Water Slides and the Importance of Gel Coat Repair

Got a scrape, crack, or soft deck on your power boat or sailboat? Here’s a quick, easy fix that will save you money. There are many different ways to go about the repair, but the following method works and is not too difficult to master. Now let’s get started.

The first thing to do while beginning the repair is to wash the damaged area with water and soap and then rinse it. If you find the surface oxidized, you’ll need to restore it for which you’ll be using a rubbing compound in order to match the color with some degree of accuracy. After the cleaned surface is dry, mark it off with some masking tape.

The next thing is to gouge out all the small and narrow cracks that were much too deep for removal with help of the rubbing compound until they become wide enough for filling up with the gel coat paste. Ideally, use a miniature grinding tool such as Dremel, however, in the absence of one, the sharp end of a regular can opener will do as well. The point is to open the crack enough to be able to shove the gel coating inside the damaged area, or at least to expose enough of the damaged region for the repair to stick to it. After this, sand the area lightly using a 220-grit sandpaper. Once the area is suitably sanded, use acetone to properly clear the area of any sanding residue and wax which might break the bond between the gel-coat and the damaged region. When working with a substance such as acetone, be cautious and use proper protection that ensures the safety of your skin and eyes.

Now the next task is to match the color of the existing gel-coat. In this case, we suggest that you begin with a neutral gel paste (don’t use resin), and then add a coloring agent in small quantities. You should mix multiple test batches of pigment and gel coat, then add hardener and permit them to cure and observe the color of the batches. You’ll find the gel coat changing color as the curing process takes place. An exact match will be almost impossible, so settle for an acceptable difference, then mix the final batch in the same ratio.

Then, with help of a putty knife add the paste to the areas that need repair. You’ll have to force any air holes out and be sure to overfill since the gel-coat will be shrinking during curing. After you’re done filling, seal off the repair area from contact with air using a PVA curing agent or else a piece of any plastic wrap.

After you find that the gel-coat has cured completely, start sanding the repair area to give it a smooth finish. You’ll find wet sanding particularly effective with gel coat. Again, begin with 220-grit sandpaper and then move on to 400- or else 600- grit paper if you’re looking for a better finish. The last step is to apply good quality marine polish to the repaired area, and then you’re done!

If the above method doesn’t work for you, you need to contact a professional repair company to do the job for you. Slide Rite is a premiere Water Park & Water Slide Restoration & Repair Company specializing in getting you back in the water and getting the gel coat repair! Call 1-844-SLD-RITE