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Gelcoat or epoxy?


New Member
Jan 27, 2021
Seattle, WA
I've been enjoying the heck out of my Sterling Reflection, which means, of course, I have acquired lots of scratches in the gelcoat. A few of them have exposed, but not damaged, the fiberglass. I have already patched the gelcoat on two separate occasions, but I need to do so again after a vigorous weekend at Deception Pass. So I need some advice:
1. Is there any major disadvantage to using epoxy fillers like MarineTex (or this stuff: Amazon.com: MagicEzy 9 Second Chip Fix)? Gelcoat is a pain in the butt to work with. Smelly, toxic, and fussy with temperature, etc. I am decidedly not a handy person. Further, I don't have an indoor place to work on the boat, so I am dependent on favorable weather conditions (the boat is stored in an unheated shed).
2. Is there any time-urgency to fixing the scratches? If I paddle the boat until things warm up in the spring, do I risk any causing any long-term damage (other than whatever rocks might do...)?

I really appreciate your guidance.
Personally, I wouldn't do any resin or paint work in conditions below 10*C/50F. If things cure at all it takes forever.

MarineTex... I've had trouble to get gelcoat to cure on top of it. Mind you that could have been incomplete curing of the MarineTex, if the person didn't mix it properly or long enough. I've made it a habit as part of my prep work to take putty like repairs off completely before doing gelcoat repairs.

The trial of MagicEzy I did when it was first marketed here went reasonably well (in summer weather) but it's definitely on the expensive side if you need to touch up your hull on a regular basis.

If the damage has not cut the glass fibers you'll likely get away with waiting with repairs until spring. If you want to give them a bit of extra protection put some clear packaging tape or white electrical tape over it to keep the water away.
It took me 15+ years to fix a gelcoat scratch that went through to the fiberglass, so depending on the scratch, it is not necessarily urgent to fix scratches.

I have used Spectrum patch paste gel coat repair with great success. Yes, it is expensive, but I found it easy to work with and the final repair looks good. Of course the key to good results is prep work, to ensure the gel coat has a good base to adhere to.
Spectrum Color Lund Arctic White 14-17 Boat Gel Coat | iBoats
If you intebd to paddle this winter I would seal any deep screeches into the glass. Water has a way of wicking in thru the glass fibers and over time cause delineation nd bubbles in the gel coat. Gorilla tape holds up well to water. Be sure you use a material that can be removed come spring. Nail Polish might work, solvent will remove it.