About half of all the boats in the US are made from light composites like fiberglass. Not only is it stronger than wood, but it’s also a considerably cheaper alternative. To keep your watercraft in tip-top shape, polishing fiberglass is key to making sure you can get years of enjoyment out of your boat.
The outermost layer of a fiberglass boat’s hull is usually covered in a special resin called gelcoat. The gelcoat protects the hull and gives it its color and shine. Over time, exposure to the elements can erode the relatively soft surface of the gelcoat, leaving it dull and chalky. Fortunately, the gloss can usually be restored.
Here are some steps and helpful tips for polishing fiberglass to help you restore that “brand new” look:
Clean It Up
Wash the hull of your boat as you normally would. Adding a cup of detergent to a gallon of warm water and using a sponge usually does the trick. If mildew is present, add some bleach to your detergent solution. Don’t worry too much about difficult stains like fish blood and waterline scum – the next steps will take care of them.
Polishing the Fiberglass Surface
Polishing a surface is an abrasive process, and not one that results in a coating. Polishing fiberglass cleans the surface by removing the pitted surface rather than coating it.
The polishing process includes applying a strip of the polishing compound onto the surface of the hull. Then, spread the polish with your electric buffer, increasing the speed setting, and slowly moving it back and forth across the surface until glassy. Finally, wipe away any excess polish.
Use Rubbing Compound as Needed
More abrasive than polishing compound, rubbing compound should only be used as needed. If the polishing compound does not provide the results you want visually, rubbing compound can then be used. Select a rubbing compound formulated for fiberglass and use it exactly like polish.
Polishing compound may be needed after the use of rubbing compound to smooth out the gelcoat. So, repeat this step if you need to, or skip this step and go on to the next if polishing compound alone did the trick.
Coat with Wax
After polishing, apply a coat of wax to protect the surface and improve the gloss. Wax also has some restorative properties if the condition of the gelcoat isn’t too weathered to begin with. The best way to prolong the glossy look of a boat is to properly wax the gelcoat starting when the boat is new. If you do this and maintain regular waxing, gelcoat can retain its gloss for years to come.
Use your electric buffer to spread the wax evenly. Wait until it dries a little and gets cloudy. It’s important to allow the wax enough time to set, so it’ll be able to protect the gelcoat.
Buff It to Completion
After the wax dries and gets a somewhat hazy look, but before the wax gets too hard, buff the surface. The shine should really start to pop as you buff away the cloudiness of the wax.
And voila! Your fiberglass boat will be shining like new!
When You Want Your Boat to Look the Best, Use the BuffPro Buffer
As you can see from the steps above, this process requires going over the entire surface of your boat’s exterior multiple times. The advantages of using an electrical buffer should be clear. Not only is the entire process labor-intensive, especially the bigger your boat is, but using a power buffer like BuffPro will result in a quick, smooth finish every time.
Not only will BuffPro provide a superior shine in HALF the time as traditional buffers and never leaves swirl marks behind, but it is also exceptionally comfortable for extended use with its ergonomic pistol grips.
Order your BuffPro, pads and polishing compound today and get ready to create a perfect shine!