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Old 02-23-2010, 02:54 AM   #1
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1971 27' Overlander
1970 25' Tradewind
1989 19' "B" Van Airstream 190
cromwell , Kentucky
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Roof gel coat repair?

I was planning to replace the roof vent on my 1989 b190 and noticed lots of small hair line cracks in the roofs gelcoat. I have seen gel coat on ebay and wondered if anyone has tried this type of repair on their van. I only plan on the very top because I see no damage to the sides, front or back. It appears that you just need to clean and lightly scuff roof before applying a few coats of gel coat. I can use any advice you might have on this subject. Thanks, Don
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Old 02-23-2010, 03:39 AM   #2
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I was planning to replace the roof vent on my 1989 b190 and noticed lots of small hair line cracks in the roofs gelcoat. I have seen gel coat on ebay and wondered if anyone has tried this type of repair on their van. I only plan on the very top because I see no damage to the sides, front or back. It appears that you just need to clean and lightly scuff roof before applying a few coats of gel coat. I can use any advice you might have on this subject. Thanks, Don
Hi Don;
So called spider cracks can appear for couple of reasons. One, the layer of gel coat was applied too thick. This happens more often in the inside corners where it is difficult to spray gel coat evenly because of deflection from two or more angles causes heavy application on inside of the corner.
If that was a reason for spider cracks, scuffing that area and applying the second coat will only worsen the condition as the gel coat has no linear strength. It is much as the egg shell, it is fragile and only a dressing for fiberglass.

Spider cracks can also develop from flexing of the surface to which gel coat is applied. Unless you stabilize the area and eliminate the flex no gel coat repair will be successful. There is a quite a bit involved in gel coat repair. The old cracked gel coat must be removed down to fiberglass tapering the edges of the repaired area. You must very accurately add 2% Of MEKP [hardener] by weight to the mix. You must thin it with Styrene or Acetone to a spray-able consistency. You must add dryer agent to gel coat, or the surface of the newly repaired area will never dry up enough to sand, compound or polish the surface.

Take my advice and leave it to the pro and you will be glad you did. In my life I have designed, repaired and build many boats in 42 years. Thanks, "Boatdoc"
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Old 02-25-2010, 06:04 AM   #3
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1971 27' Overlander
1970 25' Tradewind
1989 19' "B" Van Airstream 190
cromwell , Kentucky
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 45
Thanks boatdoc

you may have just stopped me from jumping head first into this problem. I thought my problem was caused because my van sat unwaxed and neglected for the last fifteen years in the weather. Is ther any other coating or epoxy paint that would work? Thanks for your help!
Don
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Old 02-25-2010, 06:31 AM   #4
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Gelcoat cracks always come back. If you paint or recoat, it will just crack again. The only thing that will last might be some kind of flexible roof paint.
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Old 02-25-2010, 08:59 AM   #5
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you may have just stopped me from jumping head first into this problem. I thought my problem was caused because my van sat unwaxed and neglected for the last fifteen years in the weather. Is ther any other coating or epoxy paint that would work? Thanks for your help!
Don
Go to your local Rhino Bed liner dealer. See if they can sell you a Quart of Rhino coating white. Tape off and sand affected area. Brush on a heavy coat. If not look up DURABAK Co. manufacturers of similar product.

PS, If you sand off affected area almost down to bare fiberglass and paint it with couple coats of good Epoxy your gel coat will not crack in that area because there will not be any. "Boatdoc"
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