Kevlar kayak clear gelcot hull

-- Last Updated: Aug-08-15 9:53 PM EST --

I have a kevlar kayak that had a clear finish on the bottom not sure it was gelcoat but the clear finish is just about gone. What is there now is non shiny whitish hull that is in really good shape but could use a shine. I just bought the boat and want to try it out but have some concern that without the finish the hull might be porous. I am willing to wait on the refinishing if it does no harm to use it as it is. I could just try it and see. Any idea appreciated.

Thank you

It sounds like oxidized gelcoat
The first thing to do is to contact the manufacturer and ask them what the clear exterior coating is. If it’s gelcoat and it’s not too severely damaged, you can bring it back to the original clarity and shine by wet-sanding with 400 grit, following by buffing it with rubbing compound and polishing compound.

One important caveat is that light boats often have very thin gelcoat and it’s possible to sand right through it. If you’re concerned try using just the two compounding steps and see what the results are.

If the kevlar is exposed in places, be aware that it absorbs moisture more so than glass fibers. Exposed areas should be gelcoated or some equivalent.

Gel coat?
If the finish is gel coat, the first step would probably be to repair any scratches, gouges, chips, etc. with a compatible gel. Then the finishing starts. You can start on the repaired areas with 400 grit, but very lightly just to approximate level with the rest of the finish. I would switch to 600 wet, then 1000, 1500 and 2000. Buff with a very mild polishing compound like Turtle Wax swirl and scratch remover. Work small areas at a time and use a very slow speed buffer with a foam pad.

You’re right…
…about running through the grits progressively before attempting to do the final buffing and polishing. I don’t know why I didn’t specify that.