Maintaining Marine Gel Coat

By Mike Cardenas

It’s been a busy winter here at SweetCars, and there are a lot of exciting things going on in the shop. We’re proud to be the host for the Ceramic Pro Installer Training Event. Detailers from all over the United States will be attending this special three day training event. SweetCars and Ceramic Pro will be hosting a free detail clinic for the public on Sunday, March 20, from 10:30AM to Noon, and we hope to see you there.

Speaking of coatings, SweetCars has now joined an exclusive group of 40 detailers who will become distributors and installers for Nanolex. This German brand has some exciting innovations, and SweetCars is pleased to now carry these high-quality products in our retail store. The WashCoat from Nanolex is an amazing product that gives literally instant protection during the wash process that lasts for up to a month! It provides beading and gloss that is unbelievable at an affordable price for the DIY detailer.

As Bill mentioned, SweetCars is now a member of the International Detailing Association. We’re proud to join this special group of like-minded detailers from all over the world, joining companies such as Rupes and Sonax among others. Our reputation for detailing is highly regarded as one of the best, and we are excited to be the featured detailer in this month’s issue of duPont REGISTRY. Be sure to check us out in newsstands everywhere!

The detailing operations at SweetCars are certainly busy all year, and some of the projects we see here pretty frequently are Marine projects, such as boats and jet skis. Although most are not brought to us as a chalky and dull mess, hard water and lack of protection can wreak havoc on the nicest gel coats without attention. In this issue of Shift, I’m going to give you some great tips for maintaining your gel coat or single stage paint for your vehicle.

Boats are painted with a gel coat, a tough clear coat that is designed to be more durable than the typical clear coat found on vehicles. However, this tough finish tends to be porous and allows oxidation and hard-to-clean dirt or water spotting to soak in. Anyone who has one knows what can happen when you don’t properly wipe and dry a boat after use. The same could be said about a single stage paint: if it’s not dried properly after a wash, or if bugs or bird droppings are left too long, the soft paint soaks up the stain and then it’s no longer going to simply wipe off.

One of the biggest reasons for the difficulty in cleaning such surfaces has to do with its surface tension. This means that if you were to apply a sealant to these surfaces, the surface tension would be such that the molecules in that sealant would create a barrier that would prevent water and contaminants from sticking. So by minimizing the amount of surface something can hold, you can eliminate some of the issues associated with gel coat and single stage paint. This means that protection is even more important on these surfaces because they act more like a sponge than a hard shell.

For protection, sealants are always going to be the better option than wax. Waxes simply lay on the surface and can be removed quickly with friction from water or the washing process. Sealants are recommended because they chemically bond to the surface and additionally provide a little more durable protection.

Of course, you can always go for something that lasts 10 times as long and works better in the long term. That is where Ceramic Pro is a great option because it creates a permanent bond with the surface and changes the surface tension to repel water, making it easy to dry and clean. The UV protection that will last for years is also a huge benefit of getting a boat or car coated with Ceramic Pro. Most sealants do offer some level of UV protection, so make sure to check the product you’re using to verify that this is also a feature.

Gel Coats and single stage paints can be tricky to maintain. The bottom line is to keep them protected to ensure the best gloss and finish possible, allowing easy cleaning and years of enjoyment. Until next time, take pride in your detailed ride!

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