How To: TRADE SECRET Fibreglass boat repair: fix gelcoat blisters with Six10 epoxy
So you’ve just pulled your boat from the water, only you’ve noticed blisters in your gelcoat. Now if you leave it, they may disappear, right? Wrong. If you ignore the damage then it could mean greater trials further down the line. That could mean a massive overhaul of your hull… gelcoat removal… a full-blown barrier coat job… in short, a great deal of work! So to spare yourself the trauma, the best strategy is to keep on top of the blisters as they appear and perform a quick fibreglass boat repair with WEST SYSTEM® Six10® Thickened Epoxy Adhesive. All you’d have to do is follow these easy steps!
- Open the blisters with a small abrasive tool. Make sure you have removed the entire blister, including the edges of the blister dome.
- Wipe the cavity clean with an alcohol prep pad. Change frequently to remove any contaminants. Repeat the alcohol wipe process and leave the laminate until it is dry to the touch.
- Fill the cavities using the Six10 adhesive dispensed through the static mixing wand.
- Spread the Six10 adhesive flush with the surrounding hull with a putty knife or plastic spreader. Avoid overfilling!
- Wet sand with 80 – 120 grit sandpaper or wash with water. In cool temperatures, allow the epoxy to cure overnight before sanding.
- Apply your chosen paint.
Just how does Six10 Thickened Epoxy Adhesive work? Six10 Adhesive is an epoxy thickened with fumed silica, which allows it to remain an excellent moisture barrier. When the static mixer is used to dispense the Six10 into the blister cavity, the void is filled with an air-free epoxy. This is important because small bubbles in coatings degrades moisture barrier potential by creating shortcuts for the moisture to permeate into the hull structure . In the end, Six10 produces a moisture barrier that is better than the original gelcoat! Blisters are generally slow to develop so with this simple method, and a bit of careful monitoring, you should be able to keep your hull in good working order for two to three years. Just remember, if the blisters get too extensive, you may need to eventually bite the bullet and go for that overhaul. Please note that this method of repair is only intended for localized blisters or temporary repairs prior to a complete anti osmosis treatment as detailed in the Gelcoat Blister Manual.
Interested in trying out WEST SYSTEM Six10 epoxy? Click here to find your nearest stockist. Our thanks to Tom Pawlak for his great ideas on blister repairs.