6 Steps to Proper Surface Prep for Gelcoat

gelcoat-sandingApplying gelcoat is a process that requires a bit of skill, a lot of know-how and the right tools and materials. So, before you spray or brush the gelcoat on, you want to make sure you prepare the surface you are recoating for the best results.

Step #1 – You will want to start off by cleaning the surface with Lacquer Thinner to remove any wax and oil. The next part of step 1 is sanding the surface with 80 grit sandpaper, like our OEM brand. This will knock all the oxidation and wax from the surface. You do not have to sand it down to raw fiberglass. Make sure you use proper safety equipment, like dust masks.

If you DO have raw fiberglass spots, you are just going to lightly hit those spots to clean them up. These areas will usually require a second coat of gelcoat.

Step #2 – Clean with Acetone or MEK Solvent and let the solvent dry. As soon as it’s dry, you can get started, but don’t wait more than 20 minutes before starting your process.

Step #3 – If you are doing multiple coats of gelcoat, the first coat should not have wax or Sanding Aid in it. If you purchased Interior Gelcoat, it already has wax in it, meaning, if you are applying multiple coats, you will want to wait until the gelcoat is cured and wipe it down with Lacquer Thinner and then sand the gelcoat before applying your second coat.

Step #4 – Mix in your catalyst and apply your gelcoat by either spraying it or brushing it, using our brushable gelcoat. After applying, let it sit for 12 hours before doing anything to it.

Step #5 – Lightly sand the gelcoat with 1200 grit sandpaper or use a compound that is equal to 1200 grit, like our Aqua Buff 2000. Larger blemishes will require a lower grit sandpaper to knock down any high spots.

Step #6 – Apply a wax to give it that factory shine. We sell Farecla, Presta, Flitz and 3M brands that work great.

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