How to Fix a Screw Hole in Gelcoat
If you have used Gelcoat on your boat, then you may find that removing any screws from the decking will result in an extra-large and visible hole. Most people are unwilling to have a large and unsightly screw hole in their boat deck, so it is clear that it needs to be removed before it can spread into a crack in the gelcoat. You can have the deck sanded by a professional, but if you are a keen home improvements buff, then you may enjoy attempting to repair the device on your own. Follow a few simple rules to get the job done quickly and effortlessly.
Step 1 - Preparation
The first thing that you need to do is to prepare the hole which you need to fill. Sweep out the hole to make sure there are no bits of wood or fiberglass in the hole, which can inhibit binding. You should then take a small piece of sandpaper, and rub this briskly against the sides of the hole. This helps to provide a slightly rough edge which will help the gelcoat repair putty to cling more tightly to the space.
Step 2 - Using the Repair Kit
Most stores will provide a little item known as a gelcoat repair kit. This product is a pigmented paste which will cost around $10 for a tin. Marine centers and some home improvement stores will stock this item. Use it much as you would a caulk on dry land. Take a small piece of the paste, and spread it over the hole using your putty knife. Some recommend placing a layer of masking take over the paste while it dries, in order to keep water out of it, but you don't have to do this if you are in a dry dock, or the screw hole is high above the water line.
Step 3 - Finishing the Project
Once you have filled the hole with paste, leave it for around a day, and then apply some sandpaper to the edge of the dried paste. You should try and sand your repair down so that it is completely level with the rest of the gelcoat. Once the sanding has been done, you can take a few moments to buff your new gelcoat so that it appears to be the same as the rest of your boat.
Step 4 - Larger Repairs
If, while sanding down the screw hole, you discover that there is a crack along the same part of the boat, you will need to use your sandpaper to widen the crack a little, and then add some of your paste to the gap you have made. Leave it to dry along with the rest of your repair, and then sand flat as before. With a larger amount of the paste, you may want to consider making the color closer to that of the rest of your gelcoat; for example, pigmenting a white repair paste slightly yellow to match the effects of aging on your boat deck.