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how to repair a chip in the fiberglass


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I haven't seen This addressed but surely it's happened to someone else (I did search the forum)

We have one of those infernal towel bars that "secure" to their brackets with A snap fit. Well, ours doesn't stay snapped,  I've had to reattach it dozens of Times.  The most recent time the holder dropped and took a sizable chunk of fiberglass out of the lav floor.

I presume it's unwise to leave it that way, but recommended repair?  I don't Want to do anything that will look bad but also don't Think moisture getting in there would be good.

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For that location, I would use some white epoxy filler, it is something you can do yourself and it should not be noticeable down there. For an eye level gelcoat repair, a professional is needed, unless you are comfortable working with that tricky substance. This is most excellent.

https://www.amazon.com/Marine-Tex-RM305K-White-oz/dp/B0014419V0

http://marinetex.com/products/marine-tex-products/marine-tex-epoxy-putty/

You could just dab it in there, but a much better repair will result if you use a dremel tool with a small round steel grinding bit (not a sanding drum) and VERY carefully cut away any loose material and sharp edges around the perimeter. Make a neat bevel. Vacuum away all the debris and then clean with a  solvent. That way the epoxy will stay in place and not get ragged around the edges. I can't tell how big that chip is, if it is small, you could just use a countersink drill bit for that, and it won't slip and scar the neighboring gelcoat. Plus a neat circle will look better than an odd shape.

Usually a towel bar support bracket does not snap in place, it hooks on at the top and then you tighten an internal hex or slotted set screw underneath. Once tight it might need an occasional snugging down every few years, but it should NOT fall off constantly. If it does, it is defective and should be replaced. You need to address the problem, not the symptom... 😉

John Davies

Spokane WA

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Yes - do the repair.  Over time the gelcoat will continue to chip away at the edges and you risk cutting yourself on those edges if left as is.

 

p.s.  in and of itself, moisture will not do much to the fiberglass.  However, moisture, dirt, grime, grease, etc. will make the area look worse and worse over time.  Yet another reason to fix the ding.

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I did an epoxy repair like John Davies describes to a fiberglass shower unit in a home we own.  After the repair had cured for a couple of days, I hand sanded it smooth with super-fine automotive finish sandpaper, then applied 2 coats of Nu Finish car wax.  It made the repair almost disappear.

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I do frequent gel coat repairs to kayaks as Im a rough water instructor.  There is no difference between the layup of our trailers and my kayaks.  A few things to consider:

-  While your ding goes through the gel coat and exposes the glass matt under, there is no chance that occasional moisture exposure will do any further damage.  

-  Ideally, you would repair the damaged gel coat with an application of gel coat.  It's easy enough stuff to work with, the stuff you need can be found at most hardware store or, for more $, at a West Marine and there are plenty of Utube type instructionals.  Standard boat repair 101.  The downside is that Oliver, from what I've heard, does not use a standardized or even consistent (from unit to unit) white.  Nowadays, there are RAL based color options which, in short, means that if Oliver always used a particular white found on a RAL chart, we would be able to order gel coat in that exact color to make a perfect match.  Store bought gel coats come in slightly varying array of whites so your repair will be a little off.  If you want to try to match, you can experiment with a store bought gel coat and add a little coloration which is usually pricey and comes in primary colors only.

-  An option may be to contact Oliver to see if they still have or stock gel coat to match your hull number.  Could luck out.  If so, ask whether their product has wax already mixed in or if you need to add.  If the latter, the wax is available from West Marine and includes a formulation of how much to add to a given amount of gel coat.  

-  If you are willing to accept a slight color mismatch, John's suggestion is spot on.  Marinetex is a flat, very slightly greyish white which, given the tiny area you have to fill, may be perfectly fine and makes for a super easy repair.  If you go this route, I often prep the hole as John suggested, clean out hole and surrounding area with isopropyl alcohol and fill in with the product.  Use a tad more then it takes to fill the hole, cover the area with a little piece of rolled plastic clear sheeting like visquene or the stuff you put over windows for the winter and use a spoon or tongue depressor to carefully smooth out the Marinetex which willspread a little beyond the hole - which is good.  Peel up the plastic an hour later, let cure entirely, then wet sand with 800 then 1200 sandpaper.  Finish with lite rubbing compound then a finberglass polish/wax.  Good as new and easier then it sounds.

BTW, that process is the same for how I work with gel coat.  Best of luck.

Gerry

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1 hour ago, John E Davies said:

For that location, I would use some white epoxy filler, it is something you can do yourself and it should not be noticeable down there. For an eye level gelcoat repair, a professional is needed, unless you are comfortable working with that tricky substance. This is most excellent.

https://www.amazon.com/Marine-Tex-RM305K-White-oz/dp/B0014419V0

http://marinetex.com/products/marine-tex-products/marine-tex-epoxy-putty/

You could just dab it in there, but a much better repair will result if you use a dremel tool with a small round steel grinding bit (not a sanding drum) and VERY carefully cut away any loose material and sharp edges around the perimeter. Make a neat bevel. Vacuum away all the debris and then clean with a  solvent. That way the epoxy will stay in place and not get ragged around the edges. I can't tell how big that chip is, if it is small, you could just use a countersink drill bit for that, and it won't slip and scar the neighboring gelcoat. Plus a neat circle will look better than an odd shape.

Usually a towel bar support bracket does not snap in place, it hooks on at the top and then you tighten an internal hex or slotted set screw underneath. Once tight it might need an occasional snugging down every few years, but it should NOT fall off constantly. If it does, it is defective and should be replaced. You need to address the problem, not the symptom... 😉

John Davies

Spokane WA

John, I've researched those towel bars, they don't have the Usual set screws. They have a little tab that the holder snaps on to.  The street Side one has never come off, only the One to the inside.  Its tab seems to Have some wear on it, so, yes, it needs to be Replaced.

 

PS, I Have no idea why my phone is rAndomly capitalizing letters!

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43 minutes ago, GAP said:

I do frequent gel coat repairs to kayaks as Im a rough water instructor.  There is no difference between the layup of our trailers and my kayaks.  A few things to consider:

-  While your ding goes through the gel coat and exposes the glass matt under, there is no chance that occasional moisture exposure will do any further damage.  

-  Ideally, you would repair the damaged gel coat with an application of gel coat.  It's easy enough stuff to work with, the stuff you need can be found at most hardware store or, for more $, at a West Marine and there are plenty of Utube type instructionals.  Standard boat repair 101.  The downside is that Oliver, from what I've heard, does not use a standardized or even consistent (from unit to unit) white.  Nowadays, there are RAL based color options which, in short, means that if Oliver always used a particular white found on a RAL chart, we would be able to order gel coat in that exact color to make a perfect match.  Store bought gel coats come in slightly varying array of whites so your repair will be a little off.  If you want to try to match, you can experiment with a store bought gel coat and add a little coloration which is usually pricey and comes in primary colors only.

-  An option may be to contact Oliver to see if they still have or stock gel coat to match your hull number.  Could luck out.  If so, ask whether their product has wax already mixed in or if you need to add.  If the latter, the wax is available from West Marine and includes a formulation of how much to add to a given amount of gel coat.  

-  If you are willing to accept a slight color mismatch, John's suggestion is spot on.  Marinetex is a flat, very slightly greyish white which, given the tiny area you have to fill, may be perfectly fine and makes for a super easy repair.  If you go this route, I often prep the hole as John suggested, clean out hole and surrounding area with isopropyl alcohol and fill in with the product.  Use a tad more then it takes to fill the hole, cover the area with a little piece of rolled plastic clear sheeting like visquene or the stuff you put over windows for the winter and use a spoon or tongue depressor to carefully smooth out the Marinetex which willspread a little beyond the hole - which is good.  Peel up the plastic an hour later, let cure entirely, then wet sand with 800 then 1200 sandpaper.  Finish with lite rubbing compound then a finberglass polish/wax.  Good as new and easier then it sounds.

BTW, that process is the same for how I work with gel coat.  Best of luck.

Gerry

Super helpful,   Gerry, thank you

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