Posted May 28 2012 - 08:22 PM
I was talking to a guy who was working of polishing headlight covers, and he said he used toothpaste. The grit is ultra fine, and works great as a method of restoring headlights. *It takes a few passess of scrub / clean / scrub / clean etc. So, I thought, why not try that on the gels and mildew. So, I head out armed with two washcloths and a tube of Colgate Total toothpaste...to clean my boat. First I took the wet wash cloth and wiped down the gel. Then I applied some toothpaste and scrubbed. Next I wiped off the area with the other side of the wet cloth, the dried it off with the dry one. It looked a little better. So I repeated it again. The result was amazing! Now it was NOT as good as "new" but it was 1000% better than before. And thats with NO WAX on it at all yet!
Next I tried it with the mildew stains on the white. Same process, scrub, clean, scrub, clean and BOOM -- NO STAINS! I was SHOCKED at how well it worked on mildew stains. Clorox and water didn't touch them, dawn and a scrubb brush laughted at it, and a couple other simple cleansers; but tooth paste did the trick! You could literally see them just dissapear as you were cleaning them. Maybe a majic eraser would work?? I don't know, I havent tried yet. But, we have some extras so I may.
I also tried this on the gel on the side of the boat, and had the best result of all. Granted it wasn't faded nearly as bad, but the area I did looked like NEW! I was amazed at how well toothpaste worked! I have asked a bunch of people what to use and most couldn't give a good idea...now I know at least one thing that works. And I will probably try a magic eraser soon.
So, does anyone have anything they use consistently that works that well? Basically what IS the best way to salvage faded gel, and remove mildew stains? My vote for now is Toothpaste! *Magic eraser could be an option after I try it...
Posted May 29 2012 - 01:40 AM
When you "restore" gel coat, you are actually removing some of the gel coat. Hopefully the manufacturer applied a thick enough gel coat to allow for the removal of the sun damaged portion without the ghosting problem.
You alluded to the UV damage caused by the sun. Were you to view the damaged gel coat under a microscope you'd see tiny cracks in the gel coat which would look like alligator skin. Whether you use a very fine (1200 or finer grit) wet or dry sandpaper or buffing compounds from very aggressive to swirl removers, you are removing the damaged surface.
Metalflake finishes present another problem. The flakes are just that, shiny aluminum flakes with a tint of color on the surfaces. If you get into colored flakes, you remove the tint and end up with dull silver flakes. At this point, you are looking at a prohibitively expensive job in the gel coat shop.
The microscopic cracks/blemishes will "trap" grime and mildew, which contribute to a dull finish. A variety of cleaner glazes can be used to reduce this problem. These products can be found at businesses that sell paint and related supplies to body shops.
Always test these products, beginning with the mildest on the least obvious places, and see what results you get. When and if you are satisfied that you won't make things worse, gradually work your way toward the most visible areas. It will give you a feel for the products before you get to the areas which tend to attract your eye.
Once your restoration process of sanding and buffing is done, apply a good cleaner glaze, followed by a coat of carnauba wax or other product that inhibit the UV rays from doing their damage. Repeat the UV protectant frequently, according to directions.
When not being used, keep the boat under cover. A garage is best, but a canopy is also good. A cover will protect the areas it covers. Keeping it in dense shade, under trees will protect from UV rays, but present other problems. Trees, being living things, will drop sap onto things below. Birds and other critters which live in or visit trees will drop crap onto things below. This stuff can be highly acidic.
Prevention is best, followed by some sort of surface protection. Remember this regarding glazes, waxes, and other cleaner/protectants. There is no such thing as too much protection, only too little. You may apply it more often than needed, but better that than not often enough.
Posted May 29 2012 - 01:56 AM
Posted May 29 2012 - 05:45 AM
None the less, I am faced with either accepting a faded, dull look or spending the time, effort and elbow grease to try to recover some of that look. I agree that this isn't the best case scenario, but -- I now have to deal with what I have. And so far based on the great info shared, the only resolution (beyond spending way too much) is to sand down that damaged clear coat / finish and get wax built up on it and keep it there, or accept the faded look.
Excellent info Rhino, thanks! An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure...
Posted May 29 2012 - 11:04 AM
Posted May 29 2012 - 01:24 PM
Now, with that said, the only way you are going to get a smooth shiney finish is wet sanding and buffing it out. This will get you a good shine, with a lot of little silver specks in those rough areas. Start by wet sanding with 1,200 grit, then 1,600 and finish with 2,000. Just remember, you have little to no clear gel left already, so don't go crazy with the sanding. Next, you are going to need a good, VARIABLE SPEED, buffer. DO NOT try to use a standard 7" side grinder or anything that's going to spin over approx 1,200 rpm, you WILL burn what gel you have left. You will also need to spend the few extra bucks and get the the 3M Machine Glaze that comes in the black bottle. If you can't get your hands on a buffer, get the 3M Hand Glaze. If you have to do all the sanding and buffing by hand, be prepared to be thinking your arms are going to fall off before you get done. A couple of coats of a good polish and your done.
You will get a fairly nice shine, nothing like new but a respectable looking boat. The shine is not going to hold up like new, so you will have to apply another coat every few months.
As for covering, I always stick a little 6" - 8" fan in the rear splash well blowing toward the front and fix me a little duck/cover that keeps the boat cover lifted off it so air can be pulled in and blown through the boat. I make me a vent at the front around the trolling motor so there is a good exit point.
Posted May 29 2012 - 04:50 PM
Posted May 29 2012 - 06:46 PM
Posted June 11 2012 - 06:32 PM
HOWEVER -- the polish did not touch the stained mildew, so I will have to work on it again with a grittier paste... but that's ok. For now, I'm pleased with the look! I think when I rewax her in a couple of months I may pick up a higher dollar carnuba and see how that does compared to the run of the mill Turtle Wax...
Thanks again for all the suggestions!
Posted June 12 2012 - 07:29 AM
No, you can't use it as a toothpaste
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