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Refinishing A Fiberglass Boat


Few things on your boat will give it that original luster quite like the quality of its fiberglass. Yet this material can be tricky to deal with. There’s paint to consider, and then there’s the gel coat. It’s more than just a material you need to clean every so often. That’s why we’ve put together a brief guide on what you’ll need to know when refinishing a fiberglass boat.

Repaint Or Refinish?

It might not sound like such an important distinction at first, but the question gets to the heart of just how much work you plan to do with your fiberglass. Refinishing a gel coat, for instance, can be relatively pain-free if you have experience and the right tools at your disposal. Going underneath the gel coat for a full repainting is a highly involved DIY project that can sometimes require the assistance of a professional.

To restore your boat’s luster, it may be possible to get away with a refinish. But keep in mind for older boats, a repainting might be in order as well.

Tips For Dealing With Fiberglass

Refinishing your fiberglass boat means working primarily with fiberglass. Here are a few tidbits you’ll need to know:

  • Fiberglass often requires unique cleaners to ensure you completely remove stains and oxidation. Although a general cleaner can do a lot, a dedicated Fiberglass Powder Cleaner is specifically designed to refinish the look of your fiberglass hull.
  • The gel coat is the resin on the surface of your fiberglass, meant to protect it long-term. Generally, refinishing a fiberglass boat involves replacing this gel coat to ensure that the coat looks smooth and continues to protect your fiberglass. When you clean in between refinishing sessions, it’s important to use products that will not harm the gel coat.
  • Repainting a boat is a great way to get it to look like new, but as mentioned above, it will involve a lot more work. Before you try that, it might be a better idea to polish and wax your boat. A properly polished and waxed hull can last up to three years when you use both LifeWax and PolyShine.
  • If your boat is in relatively good shape but needs a cosmetic update, it might be a good idea to use Color Restorer instead of trying the full-on refinish. Color Restorer can remove oxidation, chalking, and even fading, which gives much of your boat that “just refinished” appearance—without the painstaking work involved with an entire professional refinish.

Although we can’t tell you what your boat needs, these tips will go a long way in properly addressing the quality of your fiberglass.

Properly Handling Your Boat’s Fiberglass

Fiberglass might be complicated when it comes to boats. But it’s not rocket science, either. It only takes some time, a little research, and the dedication to using the right boat cleaning and maintenance products to ensure that you always have a boat that looks like new.

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