In this post we will discuss how oxidation forms on gelcoat and how much gelcoat is potentially lost on an annual basis from a number of different factors.

Oxidation on gelcoat typically occurs due to the exposure of the gelcoat surface to oxygen and UV radiation over time. Gelcoat is a protective layer applied to fiberglass surfaces, and it can become dull, chalky, or discolored due to oxidation. The UV radiation from the sun breaks down the polymers in the gelcoat, causing it to lose its shine and become more porous.

When the gelcoat oxidizes, the oxidation layer forms on the surface, which is a combination of the broken-down gelcoat and environmental contaminants. This layer can be seen as a dull, yellowish, or chalky film on the surface of the gelcoat.

To prevent oxidation, it is essential to regularly clean, polish, and protect the gelcoat surface. This can be done by using specialized cleaners, compounds, polishes and protective coatings that help remove oxidation, restore shine, and provide UV protection. Regular maintenance and applying a high-quality sealant or UV protectant can significantly extend the lifespan of the gelcoat and keep it looking its best.

Several factors can affect the amount of gelcoat lost due to UV damage. These factors include:

1. Exposure time: The longer the gelcoat is exposed to UV radiation, the more degradation it can experience, leading to a greater loss of gelcoat.

2. UV intensity: Higher levels of UV radiation can accelerate the degradation process and result in increased gelcoat loss.

3. Climate conditions: Different climate conditions, such as high temperatures and humidity, can affect the rate of gelcoat degradation and contribute to more significant gelcoat loss.

4. Quality of gelcoat application: Proper application techniques and the use of high-quality gelcoat can help increase its resistance to UV damage and reduce the amount of gelcoat lost.

5. Maintenance practices: Regular maintenance, such as cleaning, polishing, and applying protective coatings, can help mitigate UV damage and minimize gelcoat loss over time.

6. Surface preparation: Thoroughly preparing the surface before applying gelcoat, including proper cleaning and sanding, can improve adhesion and enhance the gelcoat's resistance to UV damage.

It's important to note that these factors can vary depending on the specific application and environmental conditions. Please give us a call or call the manufacturer of the vessel so they can provide more detailed information and guidance on minimizing gelcoat loss due to UV damage.

December 19, 2023 — John Watkins