Gelcoat damage - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-11-2018, 06:33 PM   #1
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Gelcoat damage

We have a 2010 Casita. I washed it yesterday in preparation for our annual fall trip. In the process, I found a 2" gouge in the gelcoat in the front of the camper.
I don't have time to get it fixed, but I know we are heading into a raining fall trip. Should I try to seal it with something?

And, should I take it to a fiberglass shop (e.g., boat shop) to get it fixed?
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Old 09-11-2018, 07:38 PM   #2
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Shibshi, if the gouge is deep (through the gelcoat layer into the fiberglass layer) I would recommend patching it with a marine epoxy putty product such as Marine Tex prior to travel. This would protect the fiberglass layer. If the gouge is not entirely through the gelcoat layer, then no repair is needed prior to travel.

Later on, you could have a fiberglass/marine repair shop repair the damage if you desire a more "cosmetically appealing" result. In the process, the shop would probably grind away the epoxy putty repair.
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Old 09-11-2018, 07:45 PM   #3
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gelcoat repairs

For general information on repairing fiberglass, you could check this link:

You Can Repair Fiberglass

Basically, restoring gelcoat to its original look is difficult, and if hired out, it is expensive. The linked thread discusses various solutions.
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Old 09-11-2018, 10:09 PM   #4
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presumably you mean 2" long not 2" deep.

you can get a gelcoat repair kit at most any marine store, and find all sorts of howto's. basically you dremel out the edges of the gouge so they are smooth, then mix a 2-part epoxy filler, smear that on with a plastic spreader, let cure, wet sand with 800, 1000 til smooth, then paint with white gelcoat, wet sand with 1000, 1500, rubbing compound, then polish and wax.
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Old 09-12-2018, 12:59 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by SHIBSHI View Post
I don't have time to get it fixed, but I know we are heading into a raining fall trip. Should I try to seal it with something?
You shouldn't get any water intrusion from a scrape in the gel coat. If it makes you feel better for the time being, you could put some tape over it.
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Old 09-12-2018, 06:27 AM   #6
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I would have Scamp send you some of the same gelcoat that they use so you easily get a colour match. Add a bit of catalyst to it, and apply after prepping the area. There are lots of great videos out there to help you through the process. There are a bunch of steps to the sanding and fairing, but none of them very tough at all.

How do I know you say? Well, I did a major boo-boo.


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I taped off the area removed all the loose stuff and opened small cracks to better accept the repair.


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I applied the gelcoat. I got a bottle of it from Escape so the match is perfect.


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Then sanded it all smooth with various gradations of paper.


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I just did this about 7 weeks ago. I still need to do the final buff, but there are a couple wee voids in the finish I might touch up first, but nobody would see them unless I pointed them out.
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Old 09-12-2018, 08:05 AM   #7
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How do I know you say? Well, I did a major boo-boo.

I am sensing that there is a story here.
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Old 09-12-2018, 08:11 AM   #8
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I am sensing that there is a story here.
Yeah, that!

Mid winter I was backing my cargo trailer into my drive beside my 5.0TA . I had to angle across the front of my Escape in order to cut in around a tree. While it was looking pretty good out my mirrors I came to hard stop. Well the truck was right at the curb where there was a huge pile of ice on the road and I just assumed I was stuck on that. I put it in 4-wheel drive and booted it and it still didn't move. I then looked up high in my passenger mirror and saw both the back end of my cargo trailer and the front end of my Escape lifting up in the air. The corner of the cargo trailer bit into the fiberglass giving it a good hold seems. Anyway, despite my aggressive ramming of my trailer the damage really was not all that bad.

With gelcoat being a resin and not a paint, it added a bit of strength and rigidity to the repair.
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Old 09-12-2018, 11:19 AM   #9
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Good thing it was fiberglass and gel-coat and not an aluminium Airstream.
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Old Yesterday, 03:56 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by SHIBSHI View Post
We have a 2010 Casita. I washed it yesterday in preparation for our annual fall trip. In the process, I found a 2" gouge in the gelcoat in the front of the camper.
I don't have time to get it fixed, but I know we are heading into a raining fall trip. Should I try to seal it with something?

And, should I take it to a fiberglass shop (e.g., boat shop) to get it fixed?
Sin in haste ; repent at leasure. Once water gets into the fiberglass laminate through damaged gelcoat it wickes its way into the structure which reduces its strength. This cannot be repaired without replacing the affected section.
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Old Yesterday, 05:36 PM   #11
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Wow. That looks great!
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Old Yesterday, 06:06 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Stephen_Albers View Post
Sin in haste ; repent at leasure. Once water gets into the fiberglass laminate through damaged gelcoat it wickes its way into the structure which reduces its strength. This cannot be repaired without replacing the affected section.
While repair should be done as soon as possible it is not because water would wick into the fibreglass, as being a waterproof substrate it would not do so. Sunlight directly on the exposed fibreglass is damaging, especially on the fibres as time passes will cause it to bread down. Sunlight even affects gelcoat, which is a resin much like what is used in the fibreglass layer of our trailers, and this is why protecting with a good wax with UV protection will help it stay in good shape for much longer.
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