How thick / Resilient is Gelcoat

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How thick / Resilient is Gelcoat

Post by NORGIL on Mon May 30, 2016 3:29 pm

The surface of my Clubman could do with a lift to bring back the shine.
I have seen various gelcoat restorers and other grp pastes such as Farecla G3 et al.
The vehicle is now 15yrs old and I have no idea how many times previous owners have used a " cutting " type paste/restorer before me.
The question is how safe is it to use such pastes on a vehicle this age.
How thick is the "gelcoat" how resilient is it to repeated cutting/cleaning ?

Any ideas appreciated.

Norman

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Re: How thick / Resilient is Gelcoat

Post by circa75 on Sat Jun 04, 2016 5:38 pm

Hi Norman,

Did you polish/wax your Clubman yet?

I'm no expert but have spent the past couple of evenings and this morning grafting away on a '98 Medallion body. The monocoque body had been jet washed (not my idea) pre sale and left at that, it was cleanish but very flat and looked like matte plastic rather than gloss finish.

I used a cutting paste with a fine abrasive to it, not the Farecla brand but something similar (an old tin of trade product found in the garage). It worked a treat but was very stubborn to come off in places and had to be done twice in certain areas. It also removed some fine scratches, marks etc.

Adding sprays of water helped keep it moving going on, as it can be thick. The buffing off when dry was the hard work, but this could be due to the age of the product used - new Farecla might be much easier! Once that was done putting Mer wax over the top to (hopefully) protect the gloss from weathering was child's play. Easy on, easy off.

I wouldn't say many owners do this regularly (hence why every monocoque I've seen so far has flat matte bodywork), so would guesstimate your 2001 vehicle will clean up with no problems.

From my vehicle, I'd say the gel coat is rather durable/resilient but I wouldn't like to say how thick it is. Maybe start an area and see how much effort is required to see the gloss finish come through?

Hard work but very satisfying.

Hope this helps. On the other hand, you may have already done the job!
J
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Re: How thick / Resilient is Gelcoat

Post by Charliefarlie on Sat Jun 04, 2016 8:17 pm

Many polishes including Farecla require water to work. Without this the polish cannot break down so getting the real polishing effect will never happen. 

Farecla G3 and G6 are AIO or all in one polishes so be very careful !

We who into polishing to a high level use measuring equipment so we can see the thickness of the material we are polishing. Called PTGs or Paint Thickness Gauges. The ones that measure onto plastics or fiibrglass are expensive, My Defelsko one was over 2K so serous kit. It is the only guaranteed way of knowing how much material is in the various layers.

To answer your questions . 
how thick ? Depends entirely on the lay up.. Only measuring can tell you what is actually there. It may be thick or thin.. 

How resilient. Again depends on the mix and the quality of the resins used . It could be soft or hard. Sorry there is definite answers. It's far easier judging automotive paint GRP is altogether different .

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Re: How thick / Resilient is Gelcoat

Post by NORGIL on Sat Jun 04, 2016 9:13 pm

Thanks for the reply Charliefarlie / Circa. 

I have no experience of cleaning / polishing grp, The roof was a nightmare having I suspect been parked close to or under a cherry or similar tree over several years which covered it in black spots that as they were cleaned turned a crimson colour. i tried washing that with a caravan cleaner that said it was grp suitable but it didnt touch it, Probably did the wrong thing but I eventually got it clean by using neat black streak remover and a very soft brush all over it and making sure it was well washed off with copius amounts of water as I went. That would probably bring you out in boils but even using that it took me 2 fuli days to get the roof clean. The sides of the van have no shine but are not overly dirty, they appear to have been kept well washed albeit not polished. Because I have no idea how many times the van has been " cut " in the past I am a bit wary of using a harsh abrasive. I have been unable to get Farecla combined restorer and polish so have decided to go with Collinite 920 which is a cleaner that says it removes minor oxidation and haze. Hopefully that will be enough to get a finish I can then wax, probably with Mer. I wish I was up to properly "detailing" the van but sadly I aint fit enough these days for such hard graft.

Norman

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Re: How thick / Resilient is Gelcoat

Post by NORGIL on Sat Jun 04, 2016 9:14 pm

Thanks for the reply Charliefarlie / Circa. 

I have no experience of cleaning / polishing grp, The roof was a nightmare having I suspect been parked close to or under a cherry or similar tree over several years which covered it in black spots that as they were cleaned turned a crimson colour. i tried washing that with a caravan cleaner that said it was grp suitable but it didnt touch it, Probably did the wrong thing but I eventually got it clean by using neat black streak remover and a very soft brush all over it and making sure it was well washed off with copius amounts of water as I went. That would probably bring you out in boils but even using that it took me 2 fuli days to get the roof clean. The sides of the van have no shine but are not overly dirty, they appear to have been kept well washed albeit not polished. Because I have no idea how many times the van has been " cut " in the past I am a bit wary of using a harsh abrasive. I have been unable to get Farecla combined restorer and polish so have decided to go with Collinite 920 which is a cleaner that says it removes minor oxidation and haze. Hopefully that will be enough to get a finish I can then wax, probably with Mer. I wish I was up to properly "detailing" the van but sadly I aint fit enough these days for such hard graft.

Norman

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Re: How thick / Resilient is Gelcoat

Post by Charliefarlie on Sun Jun 05, 2016 6:29 am

Colinite 920 is a cleanser usually used for removing bonded contaminants like tree sap and the usual grime that builds on all surfaces in this case GRP. Its often used to clean before wax is applied in fact that is really what it is mainly used for .  Another far more economical product is Autosmart G101. 

All polishes restore. Making out a product does a combination of things is sales hype. We polish thereby we restore .  

MER is a light cut polish. Its extremely dusty and is well outdated now but it is a polish. It will offer no protection so must not be viewed as a wax ! 

A quality wax will stop tree sap and muck from sticking. This why we call it protecting the surface. It wont stop muck bird poo or anything form falling on it but will help greatly the ease of washing it off and the damage it can cause. 

Bird poo sticks to the surface and as it dries it shrinks. This  causes the surface to pull together . Pinch the skin on the back of your hand and imagine that is what the bird lime is doing to your paint/GRP surface. If that surface is waxed the blooming stuff cannot stick anywhere near as bad is at all. So the damage is prevented or at least massively reduced. This is why we call it protection. A well waxed surface is far far easier to wash and keep clean as well !! 

Best long lasting/durability wax I have ever used is Colinite 476S. 

I will admit and point out my experience is mostly with Automotive paint. But polishing GRP is much the same. With paint we have the base coat with lacquer on top and with GRP we have the base which is weave with resin or gel coat call it what you like  on top. 

It really depends on how much or little resin you have. I have polished boats and jet skis and always found there is far more material than we ever find on automotive paint so plenty of material to go at. But I cant see feel or measure what you have so its kinda guessing. 

Are you polishing by machine ? I just cant imagine polishing a large vehicle by hand ! IF you are polishing by hand then just go for it. There is no way you are going to cause damage unless you go nuts on one tiny spot ! I only polish by machine so care has to be taken. 

Couple of pointers when polishing by machine. 

Use a light cut polish first with s soft to medium pad. You can always increase either the hardness of the pad OR the cut rate of the polish. Go light/soft first then move up . 

Work on a small area.

ALWAYS polish at low speeds. Heat is the cause of problems. Slow is safer easier and FAR less likely to cause damage. 

ALWAYS mist the area with water as you go. Not much just a light mist with a hand sprayer like used on house plants. 

ANY automotive polish will be fine ! Trust me all these polishes do exactly the same and are re branded products for which the consumer simply pays though the nose for. 

NEVER use Tcut. Its a vile petrochemical outdated product which contains ammonia and WILL stain GRP and/or most of the composite panels used on motor homes / caravans and the like. 

Find a wee test area preferably out of sight to try your polish/pad combination or if polishing by hand and see what the results are. Once you have established what works best carry on.  up! up!

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Re: How thick / Resilient is Gelcoat

Post by circa75 on Sun Jun 05, 2016 8:20 am

Excellent advice and information there charliefarlie.

Thanks for the info about Mer not being wax, always thought it was! Have used it for years on cars, it does a relatively ok job but I also know it doesn't offer lasting protection. Now I know why.

Having polished the Medallion body by hand (no buffing machine available) - it's the size of at least two cars and I don't wish to exert myself like that again for some time! So protection is important.

Will look for the 476s as mentioned, can anyone recommend where to buy at a good price? Also, are these sponge pad applicators any good, or do people use good old fashioned cloths/'dusters'?

Thanks.
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Re: How thick / Resilient is Gelcoat

Post by Cymro on Sun Jun 05, 2016 8:45 am

Charliefarlie has repeatedly given outstanding advice on this Forum, from which I've greatly benefitted. On his recommendation I now use Colinite exclusively. It's very easy to apply and remove (using a microfibre cloth). I do it by hand. Doing the roof is a bit scary becuase it's so slippery, so I only do that when my wife is out and unaware of my antics. I get to the front top of the luton using a well-secured ladder, padded with pipe insulation at the point where it rests on the bodywork. The Colinite seems to protect for a good six months.
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Re: How thick / Resilient is Gelcoat

Post by Charliefarlie on Sun Jun 05, 2016 10:47 am

circa75 wrote:Excellent advice and information there charliefarlie.

Thanks for the info about Mer not being wax, always thought it was! Have used it for years on cars, it does a relatively ok job but I also know it doesn't offer lasting protection. Now I know why.

Having polished the Medallion body by hand (no buffing machine available) - it's the size of at least two cars and I don't wish to exert myself like that again for some time! So protection is important.

Will look for the 476s as mentioned, can anyone recommend where to buy at a good price? Also, are these sponge pad applicators any good, or do people use good old fashioned cloths/'dusters'?

Thanks.

Link to Colinite
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Collinite-No-476s-Super-Double-Coat-Auto-Wax-9oz-Protects-Lasts-1-Year-/131164292842?hash=item1e8a0046ea:g:yIsAAOSwpDdVV8QX

The benefit of Colinite 476S is that its a very high quality and super durable wax. It will work on Any surface. This is very important as waxing a big vehicle is arduous and time consuming. It will last for at least six months which for wax is a very long time. Most waxes in reality last 2 months at most despite what the makers say ! 

Use soft microfiber cloths not old rags or dusters. The right cloths will make the job easier and much more pleasant to do ! Plus they will not inflict swirl marks which again is important .  up! up!

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Re: How thick / Resilient is Gelcoat

Post by NORGIL on Sun Jun 05, 2016 11:11 am

Many thanks Charliefatrlie. i too have always thought Mer was a wax and have used it on my cars for years. Happy to bow to your superior knowledge and will get some 476S.

All I need now is a bunch of boy scouts and bob a job week to save me the hard work.

Oops not sure thats pc these days...lol

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Re: How thick / Resilient is Gelcoat

Post by Charliefarlie on Sun Jun 05, 2016 11:12 am

I hope posting this link is not going to get me into trouble ! Apologies if not appropriate and please remove if necessary ! 

The thread will tell pretty much everything about Colinite and how to apply it. Correct application makes it easy and helps with durability .
 
http://www.motorhomefun.co.uk/forum/threads/colinite-wax-and-its-application.115944/

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Re: How thick / Resilient is Gelcoat

Post by NORGIL on Sun Jun 05, 2016 11:26 am

Charlie, I will be doing the lot by hand, you recommend foam applicator pads for the 476S which I will send off for, is there anything that is best for applying the 920 or is a cloth ok.

sorry for the idiot level question.

Norman

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Re: How thick / Resilient is Gelcoat

Post by Charliefarlie on Sun Jun 05, 2016 3:38 pm

NORGIL wrote:Charlie, I will be doing the lot by hand, you recommend foam applicator pads for the 476S which I will send off for, is there anything that is best for applying the 920 or is a cloth ok.

sorry for the idiot level question.

Norman

Norman there is no such thing as an idiot question only those who are daft enough not to ask. 

The foam applicators are just fine for wax. For the 920 I would use a new soft micorfibre cloth.  up! up!

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Re: How thick / Resilient is Gelcoat

Post by NORGIL on Sun Jun 05, 2016 4:05 pm

Cheers Charlie, much obliged.

Norman

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Re: How thick / Resilient is Gelcoat

Post by breakaleg on Mon Jun 06, 2016 12:06 pm

I don't suppose that anyone from the Birmingham area knows anyone who could now wash and wax my van at a reasonable price using the above.
I used to really enjoy washing and waxing but due to disability I can no longer stand for long periods let alone climb ladders/steps.
Pete
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Re: How thick / Resilient is Gelcoat

Post by Greyhound on Mon Jun 06, 2016 1:58 pm

NORGIL wrote:Many thanks Charliefatrlie. i too have always thought Mer was a wax and have used it on my cars for years.

Not sure if there's an original product you're referring too, but Mer is a company not a product and they have a wide range of things.
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Re: How thick / Resilient is Gelcoat

Post by Charliefarlie on Mon Jun 06, 2016 5:59 pm

Noggin wrote:
NORGIL wrote:Many thanks Charliefatrlie. i too have always thought Mer was a wax and have used it on my cars for years.

Not sure if there's an original product you're referring too, but Mer is a company not a product and they have a wide range of things.

Well its hard to second guess but 99% of the time its the white chalky polish. Worth remembering is most confuse polish with wax.

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