from leveling and becoming smooth. Thanks,
    David

  • Patrick says:

    Great article. There are a variety of options to spray on gel coat depending on the application. Here is an additional guide on spraying gel coat for those who prefer to try to spray.

  • Eric says:

    Hi Andy, Thanks for your videos and articles.
    I just applied color-matched RAL9001 gelcoat with a brush to some repair spots on one of the side hull fins (chine?) of my 1978 Glastron. It didn’t go smoothly.
    I warmed the garage up to 75 degrees and waited for several hours before mixing up 4 oz of RAL9001 gelcoat with the recommended 2% MEKP. I brushed on as many coats as I could, waiting 3-5 minutes between brush coats. It started to set up on the boat and in the cup after 15 minutes. The surface got pretty ugly and grainy because it was setting up before I was done brushing on layers. Hopefully I got enough buildup so it will be flat after I sand it down, and I won’t have to reapply another layer to smooth out the ugliness.
    What’s the maximum thickness I can expect to achieve with painting on gelcoat? 1/8 inch? 1/16 inch?
    For the PVA step, I got some PVA and a generic plastic trigger sprayer to apply it with. The PVA is so thick that the sprayer could not mist it and it came out in a stream no matter what nozzle setting I used. The stream ended up leaving trails into the gelcoat. Grrrrr. The PVA really made a mess, with the splashing and the dripping.
    Is there a good way to spray on PVA? Can you thin it and spray it?
    Advice please. Thanks!

  • Edward says:

    Sometimes I get small bubbles in my cured Gel Coat,
    I mix my Gelcoat, AirDry, and hardener with my Drill on high speed,
    I assume that’s probably the problem,
    But do you think this is the problem ?
    Or may it be something else?

  • Bobby Rice says:

    Quick question.. I am gel coating my fender on my ranger boat. I’ve got it all sanded down ready to spray.
    When I apply a few layers of the base black should I sand the orange peel surface to a shine before adding the clear with styrene with wax with the glitter?

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