How to Apply Gelcoat to a Boat

Lead Image
What You'll Need
Boat cleaning solution
Large rags or sponges
Gelcoat solution (the spray works best, but you can use a liquid formula as well)
Paint brush
Fine grain sandpaper
Hair dryer (optional)

If you own a boat, you may know that it is important to give your boat a gelcoat cover to help protect it from leaks and cracks. Fortunately, with the right tools most anyone can conduct this process, allowing you to save money from hiring a professional to do it. Gelcoat is a resin that will protect any fiberglass structure with a strong shield. This resin will help protect water from seeping in even if your boat scrapes against something causing gouges or nicks. Though the gelcoat will help prevent your boat from further damage, it is important to remember that you may still need to make repairs to the boat and not just rely on the gelcoat.

Step 1 - Clean Your Boat Thoroughly

The first thing you will need to do before applying gelcoat on your boat is to make sure your boat is completely cleaned. If there is dirt or other grime on your boat when you put your coating of gelcoat on, it will not create a strong seal, which is important to the protection on your boat.

The easiest way to clean a boat is to spray it down with water than use a boat cleaning solution on the base of the boat, making sure you get everything off.

If you have used a gelcoat coating in the past, you will need to remove it completely with an acetone solution.

Step 2 - Apply the Gelcoat

man cleaning a boat

Making sure that your gelcoat is applied evenly on the paintbrush, go over the base of the boat, beginning on one side and working your way over. Make sure that you give your boat a thick layer as a thin layer may not give a complete seal.

If available, you can use a spray gelcoat. This method is much easier and faster to apply to the base of your boat and you will have fewer areas that will need to be sanded down. Make sure to tape of areas that you do not want to spray. The spray solution is a little less brittle and more durable. Either way, you will still be able to have a good seal.

Step 3 - Sand Down the Gelcoat

After you have made a layer of gelcoat on your boat, it is important to use a fine grain sandpaper to smooth out any rough surfaces and brush marks that may be left behind. Removing these areas will allow you to place several coats or gelcoat on your boat without having a broken seal.

Step 4 - Allow the Layer to Dry

After you have sanded down the gelcoat, you will need to allow the substance to dry. If you want to help it along, you can use a hair dryer, though this may not make things much faster.

You will need to add several layers of the gelcoat to make sure you have a thick and durable surface. Make sure each coat dries between each layer.

Using gelcoat on your boat will give you a durable layer that will help keep you afloat.