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Gelcoat Restoration

What is Gelcoat?

Gelcoat is the outermost structural layer on a fiberglass boat hull, designed to protect the underlying fiberglass layers. Gelcoat is a compound that produces a high-quality finish on fiberglass surfaces Gelcoat uses epoxy, polyester resin, a catalyst, and other chemicals to achieve its strength and water-resistant properties. Gelcoat combines with fiberglass to produce a smooth and durable surface that retards hull weakening from water intrusion and ultraviolet light.

Fiberglass, on the other hand, is the basic structural material that gives boat hulls their shape and strength. It is composed of a plastic matrix and polymers, reinforced by fine fibers of glass that combines lightweight and inherent strength to provide a water- and weather-resistant finish.

Gelcoat is prone to dings, gouges, scratches, and deterioration over time. It is usually pigmented to match the hull color and is available as both a resin and a thicker, putty form, called paste. Spider cracks in gelcoat that radiate from joints or intersections in cabin, deck, or hull surfaces can appear, which may indicate weaknesses in the underlying fiberglass, often evidenced by popping or cracking sounds when underfoot. Another gelcoat problem is blistering, which generally indicates water intrusion under the gelcoat.

Gelcoat Gallery

View additional photos of our gelcoat work in these galleries below