Refinishing fiberglass hull

A coworker purchased a used fiberglass boat this summer.

His first.

The boat is fadded some with the usual chaulky look due to age and outside storage.

My question is what is the best method to try to restore the hull to it’s original appearance as close as possible? I know it can never look as good as new but i’m sure it can be improved upon.

Any advise is wellcome. Thanks in advance.

Auto Body Stores…
…should carry products which are very mildly abrasive rubbing compounds - I’d use this, then follow with a good hard wax. Be sure to test the rubbing compound on a small, inconspicuous area first…

He should be able to remove the
chalkiness with rubbing compound, but it is possible that the color underneath has faded somewhat due to UV. Sometimes a faded appearance can deter theft.

Fiber Glass Hull Restoration:
Has anyone had any actual experience with a product called Poli-Glo on a kayak? I would like an opinion from someone who has actually used this product, rather than second hand information. It sounds interesting. It’s available on the internet. Ken

I’d stay away from the poli-glo. I’ve heard of sailors who used it and had the clear finish peeling up a year later. I’d stick with rubbing compounds and wax. If the gelcoat is too oxidized, then you can always repaint with a Linear Polyurethane, such as Awlgrip.

Polish and Wax
Try the marine polishes and waxes from Meguier’s:

I’ve had good luck using these on fiberglass kayaks, and a friend really spiffed up an old travel trailer practically like new. Sure beats re-gelcoating.

Depending on condition, you’ll probably want to start with the Oxidation Remover, then move on to the polishes and waxes. There’s nothing quite like a coat of hand-rubbed paste wax to really make a boat shine, and help protect it from further damage.

I’ve found these products packaged in affordable sets (three different polishes and waxes) at my local West Marine store, and perhaps some auto-parts retailers.

Good Luck!


I have used Poli-Glo extensively on my sailboat with excellent results. There is a prep wash called Poli-Prep that you use first and then multiple coats (4-6) of the Poli-Glo. It lasts about a year but the instructions recommend renewing it at 6 months (if I remember correctly). I don’t know how it would be on a kayak but would think it would work equally well. There is a magazine called Practical Sailor ( that reviews boating gear and products. They have had several comparisons on various fiberglass maintenance products.

Good Luck,


Thanks Allen. So far the only negatives I have heard, have been from folks that never used the stuff. I think it might be worth a try. According to the web info, you can easily remove it with the prep solution. I’ll post an update when I have given it a fair chance. A kayak is a small enough project to test it on. Ken…

#49 Oxidation Remover found at marine stores works well. I recently removed oxidation from a badly oxidized gel coat using an electric buffer and got very good results.


– Last Updated: Sep-11-08 6:56 AM EST –

I have used the Poli-Glo product with success. You definitely must correctly use the Poli-prep first, and follow all instuctions to the letter in both the prep, and then the application of the Poli-Glo product itself.

Note that it is not a permanent fix. You will have to do it every year. I think you're supposed to do it every 6 months, but I never seem to get around to it that often.

It's not a rocket science product, that is, if you can read and follow directions, it does work and works pretty good too. It's just that it's not permanent and you do have to re-apply.

It will never bring back the original finish so don't expect a "just out of the showroom" look, but it does a really nice job of coming as close as it can.

For specifics, I used it for the first time in 2006 on a 1994 Current Designs Solstice that had always been stored outdoors. I don't think I've ever seen a boat as chalky as mine was. So when I say not to expect a showroom finish, keep in mind that my boat was in tremendously bad shape (cosmetically) by the time I ever used the product. Given the conditions I started with, I was quite pleased with the result. I'm going to say again, however, that you have to do it every year, it's not a permanent fix.

I continue to use the product, because I've tried others and this one seems to do the best job. On a 14 year old well used boat, I cannot expect it to look new, but this product comes as close as I think I can get.

I would suggest, before you use this product, that you try a marine oxidation remover first, followed by a couple of coats of marine wax. If you do not have a heavy oxidation problem (and you ain't seen heavy oxidation until you've seen my Solstice, LOL!) this just may do the trick. On boats less oxidized than my Solstice I've had great luck using the abrasive oxidation remover and then keeping them waxed. This again is not a permanent fix, once a boat is oxidized there is little to keep it from doing it again, but it'll make it look pretty so long as you maintain the upkeep.


I have used polyglow.
It is good stuff, above the waterline. One thing, you will have to re-apply it every year if you store outside. It isn’t a big deal since it dissolves itself. I don’t know if it will last below the waterline. It isn’t designed for that type of use.

You really do need to follow the directions using the poly cleaner first. Just wipe the polyglow on and it dries almost instantly. A few coats will be needed the first time you put it on. From then on, a quick coat each year will touch up the finish.

Thanks Susan,

This is the type of response I was looking for! The cleaning and final prep is done, the product going on. I’ll write a follow up when I have some experience with it. It’s going on an 8 year old Foster Legend that has a deteriorated finish, but is in very sound condition. At this point it looks good, will be used regularly, and stored indoors. Compounding and waxing just didn’t get it. As for repainting with polyurethane paint, that would have doubled my investment. I would have simply bought a new kayak before doing that. If a simple re-application every 8-12 months or so will do the trick, that’s for me.

My thanks to all that have responded, Ken…

The pros here at the marina taught me to use 3-M Imperial Polishing Compound followed by Finesse-It II followed by any good marine wax. You have to use an angle grinder or similar power polisher to get best results.

Keep it waxed to maintain the finish.

Jamestown Distributors sells a kit:

Well, the project is finished, and I must say, it looks great. There were several small gelcoat repairs that were not perfectly color matched, and of course they are still evident, but I am very satisfied with the outcome. Especially the blue deck. The white hull sides came out fine and the scarred up bottom is acceptable. The job was much easier than compounding and waxing, with much better results. Now we will see how it stands the test of time. I’ll update my impressions in 6 months or so.


Poly-Glo treatment:
Well, it’s been five months, and the old Legend still looks great. And I would say it gets used quite regularly, as we paddle year round here in Florida. It’s stored in a garage, but this is the kayak I use when I can expect some mild abuse. It’s hard to imagine what it looked like before the treatment, but everyone that sees it now, has favorable comments. I will continue refreshing the appearance on an annual, or less, basis. Ken…