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Old 01-04-2012, 04:15 AM
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Default Commercial Floor Wax...?

Hi everyone ! I have been lurking and reading here for a while and I finally want to post a question...

I am not a real experienced boater having owned just 3 boats in my lifetime...
Right now I have a 1996 Starcraft 1700 OB and needless to say, the gelcoat is getting a tad dull...
I have a friend who has owned many boats and has told me that what he does in such a case is to first scrub it down with Comet and a Scotchbrite pad (and water of course)...
Then he follows that by applying a commercial grade, liquid floor wax...
I have heard of and read many posts about using "Future" liquid wax, some love it and some not so much...
According to what I have been told, using a brand name, commercial wax makes the difference and that it does not yellow and lasts for years...

I am turning to you all to help me confirm this or not....anyone out there know anything about this..?

Thanx to you all for any help given
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Old 01-04-2012, 04:45 AM
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Originally Posted by okeesignguy View Post
Hi everyone ! I have been lurking and reading here for a while and I finally want to post a question...

I am not a real experienced boater having owned just 3 boats in my lifetime...
Right now I have a 1996 Starcraft 1700 OB and needless to say, the gelcoat is getting a tad dull...
I have a friend who has owned many boats and has told me that what he does in such a case is to first scrub it down with Comet and a Scotchbrite pad (and water of course)...
Then he follows that by applying a commercial grade, liquid floor wax...
I have heard of and read many posts about using "Future" liquid wax, some love it and some not so much...
According to what I have been told, using a brand name, commercial wax makes the difference and that it does not yellow and lasts for years...

I am turning to you all to help me confirm this or not....anyone out there know anything about this..?

Thanx to you all for any help given
You should find better friends.

We're not talking cleaning china toilets here ("scrub it down with Comet and a Scotchbrite pad (and water of course)..."), we're talking gelcoat over fiberglass.

I won't get into a long and detailed instruction of how to maintain gelcoat, others have more expertise, but basically, you're going to start with a "fiberglass restoring product" from a marine store. This is a mild rubbing compound combined with a wax. If this does the job, fine.

If not, you will use a marine rubbing compound followed by wax or polish.

In extreme cases, you might have to wet sand the boat with 400 grit and then finer sandpaper, followed by rubbing compound and wax.

DO NOT use abrasive cleansers on your boat's finish. Do not use floor wax on your boat's gelcoat. Boat wax is designed to protect the boat from UV light and salt, conditions that floor wax is not designed for.
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Old 01-04-2012, 05:01 AM
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probably good for those stubborn black heel marks though...
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Old 01-04-2012, 05:05 AM
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probably good for those stubborn black heel marks though...
Chemicals are better than abrasives, especially on non-skid. There are products especially for black heel marks, but lacking one of those, I would reach for the acetone, followed by a soap and water rinse.
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Old 01-04-2012, 05:54 AM
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Oy.

A lot of the various floor polishes are acrylic in nature. Yes, you can get a fast shine, but splashing acrylics all over the baot is not a great idea. Think of it as a clear coat. You don't want that on any plastic, glass, eisinglass,etc. Acrylics also can be a pain to remove when they begin to yellow and crack. you can't just wash them off. Shlocky used car salesmen have been known to use them to make a beater car look all glossy to get it off the lot. I'd beat anyone who got near my car with that stuff. "Fast" is not always "best."

I would also be less than amused to see a container of Comet or a similar product anywhere near my boat.

We make an acrylic finish, so I am not knocking them, just saying they are a a last ditch way to restore shine to surfaces that will not respond to cleaner waxes or a rubbing compound. I would not advise their use in 99% of the cases I've seen them used.

If you use a product for what is was designed and formulated to do, it should work well. Use floor polishes on floors and fiberglass polish on f/g. Seems obvious, yes? Apparently not so much.
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Old 01-04-2012, 06:17 AM
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Best bet if its dull depending on level of oxidation is to start with a cleaner wax and if that doesnt do it start with a mild compound and get more aggressive if its badly oxidized, no floor wax.
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Old 01-04-2012, 06:17 AM
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The floor wax would work if your boat had a "House Thingy".
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Old 01-04-2012, 06:18 AM
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Everyone is always looking for the easiest shortcut to a good boat shine. It takes work - period. It all starts with prepping the surface first - just like sanding a piece of furniture before you paint. And it takes a machine to do it right. Either a Rotary and wool pad if the surface is oxidized, then a DA to smooth the surface for the next step. Then a finishing polish, then a wax of some sort.
Some LSP's (last stage protectant) don't require buffing like the Wipe on walk away products by Ultima or Optimum...

No real shortcuts...
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Old 01-04-2012, 07:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Glen E View Post
Everyone is always looking for the easiest shortcut to a good boat shine. ................
The easiest shortcut is to hire someone to shine the boat. Someone who does this for a living and can provide references and examples of his or her work.

Around here, it's about $20 fer foot.
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Old 01-04-2012, 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by rwidman View Post
The easiest shortcut is to hire someone to shine the boat. Someone who does this for a living and can provide references and examples of his or her work.

Around here, it's about $20 fer foot.
amen and always my first "goto"......once the boat is "corrected" as the pros say, it's a simple cleaner or 1 step wax/polymer every 6 months by hand by the owner...
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Old 01-04-2012, 07:25 AM
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If you like harmless diversions from typical gel coat treatments/mehtods, entertain yourself with some Vaseline after you get the gel up to snuff again.

Now erase any perverse ideas about how Vaseline will entertain you; there are some guys that use it to get a great/deep shine on their gel coats.

Far as I know, it works, it is harmless and it satisfies the occasional need people have to use tricks and unconventional/cheap means to get a cool shine.
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Old 01-04-2012, 08:35 AM
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^+ and you can rename your boat "The Penetrator"
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Old 09-06-2012, 11:24 AM
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Thumbs up A good question to ask -

okeesignguy - you're asking a very good question. I felt like I was listening to an old man yelling at an empty chair with some of the responses.
1) Get better friends? Really? How kind.
2) Gel coat over fiberglass is EXACTLY what a lot of sinks, tubs and toilets are made of these days! haha
3) "Do not use ABRASIVE cleaners.." What do you think rubbing compounds and sandpaper are?
4) "..protect the boat from UV light and salt, conditions that floor wax is not designed for" Actually, high grade floor finishes are designed for much worse (grinding dirt, foods, salts, chemicals into a surface with shoes?, etc.), and they DO include UV absorbers (that's why they don't yellow!)
5) "Chemicals are better than abrasives..use acetone" WHAT!? Do you even know what gel coat is made of and what acetone can do to it??!!
"BillatStarBrite" gives the more reasoned answer, and I agree that I would not use a floor finish on a newer boat that had no significant gel coat wear, but I don't agree that an acrylic finish is identical to a clear coat. I think he knows this to, but was just making a point. There is a big difference in the two between application ease and removal ease. The floor finish is much more desirable than a clear coat. It's single component, much less volatile, you wipe it on (not spray), it self levels so the way you wipe it on is less important, the viscosity is low so it seeps into cracks and pores, the gloss is incredible, and it can be removed very easily using a floor finish stripper (wipe on, rinse off). But let me share my experience, instead of yelling at an empty chair.

I've re-built boats, built fiberglass parts for airplanes (including my own), used rubbing compounds, sandpapers, clear coats, sealants, and floor finishes for all of the above. Think about what a gel coat is - just polyester resin with filler. It has a thickness that you really want to protect, not reduce. Going at it with sandpapers and rubbing compounds will DEFINITELY reduce your gel coat thickness. When you have an oxidized gel coat, the damage is already there, and you have three choices today (before, you only had one).
1) Abrade it down using whatever, compounds, sandpapers, scotchpads, it all does the same thing, and then slowly reduce the grit size to create a smooth finish and then for all that's holy, keep that protected because if it goes bad again, you may not have any gel coat left to restore it.
2) Seal it and live with it. Wax, JetSeal, etc., just keep it from getting worse. May or may not improve the oxidized appearance, depending on how viscous the sealant it. Wax is not very viscous, JetSeal is better, but still too thick. Not a great esthetic solution, but you keep it from getting worse and you don't reduce the gel coat.
3) Seal it, thicken the gel coat, and restore the surface gloss and color using a thin sealer that is tough and durable. This is where all the "lazy" man products come into play. Trust me, there are good ones and less than good ones. Poliglow is not particularly good in my opinion. It's not as durable as others.
What you want is a high solids, metal interlocked, acrylic-copolymer designed for high durability with UV absorbers. There, does that sound better than "commercial floor wax?" That's what the stuff is. I would not recommend using Future (called Pledge with Future Finish). It is not as high in solids content and will not shine or last as well as others. I would recommend "Zep High Traffic Floor Finish." You can get it at Home Depot for about $18. A GALLON. Most "marine" grade restorers like Poliglow, ShineOn, NewCoat, Vertglass, Vivilon, etc., cost the equivalent of $300 or more per gallon. This has the high solids content (20%), is more durable than Zep's "Wet Look" finish, but with a couple of extra coats gives you the same shine.
Here's how to do it: Clean your surface using BarKeeper's Friend and TSP. This is less abrasive than Comet, cheap, and does the trick. You can get both from Home Depot for about $2-3 each. Barkeepers friend pulls off the chalk (oxidized gel coat) with very little reduction in gel coat thickness, and the TSP gets rid of wax or other silicone's, etc., from the surface. Then use a microfiber towel, wet it with water, wring it out really good, pour a little Zep into it, and wipe the boat hull in a circular, straight, whatever pattern you want to use. Don't worry about it because it self-levels. Just don't go over the same area too much. And yes, certainly don't "splash it on" (why describe it that way except to belittle the process?). Expect to do this for about 4-5 coats, and then sit down and cry for how easy that was and how beautiful your boat looks. Ease of application doesn't always mean its a poor method either - (I imagine wooden shipbuilders would say we're pretty lazy for popping out hulls in a few hours using fiberglass). I would tape up any surfaces before application (there - that made it harder) like rubber, chrome, SS, glass.
I just did this with my latest boat after having spent a week and $$$ using Mequiar's boat restore kit which did not do the trick. Even with a power buffer AND marine rubbing compound the whitish coloration did not go away. No way I was going to dig deeper into my gel coat.
This method works. 6 coats and you won't have to re-apply for at least a year, then only a coat or two. If you want to remove it, use Zep Floor Stripper. Wipe it on, it comes off. Anyone who says the material is hard to remove is maybe dealing with a clear coat or a UV cured product and doesn't know it? Floor finishes are designed to pull off quite easily but only with the right product.This method is very very different from a clear coat which is incredibly hard to remove.
Your friend is right - it is sometimes the best solution for what seemed an impossible job.
If you want to see years of application experience of floor finishes on fiberglass vehicles in the bright sunlight with great results (and compared to Poliglow), search Google for "fiberglassrv poliglow" Read the tests done there ("Check this out NOT Poliglow") and see the before and after pics. That's valuable information and real-life application, not opinions.
Anyway, after doing exactly this application, I am loving my "new" 1988 boat which looks better than it came from the factory, I bet. I've had it on the water, banged into piers, swimmers and it just looks and performs beautifully.
PS - you can apply this over decals, striping, etc. Another nice benefit as it seals them and makes them look newer. Also, dirt, grime, and yes, even scuff marks from my trailer's black rubber bow stop come off very easily!
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Old 09-06-2012, 11:54 AM
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The OP basically described Pollyglow in his first post.
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Old 09-06-2012, 12:34 PM
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I used Polyglow several years ago and it didn't hold up. Currently have 25% solids commercial floor wax on my hard top since Spring and it looks great. Going to do the rest of the boat hopefully before it's pulled. The prep is a LOT of work but it's worth it. I haven't touched my hard top since Spring. I mean...nothing, not washed, nothing. Rain washes it and it looks perfect after that.
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Old 09-06-2012, 12:58 PM
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Acrylic finishes are best suited to fiberglass that will no longer hold a shine, even after compounding. They need to be applied fairly carefully, in multiple coats, and then removed and re-applied every 18-24 months or so. Yeah, not so easy.

We make one, so I am not knocking them. However, if my boat was getting that dull, I'd spray the hull rather than use an acrylic.
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Old 09-06-2012, 02:57 PM
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I think I would stick with marine products for use on gelcoat there is not a shortage of these available. We did use floor wax on the tires of the fire trucks because the city was too cheap to buy tire shine for parades. They did not know we were using the floor wax out of the station inventory but if they did they would have cut back on the purchase of that.
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Old 09-06-2012, 03:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trim Tab Man View Post
okeesignguy - you're asking a very good question. I felt like I was listening to an old man yelling at an empty chair with some of the responses.
1) Get better friends? Really? How kind.
2) Gel coat over fiberglass is EXACTLY what a lot of sinks, tubs and toilets are made of these days! haha
3) "Do not use ABRASIVE cleaners.." What do you think rubbing compounds and sandpaper are?
4) "..protect the boat from UV light and salt, conditions that floor wax is not designed for" Actually, high grade floor finishes are designed for much worse (grinding dirt, foods, salts, chemicals into a surface with shoes?, etc.), and they DO include UV absorbers (that's why they don't yellow!)
5) "Chemicals are better than abrasives..use acetone" WHAT!? Do you even know what gel coat is made of and what acetone can do to it??!!
[ SNIP! ]


Nice to see someone with experience in the product make an assesment. Rather than a lot of opinions from non users based on somebody said..

Many "Marine" products are just plain automotive or house products in a different dress. Not all of them, mind you. Just many..

Try Aesome liquid on floor. No abrasives. Brush it on the hose it off.
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Old 09-07-2012, 07:55 AM
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I've spent too many Springs swinging an 8" buffer only to have the latest and greatest wax or polymer sealant fade away before the end of the season. Far too much work not to have a product not last. I respect the guys that have the time and energy to make love to their finish. I just want to apply something that shines for awhile without pulling out the wax can every other week. Commercial floor wax is the only thing that I've found that lasts.
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Old 09-07-2012, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billatstarbrite View Post
Acrylic finishes are best suited to fiberglass that will no longer hold a shine, even after compounding. They need to be applied fairly carefully, in multiple coats, and then removed and re-applied every 18-24 months or so. Yeah, not so easy.

We make one, so I am not knocking them. However, if my boat was getting that dull, I'd spray the hull rather than use an acrylic.
With the newer high solids acrylic floor finishes I've never had to remove it. Yea, the household brands I can believe may fail.

Stands to reason; a wipe on wipe off finish, doesn't matter who makes it, will leave a fraction of mil of the advertised protection and shin on the gelcoat. And we all know how long that will last. An acrylic finsh with 5-coats probably leaves 4-5 mils.

Yea, Algrip is the way to go, but the cost would exceed the value of the boat.

Bill, that's why you guys need to think of a better product. A wipe on wipe off finish is just a remake of something that's been done for years.
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