Repairing boat gelcoat spider cracks

Want to repair boat gelcoat spider cracks? Small hairline cracks and spider-webbing in the polyester surface are annoying because they ruin the appearance of the boat hull or the boat interior. Spider cracks are generally difficult to repair. In many cases, a filler is difficult to apply because the damage is too small in depth and requires a lot of sanding or grinding. In this article we will help you step-by-step to repair hairline cracks in gelcoat. When you complete all the steps, the hull or deck will look as new again!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Do you have questions about a gelcoat repair or boat maintenance? Please feel free to contact our product specialists. We are happy to help you make your project successful!

What are gelcoat spider cracks?

Spider cracks are small cracks in the gelcoat. These hairline cracks often occur naturally due to the aging of the paint system. By repairing gelcoat spider cracks with IJmopox ZF Primer, the treated surface looks great again.

Repair gelcoat spider cracks [manual]

Supplies

Step 1. Cleaning

Before repairing hairline cracks in the gelcoat, it is important to clean the gelcoat. For this, use a high-pressure cleaner or Riwax RS Boat Clean. By cleaning the surface properly, you will clean the cracks well and spray away loose pieces of gelcoat easily.

Step 2. Sanding

Sand the entire surface with 180-grit sandpaper. By sanding the surface, you improve the adhesion between the gelcoat and the ZF Primer that you will apply. After sanding, degrease the surface with Double Coat degreaser.

Step 3. Repairing loose pieces of gelcoat

During sanding, spots may have appeared where the gelcoat has come loose. Touch up these areas with Variopox Epoxy Filler and then sand again. 

Step 4. Applying IJmopox ZF Primer 

We are going to repair the gelcoat crackle with IJmopox ZF Primer. Before using ZF Primer, read the technical data sheet carefully. It contains important information about mixing ratio, amount of thinner, consumption and application.

Instructions for use of ZF Primer

  • Determine the desired quantity and weigh both components on a digital scale according to the mixing ratio 87:13.
  • Mix the base and hardener well.
  • Apply ZF Primer with a velour roller.
  • Immediately smooth the surface without pressing hard and rub the layer into the crack with a filler applicator.

We recommend applying 2 coats of this epoxy primer. 1 layer without thinner and then 1 layer with thinner. When working with ZF Primer, always wear covering clothing and nitrile gloves.

Step 5. Follow-up

When you have applied ZF Primer, the tiny cracks that cause gelcoat spider cracks will have been filled. We recommend sanding the surface again with very fine 200 grit sandpaper (dry). After this, you can continue with step 4 of the painting instructions for your deck or hull.

More information about repairing hairline cracks in gelcoat?

Do you have any questions about a gelcoat repair or about repairing crackle? Feel free to contact one of our specialists. We will be happy to advise you to make your project a success. Send us a WhatsApp message, an email to support@polyestershoppen.com or call +31 85 022 0090 for free, no-obligation advice.

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Products used in this article

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Boat repair and restoration

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