Tuesday, January 5, 2016

How To Restore Faded Fiberglass: Care And Maintenance

By Jennifer Cook

Today, the market is flooded with hundreds of different products, all which purport offer the best solution to the faded gelcoat. Generally, the gelcoat has little structural value. However, it protects the underlying laminates of resin-saturated fabric glass. The gelcoat plays the function of protecting the hull, giving it its shiny and beautiful color. It is good to get the right tips on how to restore faded fiberglass to keep its attractiveness.

A fiber-reinforced plastic is what is widely referred to as fiberglass. In this case, the fiber cloth is used to give a plastic material extra strength. The strengthened plastic is used to make boats, bathtubs, motorhomes, and pickup truck caps. It is the gelcoat (special resin) normally applied to the fiberglass surface that gives it the smooth and shiny surface. When polishing, it is this gelcoat that is targeted. It is the one prone to fading as a result of oxidation effects of the sun and light.

Gelcoat is widely available is several assortments of colors. It is very durable but will eventually weather and become dull. Processes like waxing may slow the rate at which it weathers. The dull surface is as a result of oxidation effects of the sunlight and air. The result is a rusted surface, and the solution is waxing, and use of the sealers.

After this, consider waxing the fiberglass. Normally, a new surface is waxed. The best way to maintain it is to always have it waxed. This is the sure way of prolonging the life of the gelcoat. Regular waxing can help keep it gloss for up to fifteen years or more. The wax also comes with the added benefit of restorative property, particularly if the gelcoat is not badly weathered.

This is followed with polishing and waxing comes as the last step. The two steps are likely to restore the shine, but this may not last for two or more months, in fact, it may be difficult to get the same finish as the new one in the showroom. The gelcoat surface normally has several microscopic pits, and these trap air, therefore, enabling oxidation to continue underneath even after polishing and waxing.

Fiberglass sealers offer the best results, unlike wax, they are able to penetrate into the gelcoat surface. This makes it possible to seal the microscopic crevices and holes, therefore, preventing any further oxidation. Generally, sealers offer a brighter surface as compared to the wax, offer a harder surface and last for a much longer time.

Wax is widely used and has to be applied regularly for it to be effective. They tend to work well as long as the boat is new. As the boat ages, the wax becomes ineffective given the microscopic crevices and pits that trap air allowing for continued oxidation. It is best applied as the last layer after polishing or other processes.

First, apply it on the surface, after which a power buffer is then used. It results to a uniform color. In case it does not give a shiny finish, the surface is normally polished. The polish gives the final shine that you are looking for. The wax should always follow polishing, a good paste wax is enough to give the surface a new finish, similar to that in the showroom.

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