How to Restore Faded Fiberglass

by Jay Kurz
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Over time the surface of fiberglass parts or pieces will become faded or dull because of normal wear and tear or sun exposure. Fiberglass is painted with a polyester resin-based paint called gelcoat, which can become scratched or scuffed fairly easily. Gelcoat is also susceptible to oxidation, which occurs when the gelcoat breaks down from sun exposure and becomes dry and rough. Generally, no matter how dull the gelcoat is, the shine can be restored with a little elbow grease.

Step 1

Fill a bucket with warm water and mix in a mild detergent. Thoroughly scrub the surface of the fiberglass with a sponge to remove any dirt or other buildups. Rinse the surface with clean water and dry it with a towel.

Step 2

Apply rubbing compound in circular motions directly on the oxidized areas, using a clean rag. Rub the rough oxidized areas until the gelcoat becomes smooth and begins to shine. Make sure you do not rub through the layer of gel coat and expose the fiberglass underneath. Rinse the surface clean and dry it with a towel.

Step 3

Apply two heavy coats of boat wax and let it dry until the entire surface is hazy. Using an electric buffer, buff the entire surface until it retains its original shine. Wipe any excess dried wax from the surface, using a dry towel.

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