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Boat Maintenance - Gelcoat Oxidation

How to Tell the Severity of Oxidation

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If the surface of your boat appears dull or chalky, it is likely that your gelcoat has oxidized. Gelcoat oxidation is easily remedied in most cases, but may require the hand of a professional if the oxidation is severe.

Signs of Light Oxidation

If your boat's gelcoat is slightly oxidized, most of the surface will be shiny with a few patches of dullness or cloudiness. At this stage of oxidation, a simple oxidation removing compound applied to the hull will remove oxidation and restore the shine.

Signs of Medium Oxidation

The entire surface of the boat will be dull with little reflectivity, and there will be signs of pitting. To remove the oxidation and smooth the pitting, you will need to apply a polishing compound using a circular motion with a machine buffer. The polish, similar to fine sandpaper, removes the pitted surface rather than coating it.

Signs of Heavy Oxidation

The entire surface of the boat will have no reflectivity and may be chalky to the touch - pitting is obvious. At this stage of oxidation, washing, sanding and polishing are required. In most cases though, restoration will mean intense work to restore the shine and may require the attention of a professional. In the worst oxidation cases, the gelcoat may be beyond restoration and painting the boat may be the only option.

The best medicine for gelcoat oxidation is prevention. Follow a simple gelcoat maintenance plan to protect your boat's gelcoat. If you suspect your boat's gelcoat is already oxidized, try these simple tips to remove gelcoat oxidation and restore your boat's gelcoat to its original lustre.

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