Fiberglass Gelcoat Refinishing - Anyone done any?

etbrown4

Well-known member
Feb 24, 2012
71
#1
I have a 10 yr old fiberglass pool which has lost most of its gelcoat and has many thin places. You can see fiberglass fibers in some places as big as 16" square in the bottom especially. It has no cracks and does hold water.

We're considering having applied a rolled on coat of gel coat. My understanding is that gelcoat is just polyester resin with pigments or solids added, and possibly some other additions. The plan is to sand the entire pool and wipe down with acetone.

In a thread from a few years back, a poster by the name of 'glassguy1' said....'Polyester resin was never meant for underwater use and will always fail on a swimming pool. Gel coat will not laminate to polyester resin if it's underwater for even a short amount of time'.

Those comments were a little confusing. I'm pretty sure glassguy was recommending re-gelcoating a fiberglass pool to extend its life. But then he mentioned that polyester resin was not meant for underwater use, and that polyester resin would not bond to gelcoat.

I've seen pool manufactures send their own tech reps out when there was spider cracking all over a new pool surface. Those techs sanded the entire pool and the sprayed on one coat of straight gel coat. Some 8 years later it's looking great. (not my pool)

If any forum guys or gals have done a re-coat with gelcoat, I'd appreciate their kindly let me know if the plan I've outlined makes sense. Likewise if you have the experience and can compare or contrast the effectiveness or projected life of new gelcoat vs. epoxy paint that would be of high interest too.
 

etbrown4

Well-known member
Feb 24, 2012
71
#2
Surely if there are a few million fiberglass pools out there, there must be a some folks who have refinished the gelcoat. My pool is side-by-side with 5 other identical pools, put in at the same time and all have fiberglass fabric showing here and there! Anybody?

With all the horror stories from all the epoxies, I plan to avoid them mostly to extensive chalking reports from most every brand, including the most well known.
 

Melt In The Sun

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Oct 29, 2009
3,899
Tucson, AZ
#3
sorry you haven't gotten an answer. I don't recall seeing any threads showing results, but there have got to be some people here who have had it done. Slow time of year though...
 

etbrown4

Well-known member
Feb 24, 2012
71
#5
Few fiberglass pools show a name tag on the outside. Most I've seen have a serial number on the backside, which makes it practically impossible to locate post installation.

We think it may be a Hatteras. Either way I've not heard of any pool mfg making good on a bad gel coat after 10 years.

After the first year or so, warranties are usually limited to structure and holding water.

Either way, I'm on my own. I'm confident that re-applying a gel coat is going to be the answer, thought there are many kinds of gelcoat and several ways to apply them.

They're real temperature sensitive and if you have too little catalyst it will not set up properly. From what I've read the mil thickness is really important for longevity and this can vary widely between installers and the techniques used in the rolling or spraying processes.

No matter the claims of all the epoxy paint guys, I'm not going that way as the costs are high and the horror stories are all too frequent.

Would love to meet a few experts who have recoated a few!
 

n240sxguy

Well-known member
May 17, 2014
1,802
Benton, KY
#6
Find the best boat repair guy in the area, and ask him about it. I doubt anybody who has done a pool has as much experience as someone who has been repairing boats for years. It may be a bigger job than they want to undertake. Worse case, I guess you could put a vinyl liner in it. Probably not any more expensive than the gel coat repair.


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etbrown4

Well-known member
Feb 24, 2012
71
#8
Talking to boat builders is a great idea.

I've looked into most all the epoxies.

I would not touch any epoxy with a 10' pole.

Everyone I've talked with who has tried epoxy in a pool has regretted it.

If gel coat is on provided as the factory finish every new fiberglass pool in the world and typically lasts 20 years or more - it has to be the gold standard.

I just need to find one guy who has experienced the do's and don't of re-coating gelcoat so I can at least buy the right material for a pro to apply.

Gelcoat is super toxic, sets rapidly, and applies heavy and it is no DIY proposition.

Here is one video of the process. Not sure what the grey undercoat is.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCwyEN3FIDQ