Gelcoat - when to patch

-- Last Updated: Sep-08-09 3:34 PM EST --

I have an Aquanaut with some chips in the gelcoat. Underneath and on the side - small chips (maybe 3/16 in. square) but down to the fiberglass weave. The gelcoat is very thin on the bottom of the hull, like maybe 2 mm. At least in the chipped spot that is.

Is the basic thumb rule to patch gelcoat whenever a chip or scratch goes through to the fiberglass?


patching the Gelcoat
I would patch it when it gets down that far. Not a big job and certianly makes the boat look better. In the long run all the blemishes will cause hull resistance but nothing I would worry about. Remember a slow cure for the gelcoat, don’t rush things.


It’s time to patch it
I wouldn’t wait if there’s exposed glass. I have pics and instructions for gelcoat repair at:

Appreciate the link

– Last Updated: Sep-09-09 9:43 AM EST –

Brian thanks. I've seen your pics, and bookmarked for referenced. I'll patch.

Your repair seemed substantial. Mine is minor, but the gelcoat is so thin on the hull anything beyond a scratch will probably get to glass. I'm hoping this is just a thin spot, and not indicative of the rest of the hull.

Gelcoat should be thin…
… as it’s a purely sacrifical/cosmetic layer that doesn’t add structural strength to the boat. There’s only one British boat builder who still thinks that thick gelcoat (over crappy glass mat) is the way to build durable kayaks (it isn’t). Everyone else in the industry has gone to better quality resilient layups with thin gelcoat that won’t spider crack when the boat flexes. The result is lighter boats that are more durable.