Apart from generating the beautiful glossy finish on the kayak, the gel coat's function is to protect the fiberglass laminate - the boat’s main material – from moisture. It is also the first material that is applied to the form when building the kayak.
Accidental damages to the gel-coat should, therefore, be repaired as soon as possible to prevent structural weakness sustained over time by moisture creeping into the fiberglass laminate.
It is easy to repair the gel-coat, and if you use the right procedures and materials, the repair will be impossible to detect afterward.
You will need the following materials to repair your kayak:
2. Sanding block
3. Wet sandpaper of the following thicknesses: 400, 600, 800, 1000 and 1200. (If you are unsure, your local hardware store or marine supply store will be able to guide you.)
4. Thin brush
5. A sharp knife
6. Polishing paste (such as Autosol chrome polish)
7. White Gel-coat putty/filler (such as plastic padding)
-A small spatula
-A bowl of water
-An hour of your time
1. Step One
Start out by making sure that the damaged area is clean and dry.
Scrape away any possible dirt from the edges with a sharp knife, sanding machine with a sharp edge or scalpel.
Clean the damaged area with acetone on a clean rag. This will both clean and dry out the last moisture from the damaged area, and improves the conditions to attach the new gel-coat to the surface.
2. Step Two
Mix the gel-coat according to the product instructions. One rule that applies to polyester products is that the more hardener that is used the quicker it will harden.
A normal ratio is 3%. Brush the gel-coat on the damaged area. Be sure to apply the gel-coat especially well to the edges of the damage.
Apply the bulk of the gel-coat with the spatula and let it harden. The damage is now sufficiently repaired to be able to use the kayak again, but if you want the damage to be invisible, you will need to continue with the instructions below.