Removing and replacing old sealant on your boat or other watercraft before hitting the beach or waterways this summer may seem like a simple task, but it’s one not for the faint of heart. Sometimes, even the professionals are stumped by stubborn sealant that just does not want to budge and it’s important to choose the right sealant to replace it with for your vessel and the activities you plan on doing. This is our guide to replacing the sealant on your boat or jet ski and if you run into any issues remember Mark, Nigel and the entire Advanced Fibreglass Techniques team are happy to help get you back on the water in no time.
Removing Old Sealant
Make sure you remove your fittings before attempting to remove your sealant. Most fitting will come with a little forceful prying; you will need to break the bond or stretch it for the fittings to come right off. Be mindful however, if the original sealant is a polyurethane sealant, you may have more trouble removing the fittings and cause damage to either the fitting or the vessel. If in doubt, pop into Advanced Fibreglass Techniques and one of our team will happily help you deduce the sealant used.
With just a little elbow grease and a lot of patience, the below simple steps should see your vessel fittings free in no time.
Unscrew any bolts and then using continuous pressure you should be able to release the sealant and the fitting should come off for you. Just don’t hammer the fitting, you could inadvertently break or destroy the fitting or damage the gelcoat on the vessel and run yourself into more trouble and cost. If simple pressure isn’t working for you, you can try to cut the bond itself. Slice the perimeter of the sealant around the fitting and break the bond. Stanley knives work well in the tight space and if this fails a wire saw will do the trick. If you really aren’t getting anywhere with these steps the last option is a warm knife to soften the sealant, however there is a risk to damaging the polyester so use this as a last resort only.
Applying New Sealant
Here comes the messy part, however whilst messy, if you are meticulous in your application, you will see the rewards in your resealed vessel.
Always use a quality primer to seal any crevice or holes; this helps your sealant adhere to the surface better as well. One of the best ways to apply your sealant is by beading, and when used effectively this can extend the coverage of your sealant and reduce wastage and cost. Simply cut the nozzle of your applicator on an angle and a triangle style bead will form, just keep the nozzle at the same distance from the materials all the way around for consistency.
Restoring fittings is easier than taking them off; which is a relief. Simply fix the fittings and screw them to almost as tight as they will go and back them off a little, apply your sealant and then tighten appropriately. This will compress the sealant that has found its way under the fitting, and make it just as hard for you to get them off next time you want to replace the sealant on your vessel; it is important to do this though, or you risk your fittings coming off on the water and opening the vessel to water damage or worse.
Finally, curing your sealant is important for ensuring your vessel is fully prepared for the water. Be sure to take note of the optimum conditions for your sealant to cure and follow them to the letter if possible.
If all else fails the Advanced Fibreglass Techniques team are always happy to help with any project, big or small, easy or requiring a lot of patience. Our passion is helping you get back on the water and we do everything we can to get you there as quickly as possible.
Mark, Nigel and the team provide our clients across industrial, private and commercial fibreglass our professional design and development services as part of the project. We enjoy the challenges presented in boat restoration and take great satisfaction in achieving the customer’s desired result.We use the latest techniques to repair your watercraft, whether it be a small cosmetic repair or a structural modification. Contact Mark or Nigel today, on (08) 8182 4877 or drop in for a no obligation free quote.