Gel coat touch up questions ?

when touching up some gel coat scratches with a gel coat that matches the color:

1.what do you use for a applicator?

2. is there any sanding to be done after it drys

3. Any hints or tips?

Thanks in advance,


for deep gouges
Some folks like to layer many applications. I prefer to make one mix, gob it in, then cover with wax paper to make the surface smooth. The next step, if you want cosmetic perfection, is to sand and then use polishing compound.

Honestly, I have never had (or really needed) perfect results. The wax paper saves a lot of sanding.

try Brian’s suggestions
I’ve got links and text related here:

These are just minor cosmetic …
scratches on my wife’s kayak.

Would just using polishing compound work rather than using the gel coat?


Couple of things.
When you mix up the gel coat, tap the mixing cup against a counter top or table top for a minute or two to minimize the air bubbles that may have gotten in there when you were mixing in the hardener.

For light to medium scratches/gouges I usually use a toothpick to lay the gel coat mix into the crack a number of times till the liquid gel coat mounds up above the surrounding surface. Cover over with foil, wax paper, etc. to block out the o2 and make for a hard cure. Sand with light sand paper and if you want to do some cosmetic work sand w/even finer and finish with polishing compound and a buffing wheel.

Oh, have a warm place to do this. Cold weather repairs obviously take longer.

See you on the water,


Good short article in Seakayaker Mag

– Last Updated: Nov-21-06 11:52 AM EST –

See Brian Day's article, "Gel-Coat Repair for Mortals," in the Feb '06 Seakayaker mag. Also online at

Not sure
My repairs have mostly been very utilitarian. I suspect polishing would work, but really don’t know. Sorry.


Yes, for minor, not deep, scratches and scuffs you don’t need to re gel-coat. I have not had real good luck with rubbing compound unless I use a power polisher with it. I use 600/800 grit wet paper and get good results. The gel is not uniform thickness everywhere on your boat. So, you have to try each place as if it were the first.


If you do apply some gelcoat
instead of using sandpaper to smooth off the high spots consider a cabinet scraper instead.

It will make short work of excess gelcoat with no dust in the air and the results are smooth enough you won’t need any more sanding or polishing unless you’re a real fanatic.

About 5 bucks at Lee Valley.


JackL…When I buy a used boat,
I expect to see damage and repairs. The more invisible you make the repairs, the more suspicious I, the buyer, will be.

When I sell a used boat…
I sell it as is, and believe me mine have plenty of dings, scratches and scrapes.

All of them will remain the way they are too.

Also, in the past when I have sold a boat, I’ll point out to the buyer any faults the boat has.

You reap what you sow!!!



Gel Coat repair articles
Go to this site and on the right is a 4 part article on Gel Coat work.

When time,money and descerning customers
s count this is how its done… or call me you know when Jack : )

Lots of helpfull links here
I’ve repaired gelcoat excactly once. Used a dremmel to clean and smooth the gouge, applied in one coat, used the mylar that came with the kit and rubbed it out with some polishing compound, then hit it with some marine wax. It wasn’t as difficult as I anticipated.

good luck
I have done a perfect repair of my bow that was impossible to see, except the colour never matches exactly. even using th emanufactures gel. UV will change the colour of the gel, and I suspect there is also a dark reaction to the chemistry of Gelcoat. the older th egel is that you are trying to match the more of a challenge.

My advice is give Nanci a glass of wine, and a pair of sunglasses and tell her you fixed the boat. Any problems blame me!

Fiberglass repair
In most cases you can do it yourself:

  • sand out larger scratches with 100 grit sandpaper wrapped around a butter knife

    -clean area and all other scratches with acetone,

    -mix gel and catalyst, apply with a cotton swab,

    -cover with wax paper, let dry at least four hours

    -sand down to surface with 80 grit, or build to surface and re-apply more gel(lightly sand first to roughen then clean and apply gel)

    -when U have the gel smooth to surface, sand with 160, then 260, then 1000 or higher by hand,
  • then polish with soft cloth and a marine wax to a high lustre, including areas where acetone toched finish.