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Boat Detailing: Compound, polish, wax. Starbrite? Boat life? Presta? 3m? Etc

Old 02-24-2021, 06:16 AM
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Default Boat Detailing: Compound, polish, wax. Starbrite? Boat life? Presta? 3m? Etc

For most of my boating life, I typically paid detailers to handle my boats and apply whatever products they wanted. Then I slowly started doing my own detailing, as much as I hated it, I was seeking perfection, and few could deliver. I started off boating using all things 3m. Then switched to star brite. I liked how the "polymer wax" lasted a bit longer than regular wax but I would still eventually experience oxidation.

This past summer, I broke my hand and neglected my grey hull and white topsides. I am planning to haul the boat April 1st once our travel list starts working, water gets turned on, and tackling some decent oxidation. I feel like its time to re-assess what products I've been using.

Some were recommending trying Boatlife's products, others Presta, wanted to see if there is any consistent recommendation out of all available options on the market?

I bought a Makita Rotary and a Makita DA Random Orbital.

I do some longer term cruising, so salt doesn't always get washed off immediately, as some times we need to conserve our water supply.

I would like to tackle in as few steps as possible with getting a close-to-perfect outcome but don't need perfection. I'd also like to avoid wet sanding if possible while not having to compound again next year.

Presta developed a new line reducing steps from 4 to 3 using: MaxComplete Compound with a white wool pad, followed by MaxFinishing Polish with a blue pad, finalized with HydroProtek Ceramic Spray. I searched "Presta Maxcomplete" on THT and see no results. That concerns me a bit but wanted to see what folks suggest, I am open to things other than Presta. I am also willing to mix-and-match manufacturers.

Also, I am wondering if the West Marine green pine-based boat wash is the best wash to be using once I have the boat detailed nicely? I've used it for 20 years. I use the star brite deck cleaner for non-skid, but also see Presta has developed something. Part of me wonders if its too harsh? I remember it messed up my isinglass on my previous boat and then found out I should not use anything pine-based on isinglass.
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Old 02-24-2021, 06:21 PM
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bump for night crew
Old 02-24-2021, 06:42 PM
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This guy has some pretty good videos which go over just about all of your issues. I have watched most of them and learned a lot.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTU...FXeZNyptBaoDhg

His most recent video explains all the different pad types and uses.

Probably could have found it yourself if you had searched. Ha! Kidding with you.

Last edited by dcdisco; 02-24-2021 at 06:44 PM. Reason: More info
Old 02-24-2021, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by dcdisco View Post
This guy has some pretty good videos which go over just about all of your issues. I have watched most of them and learned a lot.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTU...FXeZNyptBaoDhg

His most recent video explains all the different pad types and uses.

Probably could have found it yourself if you had searched. Ha! Kidding with you.
I dont really care about the pads and detailing process. I am more concerned with which products are the current hotness.
Old 02-24-2021, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by mystery View Post
I dont really care about the pads and detailing process. I am more concerned with which products are the current hotness.
Oh, then check out his review of Nautical One One-Step Ceramic Polish. He uses a grey pad with it and the results apparently were surprising. I got some to try on my boat here in a few weeks. We will see.

https://www.mckees37.com/n1-550.html

Then follow it up with the SiO2 Hydro Rinse

https://www.mckees37.com/n1-100.html

He also has some honest reviews of compounds and polishes, YouTube just suggested one of his videos one day, and I've ended up watching a bunch of them, pretty informative.

But it depends on what condition your gel coat is starting out at. If you have some oxidation, a wool pad and 600 grit compound (I am not sure on the hot product, not sure if the products at this step matter) Then try that nautical one.

Last edited by dcdisco; 02-24-2021 at 07:21 PM.
Old 02-24-2021, 07:16 PM
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Thanks. I definitely need the works - compound, polish, wax.
Old 02-25-2021, 04:07 AM
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Most heavy oxidation will need at least 3 steps to get it out or you’ll be compounding again in the future, don’t skimp on steps. Starke Restructure, Nautical One Gloss Restoring Polish, Nautical One One-Step Ceramic Polish. Pads and process matters as much if not more than the product you use. There are some really good new pads out now that helps the product work.
Old 02-25-2021, 04:31 AM
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On a gel coat hull hull, the real key is not letting the wax wear off, which often means, even in the NE waxing it 2-3x per season (bi-monthly down South).
My big boat is painted, so it really just takes 1 coat of Starbrite Cleaner Wax and then 2 coats of Starbrite Premium Marine Polish every spring to keep it looking pristine.
On my smaller boats, they are gelcoat, and I use the same routine to "wax" them before they go in the water in late May, but I also pull them in early-August and put another two coats on polish on them, which gets me through the end of the season in mid-late October.
I like the Starbrite products because they work and are easy to apply and if you really let them dry, remove.
The ceramic coating may be a good solution for a lasting shine, but they don't have much in the way of UV protection so I am not so sure how well they work on gel coated boats. I have done my backyard furniture (which is powder coated) with Pinnacle and it holds up pretty well, but it does not have a deep shine, it is more of a glossy top finish, which is fine on furniture. I haven't experimented with it on gel coat, so I don't know how well it will work or hold up.
Old 02-25-2021, 05:00 AM
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I have had surprisingly good results with the Smoove Procut 1000 compound. They tout it as a two step compound an polish and it seems to work.
Old 02-25-2021, 05:10 AM
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Drake on Youtube is the man. I use Presta Super Cut, followed by 3m Perfect it, followed by Jescar Power Lock. I'm sure the Presta system is fine, I love thier products across the board.

Nowadays I just copy what Drake does, he's super talented and I wish he was local!

Old 02-25-2021, 05:19 AM
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I've tried just about everything you can shake a stick at, and always end up going back to my original, core arsenal; 3M compounds, polishes and glazes, with Starbrite as a topcoat. If you have a really dark hull, a coat of carnuba on top of the Starbrite can add some depth in some cases. I used Starbrite on my express that sat in the Florida sun every day, and Starbrite outlasts anything else I've tried. And the beauty of it is that it's easy to apply/remove, so you can apply it more frequently. I've done it at a sandbar in the past.

The key is to start with a mirror finish, via the process of compounding, polishing and/or glazing. The claim that top coats have "UV Protection" is a bunch of bunk. It's the reflectivity of the surface that provides the UV protection by reflecting, rather than absorbing the UV rays. The top coat helps add to the reflectivity by filling in super fine swirl marks so UV rays are not absorbed. Everything else is snake oil.
Old 02-25-2021, 05:53 AM
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My son has a boat detail business in the summer... He uses all Smoove products and they work great...The procut compound is the best for oxidation and he’s tried them all...

Last edited by Kidzdent; 02-25-2021 at 07:31 AM.
Old 02-25-2021, 06:57 AM
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Do a search this topic has been covered many times

This past fall I tried the smoove procut, one step process did a great job bringing my 18 year old gel back up. I know you said you don't care about pads but the pad is just as important as the product you decide to use. Search feature and google are your friend
Old 02-25-2021, 07:09 AM
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Smoovewax Procut-1000 compound. Follow with Smoovewax Bubble Gum Micro Polish. Wash with Purpleicious Ultimate Boat Wash. If anything, the best boat wash I've found.........And it smells good too

They also came out with a ceramic coat but I've not tried it yet. I'm going to give it a go this season and see how it does
Old 02-25-2021, 07:18 AM
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I've also used all the "top of the line" products like Collinite, Presta, Smoove and 3M. They all pretty much are equal in their protection. I'll often mix and match depending on the condition of the gel coat I'm working on, (hull, topsides, metal, enclosure). Pick one of the quality products and follow the instructions to the letter. All of them work for 2-4 months depending on the exposure the area gets to UV. Remember, they are all waxes, not ceramic coatings. One thing I would recommend you change is your use of Boat wash. Trash the harsh pine boat soaps. They are stripping the wax you spent so much time applying. And the Wash/Wax products are just snake oil. Smoove Boat Wash is one of the few boat soaps that will not strip your wax. Only use that or lots of fresh water, (believe it or not, that is what many of the multimillion dollar sportfish crews use to keep from stripping the wax). I've used Smoove for 3 years now, and it has performed as advertised. Collinite Metal Wax on any metal, Collinite Insulator wax on your enclosure. Shurhold brushes and mitts only on the gel coat, and a dedicated mitt for the enclosure. DRY all metals and gel coat to avoid water spots. This is a must to prevent salt deposits from collecting. Griot's garage sells a $30 drying towel that is worth the price, (we avoid those chamois in a tube if possible). You may be right on the deck wash. It is acidic, so use sparingly. I use Bar Keepers friend when needed on the bow non skid. Seems to be less harsh and does the job.

Kidzdent's son details my boat, and he does a great job using all the Smoove products.
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Old 02-25-2021, 07:19 AM
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https://www.smoovewax.com/ The best stuff out there!
Old 02-25-2021, 07:25 AM
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Originally Posted by cobraarvey View Post
I've also used all the "top of the line" products like Collinite, Presta, Smoove and 3M. They all pretty much are equal in their protection. I'll often mix and match depending on the condition of the gel coat I'm working on, (hull, topsides, metal, enclosure). Pick one of the quality products and follow the instructions to the letter. All of them work for 2-4 months depending on the exposure the area gets to UV. Remember, they are all waxes, not ceramic coatings. One thing I would recommend you change is your use of Boat wash. Trash the harsh pine boat soaps. They are stripping the wax you spent so much time applying. And the Wash/Wax products are just snake oil. Smoove Boat Wash is one of the few boat soaps that will not strip your wax. Only use that or lots of fresh water, (believe it or not, that is what many of the multimillion dollar sportfish crews use to keep from stripping the wax). I've used Smoove for 3 years now, and it has performed as advertised. Collinite Metal Wax on any metal, Collinite Insulator wax on your enclosure. Shurhold brushes and mitts only on the gel coat, and a dedicated mitt for the enclosure. DRY all metals and gel coat to avoid water spots. This is a must to prevent salt deposits from collecting. Griot's garage sells a $30 drying towel that is worth the price, (we avoid those chamois in a tube if possible). You may be right on the deck wash. It is acidic, so use sparingly. I use Bar Keepers friend when needed on the bow non skid. Seems to be less harsh and does the job.

Kidzdent's son details my boat, and he does a great job using all the Smoove products.
You know, I have been thinking this whole time the soap was too harsh and possibly causing my issue. I dropped $1500 to have someone compound my hull, twice now. It looked good for a month. I was crazy about rinsing and washing. And then it started to look like crap pretty quick. But only the parts exposed to UV. My bow has a pretty decent curve and the gel coat that stays out of the UV always looks good.

Maybe I'll try the two-step presta and star brite polymer wax again.

I wish there was a scientific comparison of the polymer waxes and ceramic coatings.
Old 02-25-2021, 08:20 AM
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Just went through the Ceramic Coating/Wax issue on my wife's new Audi S5. Bottom line, wax is good for 6 months, and ceramic coatings last a few years (with care). I've always been a hands on guy, and enjoy detailing my boats and cars myself. Even though I now have Kidzdent's son detail the boat just before tournament season in June/July, my crew and I still do the waxing of the hull and topsides and metal in the yard every April prior to launch. And I'm extremely meticulous on my F-150 and my wife's car. My boats and vehicles always look as new. When I purchased the Audi a couple months ago, I started researching Ceramic Coatings. I spent almost an hour with the shop discussing Ceramic Coating. They were not hard selling me, and understood I am a weekend warrior that loves to detail his cars/trucks. Ceramic coating is not a miracle coating. The "foundation" must be in pristine condition to end up with a great finish. With a new car, (as long as the auto dealer detail shop has not damaged the finish cleaning up the car from the factory), it's relatively easy to do, but on most cars you have to do a major redo on the paint/swirls/scratches before applying ceramic coating. Average lifespan on Ceramic is a 2-4 years, depending on how you take care of it. And applying a real Ceramic Coating, (not using a quick detail spray bottle) is really best left to the Pros. I eventually went with a Paint Protection Film/Clear Bra on the front end up to the doors, and a full ceramic coating. I'll see how it fares, but I have to admit the Audi looks pristine, (and better than it looked the day it was picked up at the dealer). And this is on a car that went from the dealer straight to the detailer the next day. But I can't take the vehicle to a car wash, (with the PPF). Actually the detailer stressed that a car wash is not a good idea for ceramic coated cars either, (or any car). That works for me, since I don't go to car washes anyway. I also need to use special products to remove bugs/tar/etc., and give the Ceramic coating a revival every now and then. And keep in mind, it's pretty costly for a Ceramic Coating.
Old 02-25-2021, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by cobraarvey View Post
Just went through the Ceramic Coating/Wax issue on my wife's new Audi S5. Bottom line, wax is good for 6 months, and ceramic coatings last a few years (with care). I've always been a hands on guy, and enjoy detailing my boats and cars myself. Even though I now have Kidzdent's son detail the boat just before tournament season in June/July, my crew and I still do the waxing of the hull and topsides and metal in the yard every April prior to launch. And I'm extremely meticulous on my F-150 and my wife's car. My boats and vehicles always look as new. When I purchased the Audi a couple months ago, I started researching Ceramic Coatings. I spent almost an hour with the shop discussing Ceramic Coating. They were not hard selling me, and understood I am a weekend warrior that loves to detail his cars/trucks. Ceramic coating is not a miracle coating. The "foundation" must be in pristine condition to end up with a great finish. With a new car, (as long as the auto dealer detail shop has not damaged the finish cleaning up the car from the factory), it's relatively easy to do, but on most cars you have to do a major redo on the paint/swirls/scratches before applying ceramic coating. Average lifespan on Ceramic is a 2-4 years, depending on how you take care of it. And applying a real Ceramic Coating, (not using a quick detail spray bottle) is really best left to the Pros. I eventually went with a Paint Protection Film/Clear Bra on the front end up to the doors, and a full ceramic coating. I'll see how it fares, but I have to admit the Audi looks pristine, (and better than it looked the day it was picked up at the dealer). And this is on a car that went from the dealer straight to the detailer the next day. But I can't take the vehicle to a car wash, (with the PPF). Actually the detailer stressed that a car wash is not a good idea for ceramic coated cars either, (or any car). That works for me, since I don't go to car washes anyway. I also need to use special products to remove bugs/tar/etc., and give the Ceramic coating a revival every now and then. And keep in mind, it's pretty costly for a Ceramic Coating.
The Presta Ceramic coating that was recommended by Presta is cheap, sprays on, quick to apply.

Thats why I am questioning how it might stand up say compared to Starbrite liquid (polymer) wax or other products

Last edited by mystery; 02-25-2021 at 09:34 AM.
Old 02-25-2021, 09:46 AM
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meguiars professional polishes and compounds

M91 compound
M45 polish

Glidecoat or ceramic pro marine ceramic coating.
2+ years of protection.
1-2x a year, you may want to put on a top coat of ceramic pro sport, or similar. this will vary depending on how much exposure to elements and sun.

do not fall for spray on Si02 "ceramic" coatings. they may have a longer life than a wax or sealant, but have nowhere near the life of a actual ceramic coating. all they do is give true ceramic coatings a bad name.

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