Gel coat? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-22-2015, 11:18 PM   #1
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Name: Jennifer
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Gel coat?

Again, a newbie question! Please enlighten me on what a gel coat is/what it looks like/how it functions. I want to know it all. And, of course, how to determine if a trailer has any gel coat left, and what to do about it if it doesn't . Thanks!!
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Old 09-22-2015, 11:27 PM   #2
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Try this:
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Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 9.26.11 PM.png  
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Old 09-23-2015, 10:04 AM   #3
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Name: Steve
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Jennifer,

Your Scamp was made with gel coat on the outside of the trailer. Gel coat protects the fiberglass and resin construction ( composite ) from UV rays which would deteriorate the composite construction of your trailer shell. Gel coat is made with the same type of resin base as used in the composite of your trailer. Instead of fiberglass for support the gel coat uses UV protectants, mineral fillers, tinting for color and flex agents to make the outside of the composites more durable.

Basically the factory takes a mold and waxes the inside of the mold. They then spray in a thin layer of gel coat. On top of the gel coat they apply resin and fiberglass and build that up to the desired thickness. then they cure or wait for it to cure to a harden shell. They pop the harden shell out of the mold. When the shell is out of the mold the Gel coat is now on the outside. It looks smooth and shiny and the outside is finished ready to be used.

The outside color layer is the gel coat that could have been tinted almost any color from the factory. In the case of Scamp it is white.

If you keep this surface clean and waxed it can last almost forever. If you neglect this surface it turns a flat color and gets chalky (dust like film on the surface) this can be polished back to a high shine at least until you wear through the gel coat.

once you wear through you expose the glass and resin below to UV and they start to deteriorate fairly rapidly. This inner layer has a greenish to yellowish semi clear layer.

When the Gel coat wears off allot of people have the outside of the trailer painted. You could re shoot the gel coat but it is so laborious and expensive almost no one does it except for small repairs.

Some of us with worn gel coat choose a temporary repair to our thinning gel coat by cleaning it thoroughly and putting several coats of Zep floor wax to bring back the new gel coat shine. This coating is fairly easy to apply and last a couple of years if the trailer is stored outside.

This is kind of a basic break down. Hope it helps with your understanding.
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Old 09-23-2015, 11:06 AM   #4
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There have been some that have hand painted with gel-coat but that is a process, normally sprayed as mentioned in prior post. But the spray is hazardous enough you need good breathing equipment. Roller/brush application followed by buffing you don't have the hazardous fumes.

It is like a very thick and tough coat of paint. Fiberglass needs something that is thick enough to yield a smooth surface since the resin and fiber generally won't be all that smooth.

The floor wax works - do a search for the thread Not Poliglow only time will tell. Lot of information in that thread. Essentially the wax fills in the pitting of the worn gelcoat and makes it all smooth and shiny. Buffing it smooth and shiny works by removing gel-coat with an abrasive to get a smooth surface, eventually you rub all the gel-coat off.

Older campers use the wax to fill and shine, newer ones can buff by hand and wax for protection. In some cases an electric buffer is used if the surface is really pitted but that takes some skill, and the buffer of course. Can screw up and buff right through the gel-coat if not done with care.
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Old 09-23-2015, 09:08 PM   #5
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Thanks! I appreciate the information. Sometimes a term is fairly broad, and the amount of information out thre is a bit overwhelming with how it applies to you, so I appreciate the time explaining how it related to scamps/fiberglass trailers.

I have what appears to be a pretty good gel coat everywhere from the description, with the exceptions of some pitting by the front passenger side, and a repair across the top front...I'll post pics in the next post.

It sounds like waxing would stabilize/protect the pitting?
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Old 09-23-2015, 09:11 PM   #6
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<img src="http://www.fiberglassrv.com/attachments/photobucket/img_550064_0_a61b2558ceac6bb751ac25043752d61e.jpg" border="0" alt=" photo 527958F3-6C82-488A-9A7B-48A7EABA0818.jpg"/>



Pitting...it's a pretty small area, just the lower passenger side corner.
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Old 09-23-2015, 09:12 PM   #7
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Can you see the repair above the window? Wondering what it's from, too!
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Old 09-23-2015, 09:19 PM   #8
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I think the big-o deal with gel coat is with the owners... the ones that own a decades old trailer that they want folks to think is new.

I've learned to embrace patina.

YMMV
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Old 09-23-2015, 10:16 PM   #9
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The area that you describe as "pitting" looks like rock chips to me. It's in an area that is very prone to rock damage. There are some roll on bedliner coatings that can be tinted to match your gelcoat. I've considered doing this on my trailer but have not done it yet.


The different color above the window is probably a repair of some sort. Possibly done at the factory.


Go camping, have fun and don't worry about these things.
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Old 09-23-2015, 10:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
I think the big-o deal with gel coat is with the owners... the ones that own a decades old trailer that they want folks to think is new.

I've learned to embrace patina.

YMMV
I like your style! I do want to make sure I'm protecting anything that needs care to protect it...just trying to figure that all out!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack L View Post
The area that you describe as "pitting" looks like rock chips to me. It's in an area that is very prone to rock damage. There are some roll on bedliner coatings that can be tinted to match your gelcoat. I've considered doing this on my trailer but have not done it yet.


The different color above the window is probably a repair of some sort. Possibly done at the factory.


Go camping, have fun and don't worry about these things.
I think that's exactly what they are! That's a good thought to consider a coating to protect it there.

Worry is my middle name...can't help it. But at least I go camping and have fun while I worry!





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Old 09-23-2015, 11:14 PM   #11
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Jack L and Donna have it right, rock chips from traveling, it's patina. If you don't have some then you're not doing it right
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Old 09-23-2015, 11:51 PM   #12
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That area over the front window gets stress and the gel coat gets hairline cracks. The look bad but don't hurt anything. Someone probably touched them up. Or maybe someone tagged a tree branch or something.
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Old 09-24-2015, 08:39 AM   #13
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Well doggone....I learned a new word today- patina...had to look that up.

I'm one of the ones that's going to try and keep my Scamp looking as new as possible as long as possible. With the "retro" look, people already think it's a "vintage" trailer....... especially since the "bright white" look is gone.

Anyway.... I havent noticed that much pitting on mine. BUT, one of the first times I tried my Dometic awning, one of the legs swung down and knocked the first-ever dingy on it!! This was when the trailer was about 2 weeks old! I just touched it up and went on. I still see it every now and then as a reminder, it's just a 'THING' and it's going to wear-n-tear, get dings, require maintenance...so just use it and enjoy.

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Originally Posted by Borrego Dave View Post
Jack L and Donna have it right, rock chips from traveling, it's patina. If you don't have some then you're not doing it right
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